Dan Oldroyd – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:16:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 How Rockwell Automation is Using Windows Autopilot and You Can Benefit from Their Experience https://infocus.dellemc.com/dan_oldroyd/how-rockwell-automation-is-using-windows-autopilot-and-you-can-benefit-from-their-experience/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/dan_oldroyd/how-rockwell-automation-is-using-windows-autopilot-and-you-can-benefit-from-their-experience/#respond Mon, 07 Jan 2019 16:00:30 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=37205 Recently, it was my pleasure to give a joint presentation with Tod Loxley, Lead Design Engineer from Rockwell Automation at the 2018 Microsoft Ignite conference. We described how the F500 industrial automation company worked with Dell to leverage Microsoft Windows Autopilot to unify endpoint management. We also touched on the ways the work contributed to […]

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Recently, it was my pleasure to give a joint presentation with Tod Loxley, Lead Design Engineer from Rockwell Automation at the 2018 Microsoft Ignite conference.

We described how the F500 industrial automation company worked with Dell to leverage Microsoft Windows Autopilot to unify endpoint management. We also touched on the ways the work contributed to the first release of a Dell Provisioning for Windows Autopilot service that offers added value support to you.

First, a Little Background on Windows Autopilot

Microsoft introduced Windows Autopilot last year to enable an automated deployment process for new Windows 10 devices that eliminates the need for IT to create, maintain, and apply custom images.

Roughly, it works like this:

  • OEM’s like Dell enable Autopilot on their devices and link customer details with the devices as part of the order process
  • End users turn on and connect their devices to the internet
  • The Autopilot deployment service recognizes the device and starts a customized setup based on the corporate profile assigned to the device
  • The user is guided to sign in with their personal corporate credentials and their device is automatically joined to Azure AD (AAD) for identity management based on their profile, and enrolled in Intune, which pushes corporate policies, settings, and apps to the device

The benefits are clear: IT administrators don’t have to physically touch the device and end users can start using new systems sooner, with minimal inconvenience or need for support.

Real-world Experience

Tod Loxley is an enthusiastic proponent of the cloud-enabled Microsoft modern client paradigm. He works directly with Microsoft as a pilot customer for the Microsoft 365 Managed Desktop service and to simplify the lives of Rockwell end users and IT professionals.

Tod is also a practical realist with 15 years of Microsoft OS experience, reaching all the way back to Windows NT. So, along with recognizing the potential of Autopilot, he also quickly identified hurdles to realizing its full potential.

Hurdle #1: A Single Process 

For new Windows 10 devices, Autopilot goes quite a way toward Tod’s long-held objective of “getting rid of the decades-old practice of IT taking device out of the box and putting our own version of Windows on it, when Dell has already put a copy of Windows on it.”

Currently, however, there is no Autopilot process for enrolling the Windows devices already in the hands of Rockwell users. Bringing all of its Windows devices, new and old, into a single, standardized process is critical to Rockwell―not just for the consistency of end-user and IT experience―but to be able to outsource commodity IT services to free in-house resources for more strategic work.

Tod turned to Dell in hopes that our commitment to and experience with Microsoft, global reach, and patented client deployment capabilities could help. For us, Rockwell―with it’s ~23,000 employees and ~35,000 endpoints at 175+ sites across 80+ countries, as well as at remote sites, such as oil rigs―presented a great opportunity to learn how Rockwell was implementing Autopilot and what additional services a large enterprise might need.

We were able to design a process to register existing Windows devices using their Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) inventory. Today, in addition to registering all new Windows 10 devices delivered to Rockwell users worldwide, Dell is registering ~25,000 existing machines, primarily running Windows 7.

As Tod describes it: “We pushed Dell a bit and they came through using their ingenuity as a client deployment service provider. All we had to do is provide data from our SCCM inventory and Dell is registering our existing Windows devices for Autopilot. That’s a big hurdle taken down for us in being able to standardize on one process for the modern Windows paradigm.

Hurdle #2:  Bloatware & Drivers

One reason corporate IT replaces out-of-box Windows OS with their own image is to get rid of unwanted third-party “bloatware” added by the device manufacturer and Microsoft (Candy Crush, anyone?). Another is to load or update specific drivers. Dell is helping Rockwell by factory-loading a clean, generic image of Windows 10, along with the specific drivers they want.

Hurdle #3 – Version Control

Microsoft requires all OEMs to ship the current version of Windows 10 and only supports the current version and it’s two previous (n-1 and n-2) releases. Rockwell, like many customers, finds it prudent to test and verify new software before deployment, so its enterprise version may lag. In Rockwell’s case, they are currently using the n-1 version of Windows 10. To help Rockwell maintain a single standard, Dell is shipping its devices with the n-1 release.

Summary

Dell’s experience with Rockwell and other customers has been invaluable in the development of services for Windows 10 on Dell hardware that leverage Autopilot for faster simpler endpoint management. Today, we provide the current version of Windows 10 in all our commercial client devices in 80+ countries, with free upload of device information for Autopilot enrollment.

