Reducing Manual Labor
Deployment also currently tends to be a very manual process, with many customers developing their own automation processes. Some organizations were spending about $1,000 per desktop on the manual deployment process to get a new operating system release out. "We have added a number of new tools in Windows Vista to help organizations automate the deployment process," Goldberg said."This is coming out in the new automated installation kit, which really pulls together the tools for creating, editing and deploying images. This separate set of tools will be available outside the CTP, and is available today via TechNet."On the deployment guidance and practices side, Microsoft will be expanding its current guidance in Windows Vista to help with migrations from heterogeneous environments through the Windows Vista timeframe, Goldberg said. "Our guidance to customers is for enterprises to start testing out the enterprise features like user account control and seeing how these affect their organization, especially internal applications written assuming that users would be in administrator mode rather than standard mode," he said. Click here to read more about Microsofts policy of issuing monthly Community Technology Previews. Customers also need to look at the tools Microsoft is making available, and test them to understand how they will benefit from them and how they need to upgrade their infrastructures to take advantage of this. There are also a number of areas where Windows Vista will deliver business value, he said. "One of the big ways we are doing this is by decreasing image management costs and reducing the number of images IT managers need to maintain in their environment," Goldberg said. "We are also making it easier to install updates and reduce the number of reboots required when patches are installed, lowering help desk costs as well." The second area of business value is around providing a more secure and compliant desktop infrastructure, including investments and work in Internet Explorer to provide a safer browsing experience. Organizations will also be able to use Windows Vista to have PCs deployed with users as standard users. "Today, some 80 percent of users in enterprises work as administrators and we are hoping to drive that number down dramatically so most tasks can be completed by standard users," Goldberg said. The Vista development team had also done a lot of work around corporate data protection, including its investment in BitLocker to work on group policy to protect corporate data on desktop and laptop machines, he said. The third area of value is around connecting people to information so they could work in smarter ways. The user experience around finding and searching information on the PC has been made more intuitive, helping make users more productive and drive down IT costs, Goldberg said. The sidebar, a window that will exist on the side of the screen, where there are gadgets that users can visualize to make them more connected to their information. "In a business context, an IT administrator can have a gadget that shows the current uptime for their server farm," he said. The last big area of business value is around increasing mobile and remote productivity and helping organizations optimize their IT infrastructure. Organizations are shifting their hardware mix more towards laptops, so Microsoft has addressed some simple things like how fast a laptop turns on and off, which will be better and faster in Vista because of the investments Microsoft had made in sleep and the new technologies around power management, Goldberg said. To read more about Vistas security features, click here. Microsoft had also made it easier to connect securely, so organizations and individuals will be able to access terminal server-based applications without a VPN, Goldberg said. Microsoft had made a number of investments around roaming profiles and how users could back up data on their machines and also remain connected to the server. "In Windows Vista, IT professionals will be able to set additional roaming profiles beyond My Documents. This is a win for users as their data will stay backed up, but it is also a win for IT who wanted users to back their data up on the server rather than on their local machines," Goldberg said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.