Are We There Yet

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2007-04-25 Print this article Print

?"> Vista field deployment will take on a whole new meaning after the initial wave of installations into the organization.

Because SCCM 2007 and broad client security initiatives, including network access control, seek to maintain a desired configuration state, IT managers can be sure that redeployments of Vista will be in their future: One way to bring a noncompliant system into spec is to re-image the OS with all the correct applications and user data.

Field deployment options with task sequencing mean that this kind of slash-and-burn approach to correcting systems may become more common. Especially as botnets continue to be a threat, OS and application redeployment may become a cost-effective alternative to hours of help desk trouble-shooting.

User State Migration The ability to migrate user state is now built in to SCCM 2007. Migrating user state—sometimes called the "personaltity" settings of a computer, including shortcuts, favorites and desktop customizations—can make a big difference in getting newly updated machines back online and returning end users to work on their newly upgraded systems.

Capturing user state is particularly useful in side-by-side migrations, where new Vista-capable hardware is being introduced. A side-by-side migration requires that IT administrators set up a carefully choreographed series of steps, including the task sequence component in SCCM 2007. For new hardware, the IT staff must create an association in SCCM 2007 between the two computers. User state is then captured and stored in a secure repository using the new State Migration point server role now included in SCCM 2007.

To restore user state, a new task sequence is used that can associate the restore sequence with a boot image in SCCM 2007. The task enables the new computer to access the saved user state and restore the appropriate settings. The sequence is then advertised to the new machine, the last step in the ballet of the side-by-side Vista upgrade.

IT managers can smooth a future Vista migration by setting up appropriate-use guidelines for users. Basically, mandate that business assets should be used only for business purposes.

IT managers should also start to regularize the applications associated with certain groups of users, and ruthlessly standardize configurations. The more uniformly user desktops are configured, the more effective user state migration will be when the time finally comes to upgrade.

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Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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