Bob Barker from SJ Berwin LLP, shared this with me the other day – it’s very innovative (but only a stop gap – as Bob explains):
What we’re doing with Microsoft technology won’t help sell any MS products I’m afraid, but has enabled us to migrate to Windows 7 and Office 2010 without delay. In our case, we were concerned over the investment required to upgrade our SMS environment to SCCM 2007 (in order to deploy Windows 7), given where the product is in its life span and the likelihood of similar investment to implement SCCM 2012. Our dilemma was wanting to rollout Windows 7 without delay but not wanting to do so with a beta of SCCM 2012 nor invest in a soon to be replaced SCCM 2007.
Using standard Microsoft deployment tools, our solution was to build a Windows 7 & Office 2010 image and deploy this via some very basic VB script and (here’s the clever bit) Windows PE loaded as an OEM partition on every machine. Having the facility to run Windows PE whenever we want and then have it run any script we want means we have full control over the PC and from there we simply follow the recommended and well documented method of installing Windows 7. Given we have already packaged our applications into MSI’s (albeit for deployment via AD for now), we are able to refresh our entire PC estate using a “light touch” method and have kept our SMS upgrade budget safe for SCCM 2012.
I should add using MDT 2010 was a very strong candidate but as our firm has around 1300 PCs in a dozen or so offices around the world, I decided not to invest the time to learn and troubleshoot that tool and potentially go through the same exercise with SCCM 2012. It also helps that we have basic scripting skills.
Nice one Bob – we’re all looking forward to your SCCM 2012 order!