We also offer factory-loaded Dell Configuration Services that, combined with Autopilot, eliminate many of the reasons for staging or IT involvement, including:

  • The option to load a previous version of Windows 10 (Microsoft-supported n-1 or n-2)
  • A clean generic image of Windows 10 without any unsanctioned third-party software
  • Loading customer-specific drivers prior to delivery to end users

Dell will also work with you to register the Windows devices you’re already using in Autopilot.

Did You Know?

 

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Windows 10: Complex Migration or Modern IT Transformation? https://infocus.dellemc.com/dan_oldroyd/windows-10-complex-migration-or-modern-it-transformation/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/dan_oldroyd/windows-10-complex-migration-or-modern-it-transformation/#respond Tue, 03 Jul 2018 09:00:13 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=35725 If your organization still hasn’t fully migrated to Windows 10, you’re not alone. But with less than two years before extended support for Windows 7 ends, it’s time for businesses to kick their efforts into high gear. I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done, right? Trying to understand what is required, when […]

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If your organization still hasn’t fully migrated to Windows 10, you’re not alone. But with less than two years before extended support for Windows 7 ends, it’s time for businesses to kick their efforts into high gear.

I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done, right? Trying to understand what is required, when it needs to happen and what it means for your users is enough to make your head spin. And when you start considering the time and resources needed to make the move, you’d rather bury that spinning head in the sand.

One of the things I really enjoy about my job is interaction with customers. I genuinely like hearing about the challenges, frustrations and opportunities facing IT managers today. I’ve heard a lot of comments like “my environment is stable, why do I need the disruption of moving to Windows 10?”

Luckily, migrating to Windows 10 doesn’t have to be a complicated, headache-inducing challenge. In fact, with a little background information, a plan to move forward and the right partner on your journey, migrating to Windows 10 is an opportunity to modernize IT management for your organization.

And don’t just take my word for it. Our organization is one that has taken the leap and now all-in with Windows 10. We successfully migrated 100% of Dell’s workforce in 2017 – that’s approximately 150,000 upgraded PCs. And we’ve helped countless others make the transition as well.

Read on, because you’re next!

Meeting the Needs of the Evolving Workforce

According to Microsoft, 22 million commercial users have already migrated to Windows 101 and are realizing the benefits of the improved operating system – its deep integration of cloud services, universal app capabilities and enhanced security tools – and a new Windows as a Service model that delivers updates in smaller packages more frequently. (This could be your last large-scale rollout ever!)

Simply put, IT environments based on Windows 10 are more agile, more mobile, more effective and more secure. This is essential to meet the needs of a growing workforce who want easy, on-demand, collaborative experiences and the flexibility to work anywhere, anytime.

Best of Both Worlds with Hybrid Deployment

If Windows 10 is going to help modernize your IT environment and ultimately, how your users get things done – shouldn’t the deployment model transform as well? The ability to easily deploy and manage systems via cloud technology is a major perk of Windows 10 (PCs are essentially turned into thin clients for remote, over-the-air provisioning with solutions like VMware’s Workspace ONE or Microsoft’s AutoPilot).

However, the success of this model depends on the quality and speed of users’ connections, the size of the image and the number of locally installed applications which can significantly hamper the “out-of-the-box” experience. Although we believe this cloud-based model is the future of deployment, the reality is that most IT environments will require a hybrid approach in the near term to accommodate existing IT infrastructures and processes. Hybrid deployment offers the best of both worlds – the speed, control and reliability of factory configuration/installation with the scalability and cost-efficiencies of ongoing management via the cloud.

The Way Forward

So you know Windows 10 is coming, you know it’s important, and you know the benefits it will bring, but you still have concerns. How will you efficiently roll out this new OS, and what if users require new hardware to take full advantage of the features? Can you easily deploy new PCs at the same time?

We’ve been spending the last couple years helping customers through the various stages of their migrations with services designed to make the journey easier:

  1. Client Deployment Assessment – We assess your current IT practices, make recommendations and help develop an actionable plan for adopting Windows 10.
  2. ProDeploy Client Suite – Once the plan is in place, you can reduce deployment time for new client systems up to 35 percent2 with Dell experts who will manage configuration and installation.
  3. PC as a Service – We combine hardware, software, PC lifecycle services and financing into one all-encompassing solution that provides you with a single price per seat per month.

Summary: The Time Is Now

Change is coming and we are here to help. I look forward to continuing my conversations with IT managers and hearing how things are progressing as they make this shift. With the right plan and the right partner, January 14th, 2020 is not just the deadline for migrating to Windows 10, it’s also the beginning of your transformation towards modern IT management.

Sources

1 Windows 10 Embracing Silicon Innovation
2 May 2016 Principled Technologies Report commissioned by Dell EMC. Testing results extrapolated from a 10-system deployment to project time savings for larger deployment compared to in-house manual deployment. Actual results will vary.

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