What’s your stress level on a scale of One to Oh-my-God-I’m-literally-pulling-hair-out-of-my-head?

If you work with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and are you responsible for deploying Windows 10, you may be on the higher end of that scale. Can technology solve your technology problems? Of course it can! Well, not all of them … but when it comes to zero-touch, high-volume Windows 10 deployment, technology can make your life a lot easier.

So, what technology should you choose? That’s what this blog series will help you decide. In Part 1, I gave you questions to ask when picking technology to reduce or eliminate server infrastructure for Windows 10 OSD. In this post, I’ll arm you with questions you can ask to ensure the solution you choose provides high availability.

High Availability; Because Your Business is Always in a Hurry

With enough money, servers can provide extremely high availability through clustering and other technologies. In that scenario, for example if a distribution point server fails, content delivery continues at full speed on the local LAN—as opposed to downloading the cached content over the WAN again. Granted, in typical SCCM server infrastructure configuration, high-availably solutions such as clustering are not used due to cost and maintenance time. The point is, if you plan to replace servers with peer technology, you should ask if it will be as reliable.

When a peer system goes offline, the content it holds goes away. If the content is not available somewhere else on the local LAN, then deployment will require a second or third time-consuming download over the WAN. Fast content delivery, and zero WAN impact, are the engine in content distribution engines. They do much, much more, but that’s the core functionality everything else is built around.

Adaptiva OneSite™ creates high availability peer-to-peer storage for SCCM in several ways. First, it will automatically replicate and maintain three copies of each piece of content at a location, and administrators can configure the number as desired. Second, Adaptiva has a unique technology that allows it to use all the free space on a hard disk—without taking any space away from end users. This creates much more storage than schemes that must eat end-user disk space to cache data, allowing for a massive Virtual Storage Area Network (SAN) that can easily cache an entire content library. Third, OneSite’s self-managing peer cache keeps files available at a location by intelligently retaining the files with the fewest copies available at that location.

The cost of having the content cache at an office falter can be high: downloads can flood the WAN or simply fail. When looking into a Windows 10 OSD solution for your company, but sure to look into the business-continuity capabilities.

Does this solution provide high availability storage?

  • Does the solution provide high availability storage (e.g., automatically make and retain n copies of content at a facility)?
  • Does the content cache take disk space away from end users?
  • Is the content cache limited in size, such as 50GB or 70% of disk space?
  • Does the content cache require tools to manage—administrator effort—or is it self-managing?
  • If the cache is self-cleaning, when it deletes content, does it intelligently choose the content with “the most copies on the LAN” to retain the content most needed (least copies on the LAN)?

What’s Next?

Thanks for reading these factors to consider for reducing the cost, time, and stress of deploying Windows 10. Next week I’ll be back with some more information and questions to add to your list. I hope you have an amazing Windows 10 deployment experience, and that you don’t wind up with a pile of hair behind your desk chair!