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A new dawn

So, I had planned to start the new year with a new blog and post occasional updates on what we're currently working on, what we're hoping to work on and every now and then a comment on the quality of the coffee we're drinking.

We're already into Feburary and this whole blog thing still hasn't happened.... Oops!

There have been some good reasons though and now is probably a good time for me to take some time out to tell you all about some of them.


Me

First of all I suppose I had better introduce myself. My name is Steve Gibbs and I am one of the developers here at ENGL. Some of our longer-term customers may remember me from my helpful support incident updates and news forum postings. (Well, in my mind they were helpful anyway!).

I have since stepped back from that side of things a little and now take some of the feedback we get from those incidents and postings as well as enhancement requests and try to turn that into new product features and enhancements. How that process happens is probably a story for another day though.


The actual "bloggy" bits

Ok, let's get on to the interesting stuff!

I'll break this down into sections as this could end up more like War and Peace than a blog entry as I try and catch up on things. That way if you need to nip off for a cup of tea and a biscuit in the middle of it you'll have more chance of finding your place again.

Hopefully the next entry will be a lot more, umm, concise! I may have to set myself a 140 character maximum...


ZENworks customers

For those with ZENworks, we have been working for over 12 months on the next version of the ENGL Imaging Toolkit, codename "Kamino". We're currently undergoing final approvals testing and beefing up the documentation (more on that in a bit) and aim to release later this month.

Whilst a lot of the work we have been doing is 'behind the scenes' or 'under the covers' or any other metaphor for 'stuff you probably won't actually notice but has an unbelievable effect on the whole package', we've had a lot of feedback on things you'd like to see as well as some ideas of our own and here's a quick list of some of the items we've managed to get into this release that you can look forward to:

  • Improved documentation. I know, seems like an odd place to start, but we've spent a lot of time and energy re-vamping our documentation for this release as it is one area we know our customers and evaluators struggle with. Expect to find a much more logical structure, more information, more pictures and, due to popular demand, we will have documentation available in PDF format
  • Improved driver processing. The driver processing engine has been heavily modified and now correctly analyses even more driver packages. Analysis can also be performed as a standalone task to check what is going to be created before making an entire new driver image. Driver properties are also now updated based on analysis and include an option to 'force' install a driver....
  • Improved driver installation. Drivers that don't or won't install during mini-setup and require installation are now handled natively by the build process. As part of this the build will compare the hardware on the machine with the hardware IDs we matched when discovering the driver. If the hardware ID is not present (for example a machine of the same type which doesn't include a wireless card) then the driver will not be installed unless the 'force' option was set.
  • Support for 3rd party imaging. All new for this release is support for 3rd party imaging using a WinPE version of Zim. This supports 99% of the current Zim functionality and also includes methods to natively restore WIM images (including add-on images). Note that we haven't by any means ditched native ZENworks imaging and for most people this is still the more flexible method of restoring images.
  • Support for Windows 7 Thin PC. Deploy Windows 7 TPC with ENGL Imaging Toolkit, bam! Enough said.
  • Improvements to the Build Console File Library. Several improvements have been made to the file library, not least the ability to relocate all your files simply by changing the path in Options.
  • Project locations not limited to local media. Projects can now be stored on network paths and files will be processed locally to avoid the restrictions with the WIM image format rather than forcing you to store projects on a local disk.
  • ... and more!

 

SCCM and MDT customers

We have also been busy on our other products too, with beta testing on ENGL Driver Manager 2.1 now well under way. As with Imaging Toolkit a lot of the work is hidden from view but some highlights of this release are:

  • Support for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012. As well as SCCM 2007 we now support SCCM 2012. Whatever else holds you back from SCCM 2012 it won't be us!
  • Support for Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012. As with SCCM, if you want to use MDT 2012 go right ahead. Driver Manager 2.1 has been designed to work with both MDT 2010 and 2012.
  • Improved driver processing. The driver processing engine has been heavily modified and now accuarately analyses even more driver packages.
  • Improved Machine Library. Many changes have been made to the Machine library and it also now includes the ability to move the machine library simply by changing the location in Options.

 

There's more?

Yes, there's more! Our wireless LAN configuration tool hasn't escaped the development team either and will also be ready to support Microsoft Configuration Manager 2012 when it is released.

Blog done

So, whilst I catch my breath I hope you can see why it's taken a while to get this blog started and, fingers crossed, we'll have the chance to tell you about some more exciting news from the development team soon.
If not, we should at least have 5 minutes to comment on the coffee ;-).


Steve

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I'm pleased to announce that Commulynx has joined the ENGL partner programme.

Trevor Ings, Technical Director at Commulynx, commented on the partnership:

"With over 55 years combined experience working with ZENworks across all types of environments, Standard Operating Environment (SOE) development has become a key component of our service offering. Enhancing that offering by partnering with ENGL was a no brainer for us.

With the ENGL Imaging Toolkit, we have been able to take the flexibility of Hardware Independent Imaging to whole new level. Flexibility is the key here. To enable our clients to introduce new hardware into their network while ensuring image continuity by simply adding a driver scan means our sales guys tend not to say very much during the demo and just end up taking the order. The product support is like nothing we have experienced in a long time. It is personal, responsive and efficient, a breath of fresh air!

Imaging Toolkit is just so powerful and you are only really limited by your imagination as to what you can do with it as an integrator. We won't go into a ZENworks Configuration Management pitch or demo now without the Imaging Toolkit. It is just that simple."

Visit our partner page to find sales and technical resource in your area.

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I'm pleased to announce that EOS Systems has joined the ENGL partner family.

Nick Apazidis, CIO of EOS Systems, commented on the partnership:

"As a Novell Platinum and Microsoft Gold partner, we run across many solutions on the market. We look not only for the right solutions for our customers, but for supporting software for these solutions to enhance their functionality.

ENGL Imaging Toolkit for ZENworks is a very powerful enhancement and is a complimentary extension to ZENworks Imaging. The Imaging Toolkit provides a GUI and more granular control when creating images, that makes it ideal for upgrading to Windows 7. It is very simple to understand and very easy to use. It is also very safe, since it does not make live changes to the system, but allows the user to make all changes, test them and then move the image to the appropriate location on the imaging server.

We are very pleased to have become an ENGL partner and are happy to have them as one of our treasure chest of solutions. Once the product was presented to our customers, it sold itself. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with ENGL."

Visit our partner page to find sales and technical resource in your area.

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Just finished the North American community chat for Novell. Good attendance and questions. Presentation included some sneak preview screenshots of the new Zim for WinPE imaging in Imaging Toolkit 7.

Here's the link to the recording;

http://www.novell.com/huddle/event/client.php?event_id=1aba18772fc70c8cbf79a79f413ef102

Enjoy!

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Some exciting news! I have the pleasure to announce that ENGL has signed up as an exhibitor and will be returning to Las Vegas for MMS in April 2012.

We had a great welcome at MMS 2011 and we're looking forward to returning to demo Driver Manager with SCCM 2012 and MDT 2012 support.

I look forward to meeting friends old and new!