Microsoft, EDS Untangle Desktop Deployments

Microsoft delivered a new package designed to cut 75 percent of manual deployment tasks for Windows XP and Office, while services partner EDS unveiled a framework to automate delivery of new apps.

Microsoft Corp. stepped into to the desktop deployment and migration miasma Tuesday 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. teamed up with the Redmond, Wash., company to launch a new pay-for-use service framework for provisioning and automating the delivery of new applications.

Microsofts new Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 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.

The package exploits 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 allows services partners to automate image creation tasks that had required human intervention. It also allows those partners to build portals for their specific services that end users can exploit to configure and manage their own desktops based on rules set by IT.

L.L. Bean, which is "mid-stream" in a project to deploy Windows XP to 3800 desktops, found that by automating more of the imaging tasks associated with the deployment is allowing it to shave the number of hours it takes to create an image from 14 down to two, according to Donna Lamberth, 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," she added.

Zero touch provides the foundation for the new EDS services, dubbed MyCOE (Consistent Office Environment).

The service, designed to give some level of flexibility and choice for end 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 and services can be selected as needed," said Carol Wyatt, global offering executive with distributed systems and services at EDS in Plano, Texas. "We think is the first service to focus on this level of variability," she added.

The service is based on a bundle of committed baseline services, uses monthly subscription pricing for applications that are used intermittently, and uses a per service incident or capacity rate structure for consumable services such as storage or help desk.

Both the EDS services offering and the Microsoft deployment bundle are available now. The Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment is free.

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