I know there have been a lot of questions regarding the availability of ZeroTouch for Microsoft SoftGrid (or lack thereof) so I thought I’d take this opportunity to clarify the current state of the product as well as its future as it stands today. But first, what is ZeroTouch? Well, to be more precise, the question should be what was ZeroTouch. ZeroTouch was a lot of things but it can best be summarized as an add-on to SoftGrid that provided self-provisioning, world-wide application availability via a web based front end, and intelligent application deployment based on a users network, application and device.
Now I know what you’re thinking – So if ZeroTouch did all these cool things why is it no longer available? We all agree that these are all good features to have and that our customers appreciate and value them, but after much consideration and deliberation the decision was made to enhance the offering and better align it with other Microsoft products. Once we do this we will be in a better position to provide a more complete and satisfying user experience for application provisioning both for the desktop and for Terminal Services. During this alignment period, Microsoft will honor existing license agreements and provide support to existing customers but the product in its current state will no longer be made available. Once realigned, the product will likely be a component of other Microsoft products and follow their release schedule, and we plan on releasing more details along with a new product roadmap sometime in June. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause but rest assured that in the long run, when we’re done you’ll be able to enjoy a more robust enterprise class solution.
We hope you found this information of value and remember, if you have any comments, feedback or suggestions for future topics please let us know.
- The Microsoft SoftGrid Team
Please don't integrate with SMS! Or if you do, provide an additional option for your smaller (<2000 computers) companies. SMS is too much of a management burden on its own.
What does "the decision was made to enhance the offering and better align it with other Microsoft products" mean enhancing Zerotouch or enhancing Softgrid?
We liked the idea of zero touch but it fell short of our ultimate goal which was:-
Clicking on an start menu program icon began an auto-assessment based on a set of dynamic criteria which determined whether to execute the local Softgrid app or else call the app from Terminal Services.
The types of criteria included all the standard ones e.g. subnet, were you at your home site, are you running disconnect on a laptop, speed of link etc.
The business rules were defined centrally to provided best performance regardless of where you logged on or on what model of PC.
Eventually we wrote out own version and demo'd it to softricity. Then you guys bought them.
When Microsoft announced the purchase of Softricity last year, there was great rejoycing among many Windows administrators. Softricity had worked very closely with Microsoft throughout the development of their product, even going as far as including SMS
The SMS tie in is a separate componenent option for Enterprises with SMS in place. For small to medium size businesses, Softgrid is still a solid solution as a standalone server/s without SMS. Now without SMS, keep in mind that all of your application portfolio may not be able to be virtualized 100%, so some other means will be needed to install applications locally (manual, script, AD ect). But installing 5 out of maybe 100 applications locally...you can't go wrong! Especially since techs are typlically multihatted. For larger Enterprises with hundreds of apps, this ratio increases and that's where having SMS helps. Great TCO!!
For ZeroTouch, nice added feature but perhaps under utilized IMO. Down the road though, this may be worth keeping around for Small to Medium businesses since the MS product that will incorporate this capability is more Enterprise targeted.
One of the biggest problems we have with our SoftGrid deployment is informing the users of what applications are actually available to them. Now that everything is group based, instead of locally installed, users tend to not know what is available to them. Zero Touch offered a great solution for this problem. We are anxiously awaiting the final product to deploy in our Enterprise.