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UIU Case Studies

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Toyota Achieves Consistency and Simplicity with the UIU Bookmark

Toyota New Zealand


For nearly three years, Toyota New Zealand had been searching for a way to improve the process by which they cloned their computers. Specifically, they needed to reduce the time and effort spent on creating and maintaining multiple hard-drive images for the wide variety of desktop and laptop configurations. They ultimately found a solution in the software program known as the Universal Imaging Utility (UIU) from Big Bang LLC, which has allowed them to deploy a single Master Image across all hardware configurations. Toyota’s discovery of UIU arrived just in time as the company was about to roll out 220 new machines as well as software upgrades.



There is no doubt that the UIU more than paid for itself during this rollout.

Dion Woisin, Team Leader

Logistical Challenge


With six locations and over 200 people on staff, Toyota New Zealand had begun using disk imaging software eight years ago as a means of deploying a consistent operating environment to all PCs in the organization. Although vastly more efficient than the manual process of deployment, disk imaging has one major drawback - Images created on one hardware platform cannot be easily deployed to another. This problem is particularly prevalent on laptops, where even essentially similar machines often contain different hardware and therefore require different images. Toyota NZ’s extensive hardware inventory resulted in the company creating and maintaining 25 separate images. Each image took three to four hours to create, and each one needed to be modified every time new upgrades and patches were released.


In addition, there was the logistical problem of deployment. As a new image was rolled out, Administrators had to ensure that they were installing the correct image for each machine. If they chose the wrong one, the error message wouldn’t appear for around 20 minutes, when the program reached the point of installing drivers. At that point, the technician would have to start the whole process over again. A final challenge was ensuring consistency across all images. With so many separate images, it was not uncommon that simple settings differed from one machine to another (for example, the way the operating system processes deleted files). While these inconsistencies may not have been critical, they were definitely noticed by users and reflected poorly on the IT department.


Keep it Single


When Toyota New Zealand learned about the hardware-independent hard drive imaging tool, the Universal Imaging Utility, Team Leader Dion Woisin was ecstatic. All of the issues they were experiencing with disk imaging could be effectively resolved by using the UIU to help prepare a single Master Image. “Maintaining all of those separate images was starting to become a nightmare,” he says. “We needed a solution that was simple yet thorough, and we were thrilled to finally find one just before a major rollout.”


The rollout in question was a complete upgrade of all PCs at Toyota NZ, a process accomplished around once every three or four years. Fully aware of the challenges presented by multiple Images, Toyota NZ management was quick to sign off on Woisin’s purchase of the UIU licenses.



Looking back, I don’t know how we coped prior to getting the UIU.

Dion Woisin, Team Leader

Immediate ROI


The UIU is a utility that prepares the master machine so that the image created with existing cloning software can then be easily deployed to any laptop or desktop regardless of manufacturer. In this case, Woisin and his team used UIU in conjunction with Altiris to deploy core applications such as Windows XP, Office 2003, WinZip and Acrobat Reader to all of their disparate PCs.


“There is no doubt that UIU more than paid for itself during this rollout,” he says. “We were able to deploy an identical image to all staff with a minimum of effort.” IT staff found UIU simple to use right out of the box. While the rollout took five months, Woisin says the pre-work would have been substantially longer without the benefit of UIU. They were also impressed with UIU’s extensive driver database. In fact, Woisin says UIU fulfilled all of TNZ’s needs perfectly. “When we were maintaining all of those separate images, we would do a Rollout and within two or three months, everything would be out of date,” he says. “Looking back, I don’t know how we coped prior to getting UIU.” The application allows Toyota NZ to continually improve its processes for machine upgrades. For example, time saved on maintaining multiple images can now be better spent developing an automated system for the installation of non-core applications.


Law Firm uses the UIU for Driver Management in ConfigMgr Bookmark

Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren s.c.


The law firm of Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren s.c., has offered a wide variety of services to small and large businesses, individuals, and non-profit organizations around the world for over 120 years. They have six locations in Wisconsin, Illinois and Phoenix with over 200 attorneys and 250 support staff providing first-class legal services ranging from Business Law to Intellectual Property to Litigation and much more.


