Insights

Fireside Chat: Massive Retailer Manages Their ConfigMgr World with One Site (and Adaptiva OneSite)

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Adaptiva kicked off Day 1 at Midwest Management Summit Mall of America (MMSMOA) with a packed session led by Director of Strategic Engagements Gary Walker. Gary led a very techy fireside chat with three members of the ConfigMgr team from a large retailer with over 400,000 Windows endpoints.

Here are a few highlights from today’s engaging chat!

Architecture

  • Before OneSite they were running around 500 ConfigMgr servers. Now they are running under 60 servers in their production environment for administration, management, and point of sale/PCI endpoints.
  • With OneSite, they had servers spread across the globe. Now they run all of their systems from one data center, including PCI systems. This includes 400,000 workstations at over 5,000 different locations around the planet.
  • All content distributed and used globally comes from that single data center. This includes OSD content (including the PXE process), applications, and updates.
  • Using OneSite, imaging depots all over the world use PXE from the centralized data center, allowing them to add imaging functionality to remote locations with no infrastructure changes. They are able to start imaging systems at any location without the additional infrastructure because it’s all peer-to-peer. They can start imaging bare metal systems anywhere in under three hours.

Boundary (Non)-Management and Subnets

  • One of their most appreciated and valuable features is how Adaptiva manages subnets. Adaptiva has simplified administration. They don’t have problems with new systems coming online and not being managed by ConfigMgr. Adaptiva finds them and gives you those machines in an auto-generated office. Those machines start getting patched right away without any action on the admin’s part. They also start getting applications and other deployments.
  • Before Adaptiva, the company had thousands of ConfigMgr boundaries. They are now managing 75,000 subnets with one ConfigMgr boundary.
  • When the network team creates a new subnet and doesn’t tell the endpoint management, Adaptiva finds it and adds it. When a new store comes online, they don’t need to do a thing to bring the new systems into ConfigMgr management. Adaptiva has a workflow that automatically finds the subnet and adds it to the appropriate office.
  • The senior endpoint engineer said, “You’re not managing subnets. When new machines come on line, or when subnets get split, it doesn’t matter. None of the frustration we used to have comes up for us.”

Windows 10 OSD

  • About 80% to 90% of their Windows 10 migration are in-place upgrades.
  • For in-place upgrades, they are able to easily stage the needed content using Adaptiva.
  • They have about 200 models of computers. This created a problem with pre-staging because to include all the drivers they would require around 200GB. They set up a database to query the model, associate that with an ConfigMgr driver package, then invoke Adaptiva to dynamically download that content. This all happens through task sequences during the OSD process in real time.
  • Adaptiva has a zero footprint cache so the end user doesn’t see their hard drive space being consumed. They also don’t feel any impact upon sharing.
  • The senior endpoint engineer said, “The end user never notices that their system is being used to provide content. It’s really seamless.”
  • Adaptiva makes it easy to pre-stage content without babysitting large transfers. On a fast, free WAN connection, imaging can happen in minutes. At some sites with very slow and highly utilized WAN links, such as a 56K satellite link, it can take weeks because other traffic may need the very limited bandwidth almost all of the time. In spite of all this, the transfers always succeed. Because OneSite is connectionless, it can run for weeks moving just a little bit of content at a time until it’s all done.
  • They are currently migrating 300 to 1,000 systems a day.

Peer Features You Probably Never Thought About

  • Adaptiva can offline pre-populate the cache, meaning it allows delivery of content offline. So if an image comes into an office via a physical machine or USB transfer, Adaptiva will see that it’s there and does not need to re-send it. Further, it will auto-populate to other peer systems.
  • Can’t use ConfigMgr to distribute ConfigMgr client upgrades because it kills the network. With Adaptiva’s push policy with auto load leveling, it’s easy. They can create a single OneSite push policy to upgrade the entire enterprise, and have it load level over two weeks. Instead of creating hundreds of deployments, they create one for Adaptiva and forget about it.

It’s been a fabulous start. I’m looking forward to a while lot more to come this week. If you want to whats happening check the @adaptiva twitter or just search #mmsmoa.

Bill Bernat
Director of Product and Content Marketing, Adaptiva

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