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Simple Moves

Novell ZENworks 11: A Simplified,
Yet Comprehensive Approach to Windows 7 Migration

Written by Gil Cattelain

Migrate Thousands of Machines

Once you know which systems you have that are Windows 7 ready and have a reliable way to maintain application continuity, you’re ready to begin the process of actually migrating your hardware and applications to Windows 7. Unfortunately, unless your systems are on Vista service pack 1 or 2, you don’t have the ability to perform an in-place upgrade. Even if you can do an in-place upgrade from Vista, doing so has some limitations. As a result, a clean install of Windows 7 is often the best choice, if not the only choice.

Performing a clean install on thousands of machines can be greatly simplified with the OS imaging capabilities provided by ZENworks Configuration Management. At a high level, the actual migration process requires the following:

  1. Build a Windows 7 OS image – Install Windows 7 on a model machine in your lab environment, test and configure it to meet your requirements, and then use ZENworks Configuration Management to create an image of that Windows 7 model environment.
  2. Capture existing desktop personalities - Using the ZENworks Personality Migration capability in Novell ZENworks Configuration Management extract your users’ individual application and system settings, including desktop wallpaper, e-mail account settings, browser proxy settings, files and folders, archived e-mails, Microsoft office templates, Microsoft Office macros, and more.
  3. Deploy the new image – Schedule ZENworks Configuration Management to automatically deploy your Windows 7 OS image to all your devices at times that won't disrupt business operations. As it deploys your images, it can dynamically install all the correct hardware drivers and applications specific to the individual target devices. You can also leverage wake-on-LAN technology to deploy the image overnight.
  4. Automatically reapply desktop personalities – When users log in to their newly migrated Windows 7 machines for the first time, ZENworks can automatically restore their familiar user data and settings so they can continue working without disruption.

Keep Your Environment Safe

Now with your new pristine Windows 7 environment, you’ll want to keep it secure and up-to-date with all the latest security patches and updates. Novell ZENworks Patch Management gives you a reliable and efficient way to keep your entire environment patched and compliant. It automates the collection, analysis and policy-based delivery of patches to all of your Windows 7 devices. It also provides a unique combination of integrated patch monitoring, assessment, deployment and reporting capabilities that greatly simplify and speed up your patch management efforts.

From the Patch Management section of the ZENworks console you can identify critical patches relevant to your Windows 7 environment, as well as the machines that need to be patched or are already patched. (See Figure 3.) It lets you review the descriptions and details of each patch to determine their urgency. Then it’s a simple matter of selecting which patches you want to deploy, specifying which devices to patch (i.e. non-patched devices, applicable devices, or devices in specific folders or groups), scheduling their deployment, and choosing remediation options (i.e. Auto Reboot, No Reboot, or Advanced options). Then as scheduled, ZENworks Patch Management will automatically and silently install your patches to the specified machines in your Windows 7 environment.

To give you a smooth and successful migration to Windows 7, Novell ZENworks 11 addresses the key questions and issues at the heart of your migration efforts.

Keep Users Productive

No computer environment is immune to problems, and no matter how successful your Windows 7 migration efforts, you'll continue to experience routine support issues that can impact user productivity. Novell Service Desk interacts with ZENworks 11 to give you a complete service desk solution that lowers your service and supports costs, and improves service level agreements. Novell Service Desk can be easily and quickly deployed, providing you a scalable and flexible service management environment that embraces key ITIL best practices; automates incident, problem and change management processes using a centralized Configuration Management Database (CMDB); and empowers users to solve their own problems with advanced self-service capabilities.

To speed up problem resolution, Novell Service Desk lets you easily leverage the hardware and software configuration information for all your Windows 7 machines, which has been collected by ZENworks Configuration Management or ZENworks Asset Management. It has an easy-to-use Web browser interface with graphical dashboards, service request histories and audit trails, drill-downs and personalized views into your organization’s core processes. (See Figure 4.) It can map the relationships between your services and underlying technology infrastructure to quickly identify root causes or potential problem areas. It includes an array of built-in standard reports that let you quickly see how well your service team is performing. Novell Service Desk also offers a straightforward licensing model that meets the needs of small businesses to large enterprises.

Migration Success and Beyond

To give you a smooth and successful migration to Windows 7, Novell ZENworks 11 addresses the key questions and issues at the heart of your migration efforts. But ZENworks doesn’t stop there. Once your migration is complete, its comprehensive range of advanced discovery, inventory, packaging, deployment and desktop management capabilities let you create a robust, policy-based foundation to simplify the continued management of your entire desktop environment.

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