To manage their IT system operations and OS deployment in their mixed environment, which includes a substantial Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Reinhart relies on the powerful systems management platform from Microsoft, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Leading the Reinhart IT Team is IT Director, Justin McLaughlin, an experienced administrator with over 10 years managing SCCM.



You don’t have to deal with driver image models ever again. The UIU plug-in for SCCM is a no-brainer.

Justin McLaughlin, IT Director

The Challenge with Drivers in SCCM


Because of Justin’s experience with SCCM, he is intimately familiar with the capabilities of Microsoft’s robust platform. As much as SCCM made systems management far more comprehensive at Reinhart, his team continued to experience significant challenges with driver management. As with many organizations, Reinhart’s hardware disparity, consisting of a mix of legacy and new machines from different manufacturers, caused challenges with OS deployment. SCCM’s cumbersome driver management requirements further compounded this challenge forcing the IT team to manually search for install files for production drivers or physically create them, inject proper driver models, and then ensure proper configuration. In addition, there were unknown limits on the number of driver .cabs per package. This resulted in, as Justin put it, “a disproportionate number of spec’d out jobs to image each machine to ensure each PC has received the correct driver set.”


The Reinhart IT Team wanted to find a more efficient way to handle drivers, but the best they could do with the existing capabilities of SCCM was to be as diligent and organized as possible for each driver and .cab file. The additional time required for initial setup aside, each time there was an update or new driver to add, the re-organization process took up a considerable amount of time and resources.


If they were able to locate the existing appropriate package, and the new driver file was configured correctly, they could inject it into the package. If not, they were forced to create a new package to correspond to the new hardware collection. Then the only way to test the accuracy of the package was on deployment. If drivers were missing or configured incorrectly, or an incorrect package was added to a particular Task Sequence, the process became quite time-consuming. A Better Way to Manage Drivers in SCCM When Reinhart learned about the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in (UIU plug-in for SCCM) Justin and his team were eager to test it. What they found was that the UIU plug-in for SCCM completely eliminated all of the driver headaches they experienced in the past. After a quick installation, the UIU plug-in for SCCM inserted itself seamlessly into their SCCM framework. Then, instead of manually organizing and packaging each individual .cab file, they needed only to run a Task Sequence including the UIU plug-in for SCCM Machine Configuration Step. The only thing left was to Advertise their new Task Sequence to any Collection of PCs regardless of manufacturer or model, and the deployment would be successful. Not only were existing drivers automatically handled, but new driver updates automatically updated within the UIU plug-in for SCCM Package for future Task Sequence assignment.



I can’t emphasize enough how nice it is to explore hardware that is the most beneficial for our organization - whatever the brand.

Justin McLaughlin, IT Director

No More Driver Headaches


The UIU plug-in for SCCM is a fully integrated plug-in specifically designed for Microsoft SCCM. The UIU plug-in for SCCM contains a vetted and updated driver database of over 40,000 business class Plug-and-Play IDs. A real-time Discovery Tool ascertains the on-board hardware of every PC in an environment and assigns only the best driver for each component during Mini-Setup. The UIU plug-in for SCCM completely eliminates the need to locate and inject driver .cab files, organize, and package them.


Justin concluded by stating, “Management of drivers in SCCM is messy. Even if we could keep up with separate .cabs and separate packages for separate classes of machines, let alone updates and newer driver releases, maintaining all of this is a nightmare. We are really thrilled with the UIU plug-in for SCCM. Anything that I ever envisioned in a perfect world for driver management in SCCM, the UIU plug-in for SCCM completely exceeded.”


The New York Blood Center and CSC implement the UIU Bookmark

The New York Blood Center


For more than 40 years, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) has provided their community with transfusion products and services, leading-edge research, technological and medical care innovation, and education in the field of transfusion medicine. In addition, the NYBC provides life-saving blood products and services to almost 200 hospitals in New York and New Jersey every day. In order to accomplish these substantial humanitarian feats and manage the data and infrastructure behind them, the NYBC relies on Computer Science Corporation (CSC) to maintain and operate their IT systems. CSC is a fortune 200 company with over ninety-five thousand employees on five different continents. CSC is easily one of the world’s largest and most respected providers of information technology, infrastucture systems, enterprise solutions and managed network solutions.


