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Windows Deployment Made Easy for Sussex IT Services, South London Commissioning Support Unit (SLCSU)
When Sussex IT Services needed a fast, easy and cost effective way to help its clients upgrade to Microsoft Windows 7, it turned to Windows deployment specialist, ENGL.
Sussex IT Services is a leading supplier of IT services to NHS healthcare organisations, providing a full suite of IT services as well as governance, project management, training, change management and strategy to NHS trusts in Sussex and the surrounding area. The managed environment covers over 20,000 machines and includes 200 GP surgeries in Sussex and around 80 community sites. Sussex IT Services acts as an outsourced IT department providing direct support on any IT-related queries.
The need to provision 3,000 PCs in 12 months
Sussex IT Services supports two acute hospital trusts where it delivers a range of outsourced IT services for all of the trusts PCs. Sussex IT Services has an SLA agreement in place with both trusts to provide support to help provision and image its PCs. Users can also contact the HIS service desk for PC support.
Spencer Caplin is the Lead Client Services Technical Consultant at Sussex IT Services accountable for all desktop services. He makes sure that the hardware is provisioned and imaged correctly for both in-house engineers as well as external customers.
Spencer Caplin takes up the story:
"We were approached by our customers who had a need to upgrade to Windows 7 by April 2014. This is a big job to image such a high number of PCs and we realised that we could only support this project if we had a single standard image, a more robust methodology and an automated Windows deployment process in place."
Working with a Windows deployment specialist
Before embarking on this new project, Sussex IT Services decided to review its existing Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) based imaging process. The MDT process to provision machines had additional infrastructure requirements and meant duplication of tasks between MDT and ZENworks. Sussex IT Services wanted to streamline the deployment process and further leverage its Novell ZENworks environment. Over the years, Sussex IT Services had a number of conversations with ENGL, a specialist in solutions that simplify the deployment and management of Windows devices using Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.
In October 2012, Sussex IT Services purchased ENGLís Imaging Toolkit to help meet the demanding requirements of the Windows deployment projects. ENGL Imaging Toolkit is a fully automated Windows deployment solution that controls and monitors the entire deployment process. Imaging Toolkit would help Sussex IT Services deploy their standardised Windows 7 environment quickly, easily and cost effectively.
The project is now well underway. In fact, over one quarter of the PCs have already been provisioned, imaged and are up and running with Windows 7.
Spencer Caplin comments:
"We are on schedule and this is thanks to how easy installations are now with the help of the ENGL Imaging Toolkit."
Sussex IT Services has found that the benefits of using the ENGL Imaging toolkit have been vast. Imaging Toolkit has allowed greater flexibility in the hardware that Sussex IT Services can now offer to its customers; previously it was confined to specific hardware models. Itís also now much quicker for Spencer and his team to get a brand new make and model of PC commissioned and into a production environment, which has significantly reduced engineering time.
Spencer Caplin continues:
"It used to take us six weeks to commission a new piece of hardware Ė now a brand new desktop, PC or laptop takes us one week to deliver. It also doesnít matter if it is HP, Dell or Lenovo, we can work on any hardware platform in the knowledge that within five or six days we will have it working and out in the production environment ready to use."
As a result, Sussex IT Services has dramatically improved the service that it can provide to its customers. It also has greater flexibility in distributing the image. For example, Sussex IT Services engineers can now go out to sites such as the GP Surgeries or NHS Community sites that are generally connected on slow (under 2MB) links and deploy machines using USB keys and existing Novell ZENworks infrastructure to image at the desk. Before, the engineers had to bring the PC back to a core site, re-image it and then return it.
First-class consultancy services
ENGL also helped Sussex IT Services undertake a complete redesign of how it manages the imaging process. ENGL provided onsite consultancy services to develop a standardised methodology and approach to Windows deployment that was fully customised to Sussex IT Services requirements.
Now sites such as the acute trusts and head offices use PXE network booting, which enables them to utilise their own ZENworks infrastructure and servers to provision PCs. Previously Sussex IT Services had to use its own servers to host images for the trusts which meant it was consuming a lot of its own hardware to achieve the same results. Sussex IT Services aims to provision around 19,000 PCs by the end of March 2014 so this new automated and streamlined approach to provisioning is essential to enable this goal to be met.
Spencer Caplin concludes:
"One of the key benefits of working with ENGL is that the relationship is a real partnership. ENGL is a trusted expert in this area. The team understands Windows deployment inside and out and have therefore delivered a level of customisation and support that is second to none. We talk to ENGL most weeks about new ideas and features that the Imaging Toolkit can deliver. ENGL is very helpful and honest about how to tackle any issues that we are grappling with and always takes the time to explain the reasons why you can and canít do something. ENGL has delivered exactly what we needed and we are really pleased with the engagement so far."
ENGL specialise in the development of Windows OS deployment solutions for Novell ZENworks. ENGL is a member of the Microsoft System Center Alliance and a Novell ISV partner based in the United Kingdom
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