REDMOND, Wash. — March 30, 2011 — As we’ve recently discussed, the growing demand for embedded devices in the enterprise creates challenges for many enterprise IT managers. Embedded devices, from thin clients to point of service devices and digital signage, aren’t as standardized as their PC and server counterparts. Microsoft recently answered the call for a way to easily manage, assess and deploy embedded devices throughout organizations with the announcement of its new solution, Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011.
Regardless of the type, configuring and updating embedded devices can be a painful and time-intensive process. Two features within Windows Embedded Device Manager — write filter handling and the device imaging service — simplify and speed up the setup process so IT managers can get them running faster.
Let’s take a look at two IT issues that Windows Embedded Device Manager helps overcome: write filters and device imaging.
Windows Embedded Device Manager provides enterprise IT professionals with enhanced control of the IT infrastructure with features including write filter handling and device imaging capabilities.
Write filter handling protects against IT threats, not IT professionals. Write filters are a security measure unique to Windows Embedded operating systems that help to protect the integrity of embedded devices, and with good reason. One challenge for enterprise IT professionals can be when untrained, unauthorized employees modify work-issued devices directly. This might range from an employee trying to arrange his or her Internet Explorer settings (including favorites), to registry, password, remote desktop or virtual private network settings.
Write filters are an extra line of defense for IT professionals, by helping to maintain control of embedded devices and preventing untrained experts from tinkering where they should not. The downside to write filters is that they can also slow down the management process and make the configuration process more cumbersome. That’s where the Windows Embedded Device Manager write filter capabilities come into play, giving IT professionals the best of both worlds: total control and easy management.
Write filter features on Windows Embedded Device Manager lets IT managers do the following:
Disable the write filter settings and lock the device so only an administrator can log on to the device to make changes while the setting is down
Deploy and run configuration and software updates on the embedded device as needed
Re-enable write filters quickly and easily once the IT manager is done and unlock the device for the end user
Device imaging service, the ultimate IT translator. When IT managers want to ensure devices, such as desktop computers, are updated with the same applications, settings or standard software across multiple employees and offices, they simply copy the needed features from one device and then essentially paste the image to the next device. For embedded devices, the general concept of imaging is the same, but the process is much more complex.
When imaging embedded devices, IT professionals often run into compatibility difficulties when they attempt to copy settings and paste them to an embedded device, such as a thin client. Because device manufacturers typically create and use their own image technologies and file formats, devices aren’t compatible with one another. Think about it like this: A manager at your organization schedules a meeting to ask 10 different people to do the same task, only to discover at the meeting that each of them speaks a different language — communicating a simple task becomes time intensive and there is still the possibility for error because of miscommunication. Similarly, with device imaging, communication between the main system with each collection of devices (thin clients, digital signage displays, point of service devices) takes time and slows down the entire imaging process.
Windows Embedded Device Manager takes the headache out of device imaging with its device imaging service. As a standard user interface within the console, the device imaging service provides an easy solution for IT professionals to image different collections of embedded devices using the New Device Imaging Request Wizard.
The device imaging service works similar to a translator that speaks a wide variety of IT languages. For the scenario mentioned above with the manager scheduling a meeting with 10 people to discuss a task, it is similar to having a translator sitting next to him or her, explaining the details of the assignment in each attendee’s language. The meeting is much more efficient, and there is a greater chance the task will be done correctly across the board. The New Device Imaging Request Wizard gives IT administrators the ability to use the variety of OEM device imaging solutions and, in essence, translate them so they are recognized and able to be managed by the standard, main system interface.
With the write filter handling and device imaging service features available in Windows Embedded Device Manager, enterprise IT professionals are able to streamline administrative tasks and proactively tackle other challenges involved in managing an enterprise’s embedded device network.
Learn more about Windows Embedded Device Manager at Windows Embedded News Center, and follow us on Twitter @MSFTWEB.