The Issue


Shaun Miller and the rest of the MIS team for CSC at the NYBC, set out to fix the Blood Center‘s main IT problem, which was their lack of a standardized hard drive image. With over 500 PCs comprised of 15-16 different makes and models, they were managing well over a dozen images. With so many different images, keeping track of which images went with certain models, and whether or those images were up-to-date presented a significant challenge and required a considerable amount of time and effort.



We were immediately able to take dissimilar hardware and simplify the imaging process down to one image.

Shaun Miller, MIS

Organizations with so many images face time-consuming difficulties when PCs need to be re-imaged. The appropriate image needs to be obtained to correspond with the PC(s) in question. Very often the image is not updated, and everything from new policies, to security, to Windows updates, needs to take place before the image can be deployed. If there are any driver updates required, or any hardware components have been replaced, the process takes even longer.


If an image cannot be found for a particular PC, or if the PC is new and an image was never created, then building a compatible image from scratch and testing and deploying it can take several days. This process must be completed for every existing and new PC in order for an organization to maintain consistency and best practices.


The Solution


Shaun was introduced to the Universal Imaging Utility (UIU) by a colleague who had discovered the UIU at an IT Trade Show. The Universal Imaging Utility is the only software application able to create a ONE hardware-independent Windows hard drive image that can be easily deployed to any laptop or desktop regardless of manufacturer. When CSC incorporated the UIU at the Blood Center, Shaun and the rest of the MIS team saw immediate results. “We were able to implement the UIU into the Blood Center IT framework and were immediately able to take dissimilar hardware and simplify the imaging process down to one image.”



The UIU has reduced imaging time significantly. Less than a quarter of the time it took before.

Shaun Miller, MIS

The UIU contains a fully vetted and updated driver database of over 32,000 plug-and-play IDs, the ability to detect different HAL types, and the programmatic functionality to work with Windows prior to mini-setup to ensure that anything that might prevent cross-platform deployment is handled.


The UIU Lends Helping Hand to MedCentral Bookmark

MedCentral


MedCentral Health System is a 2,600 employee non-profit health care provider serving North Central Ohio. MedCentral runs two hospitals and ten satellite clinics, offering a full range of medical services including OB-GYN, cardiac care, oncology, neurology and behavioral health.


From its headquarters in Mansfield, OH, the MedCentral Information Services (IS) Department is responsible for the difficult task of maintaining a reliable computer network of nearly 2,000 computers covering a dozen facilities scattered over an entire county.


The Challenge


A significant and time consuming task for the MedCentral IS department is deploying new systems and keeping those systems up-to-date with the latest security patches, software updates, and application improvements. That substantial task rests squarely on the capable shoulders of MedCentral Desktop Support Specialist Ron Stephens.


Initially, MedCentral only utilized Altiris Deployment Solution to capture and deploy images for each of the 15 different models of computers they had. As capable as Altiris was in many ways, it was not capable of creating images with all the necessary device drivers. As a result, the MedCentral IS team was forced to manually collect all the necessary drivers, image each individual system, and store the image for possible future use. As the number of different computer platforms expanded, so did the time and expense of managing and storing those images.


Deployment Solution


The process changed dramatically when MedCentral tested and began using the driver management and pre-deployment tool, the Universal Imaging Utility (UIU) in 2007.



The UIU allows us to be more productive and stay ahead.

Ron Stephens, Desktop Support Specialist

Using a combination of Altiris Deployment Solution and the Universal Imaging Utility, MedCentral re-tooled the way desktops, laptops and tablets are managed.


Before the UIU, MedCentral maintained an average of six images in their library, a number that would be over a dozen today if it were not for the Universal Imaging Utility. The UIU works alongside popular cloning software packages such as Ghost, Acronis, Altiris, SCCM and others, to deploy a single hardware-independent hard drive image to any laptop or desktop regardless of manufacturer.


