Planning Enterprise Desktop Deployments: Part 1

Enterprise deployments can feel like a huge task if your inexperienced in large scale deployments. This is the first post of a series I will be publishing on some guidance for planning deployments.

If you are a Software Assurance customer with Microsoft then you can use some of the time allocated to you for DDPS or Desktop Deployment Planning Services. The service offered by Microsoft partners provides the fundamental analysis, planning and technical knowledge required to deploy Windows 7 or Office 2010.

However if you are not a Software Assurance customer then having a company come in to do this kind of work, especially if you are a very large enterprise can cost money and take up lots of time. In this first post we will be taking a look at some of the tools which are freely available to enable you to analyse both your applications and your hardware estate. Knowing both of these inside out is the first step to a successful deployment project.

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit

The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) is a tool which will assist in the identification and management of your application portfolio. This can help reduce the amount of time and money it can take to resolve application compatibility issues, especially important if you are moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. With the ACT toolset you can:

  • Analyse your application estate
  • Evaluate deployments, the impact of system updates and compatibility with web sites
  • Centrally manage compatibility and configuration settings
  • Prioritise compatibility efforts with reports
  • Deploy automated mitigations to known issues
  • Send and receive compatibility information from the Microsoft Compatibility Exchange

Once more, one of the best points about is is that it is completely free! You can download ACT 5.6 and the associated guides and documentation from Microsoft. You can also see a great video of the Application Compatibility Manager on TechNet.

Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit

MAP is an agent less inventory system which assesses and produces reports on your environment. Reports are aimed at management but data is also provided for IT professionals. The tool is aimed at platform migrations to Windows 7, Office 2010 and 365, Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, Windows Azure and Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track.

Microsoft have provided some sample reports which you can download. These reports are samples from inventory collected by MAP and analyses by the database engine. MAP is part of the Solution Accelerator range of products and is again freely available. The product homepage for MAP contains lots of useful documentation and demonstrations to help get you started.

Summary

These two products will help you get an understanding of your hardware and application environment. Knowing your hardware is important as some of your systems may not support Windows 7 and some of your applications may not run on Windows 7. Collecting this information before the serious planning of a deployment can save you precious time later in your deployment.

Part 2 of this series will look at developing a standard framework and environment for your deployment. Work which two years down the line as part of business as usual will help keep your support costs down.

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About Martyn

Martyn is one of the Senior Cloud Architects and DevOps Team Leader at one of the worlds leading Cloud Transformation Specialists Inframon. Martyn is responsible for the architecture of some of the largest Azure deployments in EMEA and is a advisor to a many businesses on their strategies. Martyn is a regular speaker at Microsoft events and community events on Azure and DevOps, giving his insight to a growing number of audiences.

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