UIU Case Studies


UConn and PC Drivers in MDT with the UIU Bookmark

Founded in 1941, the UConn School of Business has evolved into one of the most comprehensive business schools in the nation, offering academic programs at the bachelors, masters, doctorate and advanced certificate levels, in five Connecticut locations – Storrs, Hartford, Stamford, Torrington and Waterbury. The School of Business has established a strong reputation for high quality research and academic programs, spanning a wide array of functional disciplines – Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, and Operations and Information Management.

The Information & Communications Technology team at the UConn School of Business directly supports the faculty, staff, and students of the school. Their mission is to facilitate the teaching, research, and outreach mission of the School of Business through strategic and innovative implementation of information technology.

UConn Imaging Process

As the Services Systems Administrator, Glenn Ortiz has been integral in developing a cohesive, efficient imaging program across all five campus locations. Eight years ago, the UConn School of Business faced an imaging dilemma supporting disparate student laptops at their Storrs location as well as many desktop and laptop models amongst the faculty. Current Director, Jeremy Pollack, selected the Universal Imaging Utility (UIU) to maintain one hardware-independent image that could be deployed to any laptop or desktop regardless of make or model.

I’m very excited that we have this in place. It takes the amazing infrastructure Glenn has developed, connects to the great tools from Microsoft, and ties it all together with the Universal Imaging Utility.

Jeremy Pollack, IT Director

Since those initial days, Glenn has developed a robust Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) infrastructure to handle their image deployments. They chose MDT as a solution already bundled with their Microsoft Enterprise Agreements, and unlike other deployment tools which operate statically, MDT allows them to dynamically modify the OS image throughout the deployment process. MDT also integrates well for them with other technologies like Windows Deployment Services (WDS) to further simplify the deployment process. 

Glenn and the ICT team appreciate the way MDT is able to inject drivers during the imaging process, which means they no longer have to maintain a master image containing all the necessary drivers. As a result, the image they do maintain can be much smaller which equates to faster deployment times. This also gives them the flexibility to streamline management of the various different platforms, applications, and software needed across faculty, staff, and student PCs. “The migration to MDT has been valuable to our overall imaging process, and has streamlined the entire process”, said Glenn. “In particular, it has addressed a major challenge we still had, which was consistency across all of our campuses.”

I can now install driver updates directly to the server so that when we do deployments the clients will automatically get the latest drivers.

Glenn Ortiz, Services Systems Administrator

Driver Management Challenges

As capable as MDT is, the issue of cross-platform deployment always comes down to disparate hardware and driver management. Even though MDT offers a medium by which to organize and package drivers to correspond with each recipient PC, each driver must be located and manually packaged. 

But manual driver management hasn’t been an issue at the UConn School of Business. Instead of worrying about locating, organizing, and packaging the drivers inherently necessary for the recipient PCs in their MDT environment, they chose to utilized the new UIU to automate driver management. The UIU plug-in for MDT allows administrators to create a driver repository location within the MDT server environment for availability during any deployment. Then, when a Standard Client Task Sequence is deployed, the UIU Machine Configuration Step can be added from a drop-down menu within MDT. Once the Task Sequence is deployed, the UIU ascertains the onboard hardware of the recipient PC during WinPE setup and injects only the most appropriate driver from the UIU Driver Repository.

The UIU is a great tool; it saves us a lot of time. To integrate so well with MDT makes it even more valuable.

Glenn Ortiz, Services Systems Administrator

The UIU Driver Database is continuously updated and vetted, consists of over 40,000 Plug-and-Play IDs, and contains only the latest, most appropriate drivers. Once the UIU Repository location is selected by the MDT admin, it can be set to automatically update when new drivers are released. 

This feature in particular appeals to Glenn, “I can now install updates directly to the server. When we do deployments the clients will automatically get the latest drivers.”

Going forward, Glenn will be utilizing an additional feature from the UIU, the WinPE builder which contains the PE drivers necessary to enable them to create an MDT LiteTouch bootable ISO. 

“UIU/Big Bang have been a great partner over the years. This new solution is another example of how focused they are in increasing the value of our existing investments,” says Jeremy. “I’m very excited that we have this in place. It takes the amazing infrastructure Glenn has developed, connects to the great tools from Microsoft, and ties it all together with the Universal Imaging Utility.”

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