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UIU Case Studies

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University College Extends IT Budget with the UIU Bookmark

University College, London


University College, London (UCL) is one of the top five universities in the UK. The university is made up of 72 academic departments with eight facilities based over multiple sites throughout London. The Information Systems department provides IT facilities for both staff and students throughout the university. With such a large and dispersed operation, managing the university’s IT needs from its Bloomsbury location is very challenging. Information Systems supports over 3,000 PCs under its ‘Managed PCs’ service and is required to maintain workstations that hold identical software and numerous types of drivers in a cost-effective and scalable manner.



We needed a solution that was simple, yet thorough.

Maria Darmon, Assistant Director

Simple Cloning was not the Answer


Software-based cloning was already in place at UCL. The cloning package UCL uses to update its computers is a proprietary program, developed by the technical team and based on PXE/Linux and NTFSclone. Even with that, UCL still had to create and maintain 15-20 master images to support the various brands of desktops at multiple sites within the organization. The technological limitations restricted the Information Systems team to using an increasingly limited range of hardware suppliers, as every hardware change could inherently require a new image to be created and/or deployed. Maria Darmon, Assistant Director of Information Systems, said, “Maintaining all of those separate images was a complex and time consuming task. We needed a solution that was simple yet thorough, which allowed us to create a single image that could be deployed across the university in a short span of time. We also needed to be much more accommodating in our ability to support these images across a range of different hardware from contracted suppliers.” She continued, “Another area for concern was an urgent need to deploy updates to our systems. Multiple images had to be updated in order for us to target critical client systems on a frequent basis.”


Hardware-Independent Images


The Universal Imaging Utility (UIU) was UCL’s solution. The UIU enables users to prepare a single, hardware-independent hard drive Image that can easily be deployed to any desktop or laptop regardless of manufacturer, thus greatly reducing the time and expense associated with image creation and maintenance. Using UIU, UCL is now able to maintain just a few master images to use throughout its environment of disparate Desktops.



We can now maintain a small number of images for an increasingly large range of hardware from different contracted suppliers.

Maria Darmon, Assistant Director

Explains Adam Murphy, President of Big Bang LLC, “Rolling-out software updates and setting up new desktops and laptops can be managed within a matter of minutes, and a previously complex and time consuming operation can be transformed into a simple, straightforward and fully automated task. This enables IT departments to drastically reduce the time and money spent on image creation, maintenance, and deployment by streamlining the cloning process. This allows IT resources to focus on more business-critical tasks.”


UIU Extends IT Budget


Simon Walsh, IT Purchasing Officer at Information Systems, UCL, said, “Before we started using UIU, our purchasing options for PCs were very limited. Maintaining core components over a protracted period of time was very difficult and not very cost effective. We discovered that we were unable to take full advantage of advancing trends in technology and advantageous price breaks. We often found ourselves locked into purchasing a particular model for a longer period of time than we would have hoped for in order to avoid having to create and maintain yet another Image.”


Maria Darmon concluded: “Following the introduction of UIU, we can now maintain a small number of images for an increasingly large range of hardware from different contracted suppliers. Images are now faster and easier to maintain and allow us to make much better use of our staff resources.


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.”


New York Chiropractic College and the UIU Bookmark

Organization Overview


The New York Chiropractic College in upstate New York offers both undergraduate and Master’s degree programs in a variety of disciplines related to chiropractic medicine. The college’s mission is to provide leadership and academic excellence in all its degree-granting programs through a commitment to quality education and patient care, research excellence and professional service.



The process now takes a third of the time it took using the previous process.

John Vincent, Information Technology Administrator

The Situation


John Vincent, the New York Chiropractic College Information Technology Administrator, is responsible for maintaining and updating the student computer labs as well as the faculty and staff machines at the college – 500 machines in total.


The Challenge


Because Vincent had eight to 10 different models to update for each of the three areas for which he was responsible, he had to maintain nearly 30 separate master Images. He kept a model of each type of computer in his office for updating, which proved difficult to manage. Physically storing the images posed additional challenges. “It took a lot of time, at least a day or two just getting the images ready to go and then another half a day to push them out,” Vincent said. “The whole process took about three days to install, test and roll out. This meant we had to close the lab for about nine days each year. Another issue for Vincent was that he spent a significant amount of time keeping track of new hardware drivers. It is common for identical models of computers to not have the same hardware components such as processor, hard drive, controller, and network, sound and graphics cards.


