Choosing the right deployment strategy for Windows 7 Desktop Deployment (opens in new tab) is the key as it can lead to success or disaster at the end of the deployment cycle. Microsoft has defined and recommended four different types of strategies that can be adopted by businesses depending upon their size, IT Skill level within the organization, cost factor, tools required, etc. The naming convention of the strategies has been derived from the amount and level of manual tasks that need to be performed during the deployment.
High-Touch With Retail Media: The name (High-Touch) indicates that there is a high level of manual work involved with this kind of deployment. This particular strategy involves a lot of manual operations which includes manual installation of the Windows 7 operating system on each computer system through the retail installation DVD and subsequent configurations. Microsoft indicates that this particular strategy suites companies with no or very small IT expertise at their disposal. The ideal size of a network on which a High-touch with Retail media strategy can be adopted would be approximately about 100 computer systems or less.
This particular strategy is well suited for companies with small and/or distributed networks with no or very less central control over the systems. The Windows Automated Installation Kit (opens in new tab) (Windows AIK) would be useful in this kind of deployment.
High-Touch With Standard Image: This is the second type of deployment strategy recommended by Microsoft and again it falls under the manual operations scenario. The main difference here is that the company would use an operating system image which has the application configuration and necessary customisations as required by the company. Companies with at least one IT Professional may adopt this strategy and is well suited for 100-200 client systems.
Organisations with a more or less structured network with standard configurations across the computing systems can opt for this image based strategy. The tools that may be used along with this deployment strategy are Windows AIK, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (opens in new tab) (MDT) 2010 and Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.5.
Lite-Touch, High-Volume Deployment: As the name indicates, this particular strategy of deployment involves only a limited manual intervention and that too at the beginning of the deployment. The rest of the process from there on is automated and well suited for organisations with a dedicated IT staff.
With a dedicated IT Staff and managed networks, this deployment strategy serves the bests for organisations with about 200-500 client computer systems. The different tools that can be utilised under this strategy include VL Media, Windows AIK, MDT 2010, Microsoft Assessment & Planning Toolkit and Windows Deployment Services.
Zero-Touch, High Volume Deployment: With the Configuration Manager 2007 (opens in new tab) R2 in place, this particular deployment doesn’t require any manual intervention and hence the name zero-touch. This particular strategy is only recommended for organisations with more than 500 client computers and a dedicated team of IT experts.
Companies with large scale managed networks along with multiple windows based servers and full fledged inventory of tools may opt for this particular method of deployment. Tools that may be used for this deployment strategy include Windows AIK, Configuration Manager 2007 R2, Windows Deployment Services (opens in new tab) among others.