Swimage Drives the Bus…

Original article written by Bud Hiller, Manager of Technology Desk at Bucknell University. Read full article in original newsletter in Bucknell University’s “the NEXT PAGE” archive.


Swimage Drives the Bus

Swimage Encore – The Perfect SCCM Companion

Frequently customers will bring us in to help them plan their Microsoft System Center implementation and use of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), because of our experience in maximizing the utility of these products and tools in building world-class infrastructure management solutions.  There are times however where they’ve maxed out the efficiency, and are looking for that added value solution that will take them to that nirvana of lowest TCO.  That’s where Swimage Encore comes in.  So, on the eve of MMS 2011, we’d thought we would share with you some of the positive impacts that come from enhancing your System Center Configuration Manager environment with Swimage Encore. 

Engineering Impact

Swimage Encore takes the solid investment you have made in System Center and gives you a truly turn-key provisioning framework that will span releases and provide immediate and rapid ability to deploy your Microsoft Operating systems in all scenarios. Rather than engineering a solution on top of a platform, leverage SWIMAGE Encore to extend and enhance your infrastructure to provide far deeper scenario coverage and significant technical improvements in the process.

Service Level Impact

As a part of a true Provisioning framework (as a piece of a lifecycle management architecture), Swimage Encore provides workflow coordination for planning, requests and communication via email integration to keep users informed to guarantee not only deployment success, but also customer satisfaction. This is a focus on not only quantitative success but also qualitative success.

Virtualization Impact

With the move toward virtualization of applications and the value proposition of virtual desktops, many organizations are moving toward a data driven and scenario based platform. Swimage Encore when used in conjunction with SCCM can provide many of the same scenarios with a physical Operating System. The joint solution sits at the heart of the Next Generation Desktop, and can drive the organization to leverage OS Provisioning as part of their Dynamic infrastructure. 

IO Impact

By empowering your support organization to rapidly deploy not only your current approved operating system but also Windows 7 with no engineering difference, OS provisioning is no longer an impediment to the adoption of new technology. This is the foundation of a move from Basic to Dynamic.

Future Impact

There is no planned improvement to OS deployment in SCCM v.Next. The fundamentals are there, offering opportunities for companion products such as Swimage Encore to leverage the platform to enable a true end-to-end solution. 

So there you have it: we love the Microsoft System Center suite, and are pleased to be included in a small group of Microsoft Partners that are delivering funded proof-of-concept and pilot implementations for customers.  We look forward to seeing you at MMS, and discussing how Intrinsic can help accelerate your infrastructure optimization plans.



See us at MMS 2011 Booth 121

Wow, the years go by fast don’t they?  We are super excited to be back at MMS this year, talking about our Microsoft System Center experience and heralding our new IT:Jumpstart offerings.  If you are thinking about deployment, virtualization or just optimizing your systems management infrastructure talk to us – we have packaged services that can help you develop a “Proof of Concept” or Production Pilot in as little as 5 days.  You get the best solution and a recognized leader assisting you along the way.


Announcing Office 365 for Education

Announcing Office 365 for Education

Microsoft is transitioning Live@EDU to Office 365 this year.  Microsoft Office 365 for education provides your institution with the same great communication and collaboration experiences used in enterprises around the world while saving time and money. Microsoft Office 365 for education delivers all of this and more while training students on familiar software which employers depend upon.  As a Microsoft partner and developer of the Swimage infrastructure management product, Intrinsic is uniquely equipped to help your institution evaluate, plan, pilot and deploy hosted solutions that enable increased productivity and empowerment for teachers,

New Release of Swimage Encore ® Contains Amazing New Features

Swimage Encore New Features

The latest release of Swimage Encore (Build 5.0.7) contains many new optimizations and advancements in deployment. Native virtual application support as part of the deployment process is only the tip of the iceberg. This release offers a number of significant and, we feel, exciting new features. Here is a quick review of the most notable.

Dynamic Application Deployment
While most activities in Swimage Encore are explicit and deterministic (i.e., Roles and Templates are used to specify EXACTLY what will be installed on a new deployment or a redeployed machine), there are times when an administrator would like to be able to simply reset a machine to the existing configuration (hardware, location, domain, OU and application) status but on a clean installation of the operating system. With Swimage Encore’s new Dynamic Application Deployment, enabled by our new Discovery phase, deployment can now be just that simple. The Swimage Encore Conductor will scan the targeted machine for installed applications and compare them to a manifest that is stored on the Swimage Encore server. Administrators can create ‘matching rules’ on the server to dictate which applications should be installed based on easy to use wildcard definitions. Your corporate standard is Adobe Reader? Make sure all machines, when they are redeployed, receive your latest and greatest by creating a rule that stipulates “Any machine running Adobe Reader of any version NOW will be deployed with Adobe Reader 9.2.” By allowing administrators to create the rules on the server, when deployment is triggered, those rules can dictate migration activities through the use of a dynamic template reducing deployment configuration time dramatically while helping rationalize your environment at the same time! This feature allows the person deploying the machine to be blissfully ignorant as to what is on the machine and to simply state the Role a machine should be (which includes OS, core apps, etc…) and let Encore figure out all customizations that are necessary for each individual user. (This is real power!)
Hardware ‘Wildcarding’
Encore has always allowed an administrator to setup drivers and link them to specific hardware models. This method is great in that it allows the administrator to specify specific drivers for a model preventing driver version conflicts. There are times however when manufacturer’s will differentiate the same model (that uses the same drivers). Encore now allows hardware ‘Wildcarding’ to associate a set of drivers with multiple defined hardware objects.
Hardware Approval
We already know that Swimage Encore does an amazing job of populating your driver database rapidly through its implementation of the Driver Interrogator. In an effort to enable more granular control of the use of those drivers, now administrators can choose to approve hardware models for specific OS’s before they are considered active. This additional level of control and auditing will prevent accidental deployment to unsupported hardware and OS configurations. If a hardware model that is not approved for a given OS is attempted to be deployed with that OS, the process will abort gracefully with no modifications to the target system.
Discovery Phase
This new phase in the Swimage Encore deployment process is executed by the Conductor on the client. The Conductor will now scan the targeted machine for inventory data (fear not, we are not trying to supplant your current inventory toolset, just trying to improve deployment process) that is relevant to the deployment process. Currently scanned items include time zone, organization unit, domain and applications installed. That data is reported back to the Swimage Encore server and can be leveraged by all new features of the system to enable dynamic image deployment.

Feeding America uses SWIMAGE Encore for Windows 7 Deployment

Hunger-relief nonprofit Feeding America needed a desktop operating system that would enable it to provide centralized PC management and support to more than 200 member food banks across the United States. The organization standardized on Windows 7 Enterprise and is using Swimage Encore from Intrinsic Technologies to rapidly deploy Windows 7 to locations throughout the country. By choosing Windows 7, Feeding America is maximizing user productivity in many ways, including PC speed and responsiveness; ease of navigation; faster and more relevant search; and improved Web browsing. The organization’s choice of technology also provides an environment that can be effectively managed and supported through the use of features that streamline deployment, facilitate system management, increase security, and enhance troubleshooting. 

Read the Case Study published by Microsoft at: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000007381