Pitching Enterprise Deployments

When you have done all the hard work around your application discovery, you know what applications people want, all your testing of the deployment of these applications has been completed and you have decided how you will migrate your user state how do you pitch your deployment plan to the boss who will essentially fund your overtime on the project and take the flack if it goes wrong?

Scenario

Before we start this post in anger let’s set out a quick scenario. So I will be deploying about 15 base or core applications to my new Windows 7 machines, my operating system will be 64bit and when it comes to user state we will be taking only application data and shortcuts from the desktop. No documents will be migrated during this process.

For my task sequence I have also decided that I will be deploying my image and then installing the applications on top. During this same process as we are in a replace scenario the user state will be backed up to the network and then copied down during the State Restore phase.

How do you go about explaining your deployment choices and how do you justify these decisions?

Deployment Method

Have a look at the deployment method we are using. Here it is a refresh scenario, so we are not replacing any equipment we are simply taking Windows XP laptops and replacing the operating system with Windows 7. This is not an upgrade it is a complete format of the disk and a install of the new image.

Our reasons for coming down this route are for a few reasons:

  • Ease of administration
  • Ease of deployment
  • Greater control of deployment
  • Automated process

However when you present these to the management you have one question fired back at you. How long does this deployment take? Your answer is a bit of a guess, we have variables like the amount of user state we are capturing, network contention and other factors. Of course your answer is greeted with the reply “our old imaging device pulled down and built in half the time”. You “could” create a WIM file with all your core applications installed then capture that image, however that is generally not the recommended deployment method.

You know that this is the best method but explaining this to management can be difficult, hopefully these pointers will help.

  • A task sequence is a sequential engine, tasks run one by one. If a task fails you know where it fails, a large WIM file can cause issues
  • Single WIM files are difficult to manage and maintain, new revisions of a WIM file defeats the object of a standardised environment
  • Simple build changes can be performed in minutes rather than hours
  • This process completes the full deployment process automated, no manual tasks to run afterwards
  • I can map non core applications to users in the deployment to install them on their new OS from their existing image

User State Migration

Boss: “Why are we not migrating users documents?”

Your response may well be, because we have no idea of knowing which are personal and work documents. All work documents by company policy should go on network shares so they can be protected and backed up. I strongly believe that we should not be responsible for personal documents on machines. This includes people’s iTunes library (which shouldn’t be deployed on corporate machines without investigating the legal aspects first anyway), holiday photos and everything else you are used to seeing on local hard drives.

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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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