The Solution


Once Vincent tried Big Bang LLC’s Universal Imaging Utility (UIU), the process became much easier. Vincent now has one dedicated machine for each department in his office containing one master image to update. He no longer needs to wheel the master machines to the lab in order to perform the updates. “I maintain one image for the student lab, one for the faculty machines and one for the staff,” explains Vincent. “The process now takes half a day to get each image ready and to roll it out, a third of the time it took using the previous process.”


The UIU also significantly frees up server storage space. He now has three Images, compared to the 30 he used to maintain. “It cut down on storage quite a bit,” Vincent continued. “We were considering purchasing another storage device for back up because of the amount of space all those images were taking up, but now we don’t have to do that. We can use storage we already have because the size and number of images we need to keep is so much smaller, thanks to the UIU.”


Another benefit Vincent has seen is that keeping drivers current is now much easier with the UIU. “Driver issues were a concern previously. Trying to keep current drivers for all the models we had here was a challenge. Now we just use the UIU and it keeps track of that information for us. We don’t have to worry about having the right drivers or storing them all for all the equipment and peripherals we have. I now rely solely on the UIU to complete this task.


Vincent is now thinking about conducting regularly scheduled updates to the faculty and staff machines because of the success he’s experienced using the UIU for the student computer labs. “UIU makes it so much easier that I’m considering proactively updating the other machines to keep them fresh and clean. Because they run faster when freshly imaged, this might also cut down on support calls, saving even more time.”



We don’t have to worry about having the right drivers...I now rely solely on the UIU.

John Vincent, Information Technology Administrator

The UIU has been so beneficial to the college that Vincent was able to abandon his plans to hire a new position within his department. “We were ready to hire a person just to take care of the desktop administration,” explained Vincent. “It had become such a burden and took a back seat to the more critical work that had to be done. It was hard for me to keep up with the administrative duties, because of my network and server responsibilities. Now that I’ve seen how easy UIU is to use, I don’t feel I need to hire another person, which really pleases management because we’re saving money.” “UIU has been a great product for us,” Vincent says. “It definitely meets all my needs. It’s been fantastic.”


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.


MPL Reduces Image Maintenance time with the UIU Bookmark

The Milwaukee Public Library


The Milwaukee Public Library has a storied history dating back to 1878. The original historic downtown location has, over the course of several years, added twelve additional physical locations throughout the city. The library’s vision is to be every person’s gateway to an expanding world of information, and to guide Milwaukeeans in their pursuit of knowledge, enjoyment of lifelong learning.


As such, technology services play a significant role in achieving such a mission. With the ever-increasing availability of digital information, online resources and media, maintaining a solid infrastructure of PCs is integral to their success.


The Situation


Spread amongst the twelve physical locations, the library has approximately 850 desktops, and an increasing number of laptops - currently 350. MIS Manager, Corey Megal, leads a team of three people who are responsible for maintenance, imaging and deployment, and configuration of the library’s PCs. In an effort to standardize imaging, the Library purchases predominantly Dell desktops and HP laptops. Of the 350 laptops, approximately 240 of them are for public use. Of the 850 desktops, the split between staff and public use is almost exactly 50/50.


The Challenge


Even though the library had standardization in mind with their primarily Dell desktops and HP laptops, they found themselves with at least five different models of each. In addition to the 10 unique models, that the MIS team maintained a unique image for both the staff machines and the machines used by the public. This meant that Corey and his team were managing fifteen or more images at one time. Each of the public image configurations was required to be considerably more restrictive for daily public usage, and contained completely unique software and configuration from the staff machines. The stark disparity of image configuration between staff and public PCs meant there was nothing they could do to reduce the number of images on hand. Aside from the obvious physical space requirements to house that many images, the primary issue was definitely the time required to make sure that each image contained the latest Microsoft updates, drivers and configuration needed, and then successfully deploy each image to the corresponding hardware.



The only thing I regret is not buying the UIU sooner.

Corey Megal, MIS Manager

The Solution


Back in 2002, Corey attended a Symantec Ghost training session given by software developer and Ghost training specialists, Big Bang LLC. It was at the end of this class that he was first introduced to a solution that could address his imaging issues and help the library reduce the number of images and the time required to maintain them by over 80% -Big Bang LLC’s Universal Imaging Utility (UIU).


