MAP 9.0 Beta Overview and Review

Introduction

In this guide I walk quickly through the installation and a sample configuration for collecting windows data, performance data and creating some simple reports.

What’s changed?

Taken straight from the beta readme file here is the list of changes from the previous version:

•Added Server and Cloud Enrollment scenario

•Added Remote Desktop scenario

•Added Capability to inventory software using SWID tags

•Added option to open reports folder from report generation progress window

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When 2014 comes!!!

With the release of windows 8 approaching we are drawing closer to the end of support date for windows XP. With this in mind people are probably wondering what a actions they can take to mitigate application computability issues. Using virtual desktops, virtual app or presentation virtualisation will ultimately leave you in the same position, reliant upon in-house knowledge or third party support once the cut off date ticks over. This may or may not be a bad thing… In a economic downturn it most likely comes down to risk vs cost. The risk of running an unsupported (not patched) platform can be mitigated by a decent security configuration and with anit-malware and firewall technology. If say for example your only requirement for a lob app is to access an internal only access web system, measures could be taken to limit the attack surface. The other alert-natives are to upgrade the application, run a terminal services session to server 2008 (not r2) or use a 3rd party extension to internet explorer which includes the older 6+ rendering engines.
Which ever decision you make there will probably be manny factors which influence your decision and there are many different paths that you can take. The same is true for most situations, effective forward planning should ensure you can move forward in secure manner and hopefully without breaking the bank.

Planning to deploy Windows 8? Where do I start?

Understand the as-is state

    Use tools available, MAP, ACT, SCCM and other SAM/Inventory tools…
    Enhancing the end user experience: Compile a list of (10) enhancements that the new deployment will have. e.g. Automated software deployment (group policy), enhanced security (bitlocker), Removal of user administrator rights (Group Policy), improve patch management (monthly restart feature), remove password reset burden from the service desk (Self service reset), providing self service re-deployment capabilities…. The list could go on and on.
    In my mind this list is important, it can be used as a measure of success and also will help focus on key areas of enhancement. Build these from the business and IT discussions, compile them then have IT and the Business sign them off.

So do I know if I was successful?
Often IT projects will run with no formal investigation to establish the success… sure great for the times when things don’t go quite to plan… but its a bit of a head in the sand approach. Once complete and the dust has settled, send out a survey to your user base. Find out if you were successful and take the feedback as a lessons learnt.

Automation, automation, automation… am I clear about this?

Ever since I was tasked to build more than handful of PC’s (migration, refresh or new deployment) I started to automate. While my colleagues would spend hours installing Windows manually or creating ad-hoc ghost images, I was building an unattended install and a syspreped image…. this soon became the standard mechanism and changed the way OS installation was viewed at the company. If you are deploying Windows 8 to more than a handful of devices I would automate. If we take 4 hours (seems to be the accepted figure for client builds) per pc @ 50 pc’s we have 26.7 days of effort.
If we spent a week creating an image and we half the time it takes to deploy we end up with 17.4 days that’s a 9.3 day saving of effort. As you can see even on small scale it makes sense to automate.

I hope this start help to begin to draw a picture of how to approach a Windows upgrade. There is always loads of guidance from Microsoft that’s always been really useful to me so if you get stuck the answers are never too far away.

Windows 8 Planning