Microsoft Deployment Tools Smooth the Way for Upgrades to Windows Vista

BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 13, 2007 – A new study issued by Wipro reveals that, in addition to the hundreds of dollars in IT labor- and end-user support-related savings customers can realize by migrating to Windows Vista, businesses also can get up to a 135 percent return on investment on their deployment costs when using the appropriate deployment processes and tools. Today at Microsoft’s IT Forum in Barcelona, the company also shared details on new and updated deployment guidance, processes and tools that IT pros can take advantage of as they prepare to move to Windows Vista.

“Wipro’s findings illustrate how quickly companies can start benefiting from the value of Windows Vista when they use the rights tools and deployment methodology,” says Shanen Boettcher, general manager of Windows Client product management at Microsoft. “Whether you’re planning to upgrade existing desktops or bring Windows Vista into your environment on new PCs, this study shows that there’s a business case for moving sooner rather than later, thanks in part to the deployment tools that are available to IT pros today.”

New Deployment Tools for IT Pros

Over the course of multiple operating system releases, Microsoft has taken feedback – and continues to do so – directly from IT pros to help shape the partnerships, tools and services it offers to aid in the deployment process.

The company recently announced the availability of the fourth-generation deployment Solution Accelerator, Microsoft Deployment, which provides expanded support for desktops and servers. For most IT pros, the best place to start preparing for deployment of Windows Vista is with Microsoft Deployment Solution Accelerator. Formerly called Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007, Microsoft Deployment is a comprehensive set of guidance and tools for deploying Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

Using Microsoft Deployment, IT professionals now will be able to effectively plan for and deploy operating systems, applications and server software in physical and virtual environments. Components of Microsoft Deployment include:

  • Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0: With the added support of .NET Framework 2.0, and improved ways to deploy toolkit components and compatibility fixes across their desktops, customers can now use ACT 5.0 to more quickly test and remediate their line of business applications.

  • Windows Vista Hardware Assessment (WVHA) 2.1 solution accelerator: Customers and partners can take advantage of the increased scalability of WVHA to make informed decisions about which PCs across their company they should upgrade to Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system, as well as decide on necessary hardware and device upgrades. The latest version offers IP-range targeting and non-Windows device discovery and is localized in seven languages including English, German, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.

  • Microsoft User State Migration Tools (USMT) 3.0: Customers can conduct remote migrations of multiple computers using USMT, and ensure that a user’s files and settings and preserved during the upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista.

Beta registration is currently open for the next generation of WVHA, which is being renamed the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator (MAP). New features include assessment and planning scenarios for server migration, server consolidation and virtualization with Windows Server 2008.

Downloads of the current tools suggest that customers and partners are using them to help with their deployment needs, and that more and more businesses are preparing to move to Windows Vista. For example, the WVHA tool has been downloaded 329,000 times during the last eight months, BDD 2007 has been downloaded 283,000 times, and ACT 5.0 has been downloaded more than 340,000 times since February.

Customers Save Time and Money on Deployment

One customer that has already experienced increased efficiencies from using BDD is Sporton International, a mobile communications certification company that planned to migrate its Windows 2000 and Windows XP desktops to Windows Vista. Sporton estimated that only about 20 percent of their PCs would be compatible with Windows Vista. When Sporton’s executives initially balked at the cost of such a move, Sporton’s IT team turned to Systex, the largest home-grown IT services provider based in Taiwan, for assistance.

Using the WVHA tool, Sporton and Systex quickly generated a report that found that 88 percent of the PCs were either immediately ready for migration to Windows Vista or needed only a few minor memory or hard-drive upgrades. Making these upgrades versus buying new PCs amounted to a US$20,000 cost savings for Sporton. The reduction in time to deploy Windows Vista on their PCs was even more dramatic: Sporton completed the hardware assessment in 30 minutes, rather than the week it typically took, and when it came time to install Windows Vista, Sporton used Zero Touch Installation and Light Touch Installation technologies in BDD to reduce the deployment time from what was usually several months to less than two weeks.  

According to Kathy Lin, Sporton’s IT manager, “The overall experience of using WVHA and BDD has been great. Since Sporton continuously merges other Lab companies in China and Taiwan, we continue to use WVHA to remotely inventory the new company’s client computers without having to travel to those companies. Thus, we can save the travel expense and get a more precise idea of the hardware replacement when migrating to Windows Vista in these merged companies.”   

David Feng, director of technical services for Systex, says that assessment and deployment solution accelerators like WVHA have enabled Systex to bring in more Windows Vista business and greatly simplify the overhead of those deployment projects. As Feng puts it, “BDD has helped provide great tools and guidance to our customers when they migrate to the new Windows operation systems like Windows Vista. It helps us reduce Windows deployment overhead and complexity, improve customer satisfaction, and speed up our Windows migration projects.”

Sharing the Wealth of Peer-to-Peer Knowledge

In addition to updated tools and guidance, Microsoft also is launching a new forum for IT professionals focused on deployment. Boettcher notes that learning about the first-hand experience of their peers is important to most IT professionals when assessing the actual benefits of a software upgrade. To help provide a deployment on-ramp for the IT professionals, Microsoft has launched the “Springboard Series,” a new portfolio of recommended materials and tips based on feedback from early-adopters and Microsoft’s IT professional community. In addition, Springboard provides an online forum for answering questions, and will offer monthly articles on known challenges and advice on how to overcome them.

“IT professionals have been asking us for a forum to have a more open and ongoing conversation with their peers who are moving to Windows Vista and to get their critical questions answered.” says Boettcher. “Springboard provides that resource, and it rounds out the guidance, tools and services we offer to IT pros to aid in deployment.”

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