Insights

MMS 2018 Panel: Windows 10 Deployment Tools

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If you’re an IT pro in endpoint management who didn’t attend the Midwest Management Summit (MMS) last month, you missed out. The Minneapolis-based conference has quickly become famous for having some of the best technical sessions anywhere, period. Adaptiva led a session titled, “Top Tools and Technologies for Accelerating Your Windows 10 Deployments.” As part of this session, Adaptiva’s Anne Baker led a panel of our customers and partners. She wanted to find out what tools and technologies they are using to solve problems they face deploying and managing Windows 10.

Joining Anne were:
Brooks Peppin, VMware
Thomas Cook, NetCentrics
David McCleskey, TIAA
Tom Gibson, DXC

Below we present the full 15 minute panel as a transcription and video.

Anne

Thank you, gentlemen for being here. I’m going to actually pass the microphone over and you can just tell us a little bit about your company and your role there.

Brooks

Hi, I’m Brooks, work in VMware. I’m in internal VMware IT. We obviously have a lot of products in the management space, but we still have SCCM. So we still have to manage the co-management. So I’m kind of the primary lead on that and all things Windows 10. I have worked with Adaptiva for a while.

Tom G

Tom Gibson, I’m with DXC. We are an independent global IT services company. I’m part of our consulting delivery services group doing CM and Adaptiva deployments for various customers.

David

I’m David McCleskey I work at TIAA, we do guaranteed retirement funds and life insurance. I run our SME for the client-side SCCM environments, and a lot of Windows 10.

Thomas C

I’m Tom Cook, I work for NetCentrics. We’re a government contractor. I also run organizations where we implemented and used Adaptiva.

Anne

Great, thanks. Has anyone on the panel experienced any large network issues when they’re trying to deploy large packages across their environments? If so, how do you tackle those issues?

Thomas C

One of my first projects was to figure out patching for ships that go out to sea for months at a time. They disconnect from SCCM when they go out to sea. They have a satellite connection, but there’s much higher priorities for use of that. And then when they come back they connect with shore tie and SCCM would flood the bandwidth. So they either disconnect for a short time, just use their satellite while they’re in dock, or they would turn of the SCCM agent, or things like that. So we found Adaptiva and deployed it. Since we did that we’ve heard no complaints at all about the connectivity when they connect to the shore tie. Everything’s been working great and our patching is breaking through. And we’ve also done some initial testing on patching over the satellite bandwidth. So it’s a ship with flaky satellite connections, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, it moves around. And we’ve had great success with our initial tests. Adaptiva was always towards the bottom of the list using bandwidth. And you’re actively speaking with the users on the ship, and they experience no network issues while we’re releasing patches.

Anne

Thanks. Brooks, what are some of the benefits you’ve experienced using peer-to-peer software like Adaptiva’s for your deployments?

Brooks

Yeah, we use Adaptiva for our whole entire internal Windows 10 migration. So all of our drivers, packages and boot images and OS—the OS image itself. For one server, right. So only one SCCM server in our whole entire globe can be peer-to-peer’ed out. So that was really cool to get out of the server management business and just be able to focus on doing the actual migration. I love that, simplified it, and we got probably 50-plus, 100-plus locations all over the world. And even for VPN—to repeat the question back there. We have like half our workforce is mobile, working from home. So we are able to like pre-cache content with Adaptiva on their systems, do home office upgrades. And because of Adaptiva I didn’t ever have to worry about network issues. I mean it takes a lot longer, there’s not a lot of bandwidth, but that’s ok. I don’t think I ever got a call from any of our network team ever on any of the content. Just gigs and gigs of data. So that was pretty cool.

Because of Adaptiva I didn’t ever have to worry about network issues.

Brooks Peppin, Information Systems Engineer, VMware

Anne

Thanks. Tom, did you have anything to add?

Tom G

Sure, what was your question?

Anne

It was the benefits of using peer-to-peer software.

Tom G

Benefits, yeah. So one of our customers—we’ve done many customers with Adaptiva. One of our customers, our big benefit…. We took them from a prior technology from SCCM where their global deployments were taking three, four weeks just to get to 80/85%. When we switched them over to Configuration Manager, we added Adaptiva on top. The customer responded back, “Hey, we’re seeing global deployments now take three to four days to get to 85/90%.” So it was a significant benefit. [With their previous solution] they had to have their other servers and their other tools throttled way down because they were taking their remote sites down or sites that didn’t even have servers. So by using Adaptiva we were able to significantly speed up the deployment and get things patched and get things distributed much quicker.

