Imagine it's your first day at a new company. Whether it's your first job out of college or a new company to show off your talent, there are certain expectations you have. You'll likely spend the first couple of days getting to know your new boss, spending time in corporate training and getting a feel for what is expected of you in this new position. You will also likely expect to have a new computer at your desk set up with the Operating System and applications needed to be effective in your new role. I'd like to dive into what occurs all too often.
There's no computer at my desk!
Something clearly went wrong here. I don't have a computer waiting for me and I'm told IT may need a few days to get one ready. This instantly puts a damper on your excitement and your company is essentially losing out on the value you could bring while you wait. So what went wrong? A new hardware model was procured for you from the company's preferred hardware vendor. Although the IT department has the laptop or desktop in hand, they are unable to provision it with the company's standard operating system image. Since each hardware model has a unique set of drivers to load, IT has to either create a new image for this new hardware model or do some scripting to retrofit the existing imaging process to account for the new device. A more efficient process to deploy a corporate standard configuration across multiple hardware platforms would be needed.
I have my computer but the applications I need aren't installed...
The word "imaging" is often confused or used interchangeably with "provisioning". Imaging a computer is a function of and part of the larger provisioning process. IT departments that rely on standard imaging require software installation requests usually processed through the Support arm of IT. While this method still arrives at the same end result, efficiencies are lost by the time spent on user requests, manager approvals, IT Support processing and IT technicians performing the installations. This can be streamlined by using a provisioning system to deploy the standardized OS image along with the applications necessary for the end user's job function.
Everything seems correct but my computer at home has a newer Operating System and/or boots faster
With changes to underlying hardware components and updates in Microsoft operating systems, deploying the newest computers with a Windows 10 standard image has some challenges. The latest chipsets require UEFI, an update to the legacy BIOS format. This not only affects how computers boot up but also how the drive is partitioned and how the Operating System is installed. UEFI is an updated, more secure, faster booting underlying component to the latest computers and can oftentimes be applied to legacy hardware as well.
A solution for each of these provisioning challenges exists to avoid the scenarios described above. Quest’s KACE Systems Deployment Appliance is a true provisioning solution. A computer can be configured to boot off the network, partition the disk, deploy a standard image and necessary applications in an automated fashion. Support for virtually any hardware configuration removes model-specific limitations to easily deploy hardware-independent system images. It supports UEFI network booting and UEFI operating system deployment in a heterogenous environment with both Mac and Windows systems. Separate configurations can be configured to streamline application deployments by departments or user job functions as part of the provisioning process.