Intel Corp.s rollout this week of its stable imaging program could be a boost to enterprises as they go through their PC and laptop replacement cycles.
Major OEMs for several years have been offering computers with up to 12-month stable image guarantees, saying that over that one-year period, the companies would not make changes to their systems that would force businesses to tweak their images.
Intel this week introduced its Stable Image Platform Program, formerly code-named Granite Peak, which covers Pentium 4- and Centrino-based PCs and laptops. Starting with its release May 21 of the 865G chip set, Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., will not make changes to the technology before the second quarter of next year that would force corporations to change their PC images or retest their software or hardware to ensure compatibility with the image, said Steve Asbjornsen, manager of business demand creation for Intels Desktop Platform Group.
The same will be done with the Centrino mobile platform technology, which was introduced March 12. Intel has aligned the system driver software with the packages 855 chip set. Asbjornsen said the mobile technology will follow a 12-month fourth-quarter cycle.
“It comes down to IT having very efficient deployment of the PCs in their environment,” he said.
Until around 1997, enterprises, when they received a new PC, would have to install everything into the desktop—such as the, applications and operating system—using CDs and scripts, a process that could take hours for each PC, said Steve Kleynhans, an analyst with Meta Group Inc., in Toronto. However, IT administrators figured out that they could install all that onto one machine, and then clone it onto other desktops.
Top computer makers have been offering imaging for several years, but Kleynhans said having Intel offer its own programs as the key component maker will make the OEMs job easier by ensuring that the key components also have a stable imaging plan.
“Being able to have stable images and have the same image management program can save 15 percent,” he said.
In fact, Intels initiative is being supported by top computer makers. For example, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., offers its Workhorse Model Program, which ensures image consistency of a one-year period, said Rob Herman, program director of product marketing for IBMs worldwide desktop platforms. Big Blue also offers other imaging programs and a systems migration assistance plan.
“In the past, we were always concerned whether Intel would be tweaking a driver or a BIOS [setting] with its chip set,” Herman said. But having Intel offer its program brings more discipline to IBMs stable imaging programs.
Similarly, Hewlett-Packard Co., of Palo Alto, Calif., features its Corporate Stable Product offering and similar capabilities—including a change notification program—in its d500 PC series.
“Our goal is not to change anything,” said Rich Dodds, product manager of the d500 series in HPs Business PC Group. “We want to keep the drivers stable, keep the BIOS stable, dont add new hardware components. … If [Intel is] on board, it makes it easier on us.”