The UIU is the only software application able to work in conjunction with an Windows OS deployment solution such as Ghost, Altiris, Acronis, SCCM, ImageX, etc., to deliver a hardware independent image to any PC regardless of manufacturer. Because of this, Corey and his team were able to reduce the number of images they had to maintain from 15 down to two - one for the PCs used by the public and one for the staff. The images are now easy to keep updated, and he knows that he always has a current image ready for deployment. This is particularly important because the library uses re-imaging not only for troubleshooting and new hardware, but also to push out essential updates.


The Future


Going forward, the MIS team will continue to utilize a simple set of best practices recommended by Big Bang. After preparing a master PC (including OS, software and applicable configuration), they capture an image of that machine, prior to running the UIU. This pre-UIU capture is recommended due to Microsoft’s limitations on the number of times you can Sysprep an image, and retaining a pre-Sysprep master allows the MIS team to return to this image for updates. Once that pre-Sysprep image is put aside for future use, the MIS team runs the UIU on the master PC. The UIU prepares the operating system for hardware independent imaging, loads a driver database of over 40,000 Plug-and-Play IDs, invokes Sysprep and shuts the master PC down. In approximately ten minutes, the master PC will be readied for image capture and deployment to the hardware of their choice.


When the time comes to update their two images, one configured for the public and the other for the staff PCs, they will simply put the original image back down, run the necessary updates, capture a pre-Sysprep image to save for next time, run the UIU on the master PC and capture and deploy. Just a couple of hours a month, including the time to pull down the updates, allows the Milwaukee Public Library MIS team to have an updated and completely hardware independent PC image on hand at all times.


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.


Tennessee Schools Manage Drivers with the UIU Bookmark

Maryville City Schools


Maryville City Schools is a K-12 school district located about twenty miles south of Knoxville in Maryville, Tennessee. The district educates over 5,000 students throughout seven schools, including a high school with over 1,000 students enrolled. In addition to the student bodies, Maryville City Schools employs around 700 staff members, including both teachers and support staff, all tasked with preparing students for a lifetime of learning and responsible citizenship. To help facilitate that goal, the Maryville IT department maintains approximately 1,500 PCs for use by students and faculty.


Both the size of the district and the multiple locations involved require a high level of expertise in IT operations and support. Leading the IT efforts for Maryville City Schools is District Technology Coordinator, Andrew Raulston. Andrew’s varied experience in IT operations and support allows Maryville City Schools to utilize the powerful systems management platform from Microsoft, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).


Driver Management Challenges


Prior to the adoption of SCCM, Andrew managed his images with Zenworks. While the implementation of SCCM throughout the district allowed for a more comprehensive approach to systems management, Andrew continued to experience significant challenges with driver management. As is the case with many organizations, Maryville found it both costly and nearly impossible to maintain a homogenous fleet of PCs. The hardware disparity extended beyond an already challenging environment mixed with both desktops and laptops to an environment with multiple models from several different manufacturers.


To manage his diverse environment, Andrew was forced to manually search for the necessary .cab or driver files for each make and model machine. Once he was able to locate the necessary files, they still needed to be packaged and distributed before including them in the OSD Task Sequence. Advertising the Task Sequence to a PC collection posed another set of challenges, as the collection had to be hardware specific and limited only to the drivers in the Task Sequence. Once a change was made to his PC inventory, or there was a new driver or update, the process started all over again.



The amount of time I saved was more than worth the cost of the software.

Andrew Raulston, District Technology Coordinator

An SCCM Integrated Solution for Drivers


The frustrations of managing drivers in a diverse hardware environment were great enough that Andrew started looking for a better way. A quick Google search led him to the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in (UIU plug-in for SCCM). The UIU plug-in for SCCM is a fully integrated plug-in specifically designed for Microsoft SCCM and contains a fully-vetted and continuously updated driver database of over 40,000 Plug-and-Play IDs. The UIU plug-in for SCCM discovers the onboard hardware of each PC in an environment and assigns only the best driver for each component. This automated process completely eliminates the need to locate, organize, manage and create driver packages.


After finding the UIU plug-in for SCCM website, Andrew requested a trial and soon discovered that it completely eliminated all the driver hassles he had experienced in the past. Instead of manually organizing and packaging each individual .cab file, he needed only to build a Task Sequence including the UIU plug-in for SCCM Machine Configuration Step. That single Task Sequence could then be advertised to any Collection of PCs, regardless of manufacturer or model. Shortly after Andrew started working with the trial, he found that the drivers he needed were included and became confident that the UIU plug-in for SCCM could resolve his driver management headaches.



