A Painful Process

By David Strom  |  Posted 2010-05-11 Print this article Print


A Painful Process

SmartDeploy has its own painful licensing process, which detracts from its overall elegance. Why is it so painful? There are a number of endless product verification keys that have to be manually entered at various places before the software can be activated and used.

That's too bad because the product's price is very reasonable: $1,995 for each "technician," which could be considered a site license if you are planning on having one IT staffer perform all the migrations for your PCs across the enterprise. There's also a complex series of additional support fees, depending on what response time you desire.

Compared with Microsoft's free Windows Automation Installation Kit, I found SmartDeploy more flexible and easier to learn and use, mainly because WAIK consists of a loose collection of tools, each with its own quirks. In contrast, SmartDeploy's different modules are better integrated.

WAIK also has some very arcane automation procedures, whereas I liked the way SmartDeploy works with the VM first and then brings it back into the physical OS, which then gets put down on a new PC. WAIK has more moving parts that don't relate well with each other, and learning how to develop your "golden master" image is easier with SmartDeploy.

However, because of the way SmartDeploy works by converting a virtual machine back into a physical one, it will be a stretch for someone who has never worked with any virtualization products to just dive in and start using this one. For that reason, I would suggest using WAIK if you are new to any kind of virtualization.



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