21 Nov

Deployment Day: A Winter Lab Refresh Story

With the newest release of SmartDeploy now available for download, we thought it might be fun to take a hypothetical look at its new features in action. Most notably, how the addition of User Data Migration, native multicast support, Wake on LAN, and scheduled deployments could be combined with a favorite-feature from our last release, zero-touch remote computer imaging, to address a real-world scenario.

So without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to Joe, an IT Manager at a small public school district (additionally, he’s a devoted dad, craft brew aficionado, and ardent viewer of Game of Thrones). Although Joe is really the backbone that keeps all of the district’s technology operations running, Joe’s work remains largely unnoticed by most students and staff due to the fact that he is exceptionally adept at what he does and can fix issues quickly. In addition to maintaining an infrastructure consisting of classrooms and offices, Joe is tasked with the biannual responsibility of refreshing multiple student labs scattered around the district.


With the winter holiday about to begin, the time has come to wipe away the work (and destruction) accrued from a semester’s worth of freshman mouse clicks on 300 desktops. This project is a little different than before, because it actually comes in two parts. In addition to performing a refresh of the student workstations, today he will finally migrate 10 staff computers in Library Services from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (apparently, resistance to change is not uncommon here). Joe’s been around long enough to know just how particular librarians can be with their bookmarks, so he will need to put extra care into seeing that individual user settings and documents on these computers remain through the migration.

Automated Windows deployment softwareWhile nearly everyone around him will be buzzing with anticipation for the ring of the 4 o’clock bell starting the vacation, Joe is prepping for a round of overtime that will begin once all the computers are finally unoccupied. He knows SmartDeploy will make the job faster, but with a project this big ahead of him, there’s still no guarantee he’ll finish in time for his kids’ holiday recital that evening. This deployment can’t wait, since he’ll be flying out of town with his family early the next morning. Joe has a lot to do and a short time to do it, but the day has yet to begin. First, coffee needs to be consumed, emails need to be read, and IT fires extinguished.

8:00 am – Walk in office, acquire coffee

8:10 am – Check and respond to emails

Subject: “I locked myself out of my computer, can you help me?”
Subject: “Why isn’t my wireless mouse connected to the computer?”
Subject: “My printer is jammed”
Subject: “Can you reset my internet?”

12:00 pm – Lunch date with Reddit

12:30 pm – Joyce from payroll is having network trouble. Turn computer off then back on again, problem solved

12:35 pm – Send out third and final email pleading everyone to not turn their computers off tonight so that they can be refreshed. (It doesn’t really matter how many emails are sent though, someone always forgets.)

2:00 pm – Settle into the SmartDeploy Build Wizard to customize the images for tonight’s deployment…wait a second, an “Update Available” notification appears

2:02 pm – Download updated version of SmartDeploy. “User Data Migration? Multicast? Wake on LAN? Scheduled deployments? Maybe I will make it to the recital tonight. Sweet!”

2:30 pm – Platform Packs have been downloaded, complete with all new Windows 10 drivers for the Library Services computers

3:30 pm – Answer files created, and the Windows 10 golden images have been finalized on his own laptop using VMware.

4:00 pm – Tonight’s deployments are scheduled in the SmartDeploy Console. No need to sit here and babysit this project, it’s time to head home!

6:00 pm – Holiday recital. Joe’s 6 year-old has been promoted to a speaking role this year (no more standing on stage in a tree costume like last time). Joe’s made it with plenty of time to grab a seat up close.

7:00 pm – Dinner with the family. Pack suitcase for tomorrow’s flight.

9:00 pm – The SmartDeploy Console sends its scheduled wake-up call to the target computers thanks to new Wake on LAN feature (Kids are in bed. Joe settles in on the couch for Game of Thrones, craft brew engaged)

9:02 pm – The scheduled deployment of Windows 10 begins. All desktops simultaneously begin to receive the multicast deployment over the network (GoT’s opening credits finish).

10:00 pm – Deployment has successfully been completed, Windows 10 is now on all target computers. Clean installs for the labs and user settings and documents remain intact for the librarians (Joe starts another episode).

With the newest version of SmartDeploy, Joe setup and finished his project faster than ever, and even made it to his kids’ recital. To learn how SmartDeploy can get you your vacation and time back, watch our on-demand webcast “IT Juggling Just Got Easier”.

About the Author

Spencer Dunford
As General Manager at SmartDeploy, Spencer Dunford applies over 12 years of creative IT wisdom to find solutions that solve the most complex and unique challenges for customers. When he isn’t leading our stellar sales and support team, Spencer can be found exploring the mountains on skis or two wheels with his family, and finishing his day behind the grill in his never-ending pursuit of the perfect steak.