REDMOND, Wash., August 28, 2000 — For Lamar Morris, a systems administrator with Texas Instruments based in Dallas, the new Windows Update Corporate Site has not only saved him time, but offered him peace of mind as well.
Morris, who coordinates a team of technicians responsible for keeping a domain of 2,500 computers up to date and running smoothly, has spent the last few months beta testing and evaluating the Windows Update Corporate Site. In fact, Morris estimates that the Windows Update Corporate Site, combined with his existing software deployment tool Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), has cut by 90 percent the number of hours his team spends upgrading and patching. The workload in the PC support group has been reduced by 75 percent, and the mean time for a PC repair has fallen from a month to approximately six hours.
Windows Update Corporate Site goes live today, featuring updates in 32 languages and representing 150 manufacturers worldwide. Developed with the unique needs of information technology (IT) professionals in mind, the Windows Update Corporate Site features more than 1,000 system updates and drivers for the Windows 2000 platform. The Windows Update Corporate Site allows IT professionals to find the latest hardware and software drivers for their Windows platforms by providing criteria-based searching based on vendor, operating system and device type.
“The variety of software available is quite good,”
said Morris, who has worked in systems support for the past 12 years.
“And everything is centralized, so you don’t have to search all over a huge site.”
Windows Update Corporate Site also allows IT professionals to download drivers as separate packages for testing and evaluation before wide distribution. The new site is a reflection of Microsoft’s new .NET strategy, which calls for delivering up-to-date products and services directly over the Internet, unveiled by the company earlier this year.
“The service on Windows Update Corporate Site has become more important to us now that we’ve started rolling out Windows 2000 to some of our desktops,”
said Morris, who plans to complete his domain’s upgrade sometime within the next year.
“We’re able to stay abreast of all the latest updates, evaluate and test them, and then deploy them to our new desktops to fix problems before they start.”
Morris added that he appreciates the simplicity of Windows Update Corporate Site:
“As a person who’s done many years of support, it’s really nice to have a tool like this to work with.”
Windows Update, from which 60 million downloads are made per month, assists desktop and laptop computer users by checking their current PC and telling them what system updates they need to make sure their Windows system is as up to date as possible. With Windows Update Corporate Site, Microsoft hopes to offer corporate customers — particularly IT professionals — the same one-stop opportunity to search for and download critical patches and updates while still retaining control over their networks, said David Hamilton, group product manager for management technologies with Microsoft’s IT Infrastructure and Hosting Group.
“Windows Update Corporate Site provides access to all the great updates that exist on Windows Update, but with the flexibility and control that IT administrators need to support a business,”
A large network, for example, will typically consist of a few different operating systems and numerous hardware configurations; Windows Update Corporate Site, according to Hamilton, allows IT professionals to more specifically target the upgrades.
“Windows Update Corporate Site allows administrators to perform granular searches for multiple hardware vendors, hardware devices and operating systems to find all Windows-related updates that would apply to their enterprise. To our corporate customers, this piece is critical,”
According to Hamilton, the launching of Windows Update Corporate Site is further evidence of Microsoft’s commitment to making Windows the best-managed platform.
“Managers need to control their networks to ensure that users are having a consistent experience,”
“Using Windows Update Corporate Site in conjunction with our Systems Management Server product, IT pros can make sure they have the latest system updates available, test them so they are compatible with their other applications, and then distribute them so that everyone gets a particular patch at the same time. Consequently, when people start calling the help desk, the help desk knows exactly what’s going on.”
Morris said the reduction in time and human labor required to run his domain at Texas Instruments has been dramatic.
“Windows Update Corporate Site prevents me from having to go out and touch each PC,”
“Before, we had an army of technicians that had to go out and work with PCs individually. Now, I can download an update, then use SMS, which allows me to connect to all the computers remotely, and distribute it to all the PCs.”
In the future, Morris plans to complete a fairly comprehensive upgrade. Right now, 99.9 percent of the PCs in his domain run Windows NT 4.0 with a few Windows 95 and Windows 98 PCs scattered throughout. Within a year, however, he plans to be upgraded to Windows 2000.
“We’re sold on NT because of stability and security,”
“And I have no concern about the security in Windows Update Corporate Site, either.”
In fact, Morris says he would recommend Windows Update Corporate Site to anyone in the IT field.
“The variety of software available is good, and it’s all centralized so you don’t have to go all over a huge site,”
“It’s the best thing Microsoft has ever come up with, and I would strongly recommend it. If you’re not using it, basically, you’re crazy.”