Global deployments were taking three, four weeks just to get to 80/85% … [with Adaptiva] we’re seeing global deployments now take three to four days to get to 85/90%.

Tom Gibson, Workplace & Mobility Offering Delivery, DXC

Brooks

So as we’re moving into modern management, trying to adopt MDM policies and use our own [VMware] Workspace ONE™ product to get there, Adaptiva also integrates with that. So it’s cool that they can both do serve content on the SCCM traditional workloads and then also on modern workflows with Workspace ONE. That gives us a good way forward to modern and be able to peer out applications and things. And using our product too. That’s really cool as well.

Anne

Ok. Let’s see here, how about David, have you been able to find ways to reduce administrative burden for tasks like maintaining and troubleshooting a server infrastructure?

David

So I’ve worked in several different environments with SCCM, and one was a global organization. It had about 250 locations. Some of the connections were terrible. They used an MPLS network, some of which had hundreds of people behind them and less than one meg connections. So because they had the bad connections they needed pretty much a DP in every location. And then we tried to push content, including OS deployment and processing, which are multiple tons of gigs, to those sites. So that’s a big deal. Now if you’ve tried—well I imagine all of—everybody in the room’s tried to upgrade SCCM and you know how that works. So you upgrade, it installs every single rule, one by one in serial fashion, after it downloads the content. All your servers have to have been rebooted. I mean it’s kind of a big deal. So the organization I’m in now, it’s about the same amount of locations, it’s about 200 sites, but we’re using Adaptiva, and I think this is pretty good for any peer-to-peer. But instead of having 200 locations using peer-to-peer we use both native and Adaptiva in different locations. So we use—we have eight servers, an upgrade takes us a couple hours to install those again, validate all the client functions, at the end. So we went from days in my first environment, making sure that all the software is there and validated, to just a couple hours.

So we went from days in my first environment, making sure that all the software is there and validated, to just a couple hours [with Adaptiva].

David McCleskey, TIAA

Anne

Alright, and then I was just wondering, we talked a lot about Adaptiva, but also other tools. Do any of you have any favorite tips or tools that are readily available to the community today that you’d like to share ito help our audience with any endpoint management tasks? How about you, Brooks?

Brooks

So that’s one of my favorite things about the SCCM community is how awesome the tools are. Let’s just say it would be very difficult to manage without them, so I am very grateful. I would say for Adaptiva-specific, their support teams are awesome. Like you create some sort of auto office based on any size of services for me, and then just like whip something together. That’s super awesome. So definitely props to them for support specific to the product. I think my favorite community tool is the Modern Driver Management Tool by Maurice [Daly]. That’s change my life. So I can’t go anywhere without that tool, it’s just super awesome. And then even for my own product, we’re in a company with a lot of open-source samples and stuff out there too that are freely available. And our guys do a lot of scripting as well on our platform, so that’s been also a super great help for me.

Anne

David, did you have something to add?

David

Yeah, I got a couple. So one’s not a community tool, it’s actually Microsoft. In 1803 they offered the ability to run custom scripts along with your upgrades. We run third-party encryption software, which kind of stops us from ever doing anything with just the Windows 10 servicing options. So the script let you actually prep things that could run before your upgrade started or right before you restarted for the first time. So we were able to stage a script that basically deferred the pre-authentication for a third-party tool, and the third-party tool also made it so if you run from a WSUS backend you don’t need to use the reflect drivers, which was a giant pain. We had to use task sequences. Now we’re actually about to use the Windows upgrade features directly. So check that out, it’s pretty cool. There’s one other one. They have a driver and application set per model. It’s really cool. But there’s another feature which they include with it, it’s server side scripts. So a lot of people use web services to do things with Active Directory or change collection, memberships, things like that. There’s no way that our company’s going to allow us to use web services. What this did was, set up a service on the server side. It would watch your task sequences. And there’s extensions in the task sequences, so you can tell it what to do. So we were able to move machines into and out of collections, move machines that are referenced in a collection into another collection for another task. So they’re really cool.

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