Microsoft Corp. is stepping into the miasma of desktop deployment and migration with a new package of guidelines, tools and scripts designed to reduce the complexity of large-scale deployments.
At the same time, services partner Electronic Data Systems Corp. is teaming with Microsoft to launch a pay-for-use service framework for provisioning and automating the delivery of new applications.
Microsofts Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment is designed to reduce the manual tasks associated with deployment of Windows XP, Office XP and Office 2003 by as much as 75 percent per desktop, officials in Redmond, Wash., said.
The package uses technology developed with the help of EDS that allows outsourcers and systems integrators to create new desktop services around installation and provisioning. The zero-touch migration technology lets services partners automate image creation tasks that had required human intervention. It also allows those partners to build portals for their services that end users can use to configure and manage their own desktops based on rules set by IT.
L.L. Bean Inc., which is midway through a Windows XP deployment to 3,800 desktops, found that by automating more of the imaging tasks associated with the deployment, the time needed to create an image fell from 14 hours to just 2, according to Donna Lamberth, L.L. Beans senior manager for Information Services, in Freeport, Maine.
"Our implementation is not totally zero-touch, but the actual deployment of the OS really is fully automated. We anticipate a 50 percent reduction in calls to our help desk for PC-related problems," Lamberth said.
Zero touch provides the foundation for the new EDS services, dubbed MyCOE (Consistent Office Environment).
The service, designed to offer some flexibility for users while centrally managing application delivery, is based on a shared infrastructure that multiple users can access on a periodic basis. "MyCOE makes infrastructure costs as low as possible," said Carol Wyatt, global offering executive with distributed systems and services at EDS, in Plano, Texas.
The service uses monthly pricing for applications that are used intermittently, and uses a per-service-incident or capacity-rate structure for consumable services such as storage.
EDS services offering and Microsofts deployment bundle are available now. The Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment is free.