Why It Works


The value of the UIU was not lost on Stephens. “Our users do not have administrative rights, so fixing problems and maintaining updates is one of our jobs,” Stephens explained. “Because system deployments and the time spent maintaining our image library is a fraction of what it could be, we are more productive and able to stay ahead.” Stephens cited five main reasons why MedCentral relies on the Universal Imaging Utility:


  • Simple to maintain images.
  • With the hardware-independent capabilities of the Universal Imaging Utility, disparate computer platforms are irrelevant when creating and deploying an image. The image origin and destination do not matter since the UIU is compatible with any system.v

  • More time to complete other projects.
  • By reducing the image library from six to two (by choice, one for tablets and another for desktops and laptops), MedCentral has reduced their labor expense by two-thirds. The improved efficiency allows them to take on projects in a more timely manner and complete them sooner than before.


  • No longer maintain a library of device drivers.
  • This is a significant feature for MedCentral, according to Stephens. A surprising bonus is that new drivers are handled efficiently, and new driver libraries are downloaded directly from Big Bang. On the rare occasion where a driver is not included, a phone call to support quickly solves the issue.


  • Images are more up-to-date.
  • Master images are maintained on a regular schedule now, something that was not possible before. Stephens attributes that to two factors: the task doesn’t take as long as before, and it is something that is no longer dreaded.


  • Freedom to buy from any computer manufacturer.
  • The Universal Imaging Utility allows MedCentral to select hardware vendors based on their changing needs. They are now able to select the best PC at the best price without concern for hardware similarity.


The UIU Helps DuPont Create One Ghost Image Bookmark

DuPont Performance Elastomers


Scott Himmelberger is a Site Specialist for DuPont Performance Elastomers, part of the multibillion dollar Fortune 500 manufacturer. Operating in 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for many markets including agriculture, electronics, automotive, home, transportation, and safety and protection.


As Site Specialist for the Delaware location, it is Scott’s job to keep the network and computers running smoothly.

 

The Cloning Dilemna


To help create an efficient network, Scott attended a Symantec Ghost Solution Suite training course in Houston, TX. The course was three intensive days of hands-on study.


Though the cloning capabilities of Ghost were an improvement over the previous method used by DuPont Performance Elastomers, the overhead of creating, storing, and maintaining a Ghost image file for each computer type in the network was still substantial. In this case, the time and man-power required for the dozen images needed was costly and prevented the team from focusing on other projects.


For example, deploying a new system or re-cloning an existing one was a hands-on job and exceeded two and a half hours, due in part to the time required to locate the appropriate image, make sure it was updated, and then ensure that it contained the necessary drivers for the specific recipient hardware.

 

The Deployment Solution


It was also at this training course that Scott learned about the Universal Imaging Utility (UIU) from Big Bang LLC. The UIU caught his attention because it solved an important issue for him: the inability of Ghost to create a single image that could be deployed to the variety of makes and models of computers DuPont Performance Elastomers was using.


The UIU is the only software application able to create ONE hardware-independent hard drive image that can easily be deployed to any laptop or desktop regarldess of manufacturer.


No one else is able to handle multiple hardware platforms.

Scott Himmelberger, Site Specialist

With the UIU, the cloning process now takes 30 minutes or less, a reduction of over 80% in labor costs alone. The UIU also enables the technicians to work on location, with a bootable USB drive, re-imaging the faulty system without removing it from its environment. This adds to the cost-savings of the UIU.

 

Why It Works


DuPont Performance Elastomers is fairly typical of most companies in that they have a variety of computers in their network. Though mostly Dells, they have nearly 10 different models of desktops and more than a half dozen types of laptops. These are all maintained with one single hardware-independent Ghost image created with the help of the UIU.


When configuring a new system, it is important to ensure all the necessary device drivers are included. Appropriately assigned and installed drivers enable the system to function for the new user immediately, without any problems. The UIU contains a constantly vetted and updated driver database that eliminates the need to worry about locating and installing the correct drivers.


None of the other products configure like the UIU.

Scott Himmelberger, Site Specialist

In their experience, the UIU has out-performed any alternative methods, including “free” tools that are available. Scott explained, “None of the other products configure like the UIU. They are unable to handle multiple hardware platforms.”


As Scott and the rest of the IT staff prepare for the next round of application upgrades, the UIU is ready to help. Their upcoming migration to a 64-bit platform, Office 2010 and other changes has already been tested successfully with the UIU.


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