The trial was easy to install and run, and technical support was there to help with questions along the way.

Andrew Raulston, District Technology Coordinator

In less than ten days, Andrew went from testing the UIU plug-in for SCCM to implementing the live version in his environment. He was in contact with UIU plug-in for SCCM Support throughout his trial period and reported them to be both responsive and thorough in answering his questions. “The trial was easy to install and run, and technical support was there to help with questions along the way.”


Time Savings and No Driver Headaches


With the UIU plug-in for SCCM, Andrew can now go from bare metal to a fully functional PC in 30 minutes. His first project with the help of the UIU plug-in for SCCM involved setting up 52 new ThinkPads and 60 white boxes, and he deployed one imaging Task Sequence for all of them. He estimates that the UIU plug-in for SCCM saved him several weeks of time in initial setup, and the savings will continue as his environment grows and changes. “With the UIU plug-in for SCCM, driver management has become a non-issue for me,” reported Andrew. “The amount of time I saved was more than worth the cost of the software, especially given the varying hardware I deal with.”


Kansas Schools Reduce Imaging Time with the UIU Bookmark

Lansing Unified School District


As Technology Director of Lansing Unified School District, Bill Eckles manages a large and diverse number of computers and peripherals for students and staff.


The facilities for this northwest Kansas District include three school buildings and the district office. As Lansing’s only full-time IT employee, Eckles, who was brought on-board in 2009, oversees a Windows 2008 Server network of nearly 2,000 computers, 1,200 peripheral devices, as well as 300 faculty and staff machines.


The Current Situation


Lansing uses Symantec Ghost cloning software to handle the deployment, rollouts and migration of its desktops and laptops. They maintain a wide variety of systems, utilizing a hand-me-down approach. When a new PC is acquired, the old one is re-deployed to another area in the District where it replaces an older or less powerful computer. As is common with school districts, the majority of supported machines ultimately end up in student computer labs.


This swapping process continues until the end of the line is reached and a system is retired.


The Challenge


While making fiscal sense, this process requires Eckles to maintain computers that are up to ten years old. The combination of minimal human resources, varying ages of computers, and heavy student use leaves Eckles with a very long To-Do list.


Helping chip away at the backlog is pre-cloning preparation tool, the Universal Imaging Utility from Big Bang LLC. In a previous job with a Federal Defense agency, Eckles used the Universal Imaging Utility to help support their PCs.


The Universal Imaging Utility works alongside hard drive imaging tools and enables the imaging tool (Ghost, Altiris, Acronis, SCCM, etc.) to create and use a single hardware-independent hard drive image that can easily be deployed to any laptop or desktop regardless of manufacturer.



I call the UIU the ‘Stress Reliever’

Bill Eckles, Technology Director

Why It Works


Eckles cited four main benefits to using the UIU while cloning computers:


  • Ease of use – the UIU requires no special training; load the program and follow the wizard as it walks you through the process.

  • Scalability to different systems – the UIU is hardware agnostic, so it works on virtually every business-class PC.

  • Maintaining multiple images with one base – the UIU enables adding, removing, or udpating software and OS updates to one base image and using that new UIU image to deploy to a different set of hardware.

  • Updates to driver database – the UIU includes a comprehensive library of updated device drivers.


Prior to utilizing the Universal Imaging Utility, routine system refreshes were not done regularly at Lansing. Performing them was far down the list of priorities. In the most recent school year, Eckles’ department fielded 1,500 tech requests which left little time for much else.


Incorporating the UIU into their imaging process has yielded quantifiable results. For instance, to Ghost-cast an image to a computer lab consisting of 40 PCs without using the UIU took a full 5 days due to different platforms and driver requirements.


With the Universal Imaging Utility, that same computer lab is fully cloned in less than one day–which yields a full 80% savings on time and labor expense.


Eckles gets the same benefit when imaging the district’s laptops too, since the same image is used to clone them as well. It is for this reason that he refers to the UIU as “The Stress Reliever.”


By handling the routine, mundane tasks so efficiently, large scale improvements have been enacted by Lansing USD without requesting a larger budget or additional personnel. Examples include implementing a new Help Desk Support Ticket system and moving forward with a plan to perform off-site back-ups.


The Universal Imaging Utility affords Lansing USD the opportunity not only be more proactive in its management of computers, thereby keeping the software more current and properly patched, but also allows them to make genuine progress on other initiatives that benefit the students, teachers and staff.


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.


Additional Resources