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NOMAD ENTERPRISE AND MICROSOFT CONFIGURATION MANAGER 2012

STILL BETTER TOGETHER

MARK BLACKBURN 1E

JULY 2011

ABSTRACT: This whitepaper describes the cost savings that can be realized by using Nomad Enterprise v4.0 with Microsoft Configuration Manager 2012.

All rights reserved. No part of this document shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without permission from 1E. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this document, 1E and the authors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is liability assumed for damages resulting from the information contained herein. The 1E name is a registered trademark of 1E in the UK, US and EC. The 1E logo is a registered trademark of 1E in the UK, EC and under the Madrid protocol. NightWatchman is a registered trademark in the US and EU.

Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................................................... 3 Faster and lower cost deployment ............................................................................................................................... 3 Windows XP environments....................................................................................................................................... 3 Large numbers of branches ...................................................................................................................................... 3 Distribution point selection ...................................................................................................................................... 4 Network Planning ..................................................................................................................................................... 4 Lowering operational costs........................................................................................................................................... 5 Managing change ..................................................................................................................................................... 5 Distribution point management ............................................................................................................................... 5 Disk space management ........................................................................................................................................... 5 Central Multicast ...................................................................................................................................................... 6 Reducing Windows 7 migration costs ........................................................................................................................... 6 Automation of Windows 7 migration ....................................................................................................................... 6 Local multicast .......................................................................................................................................................... 6 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................................................ 6

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Introduction
Microsoft Configuration Manager 2012 (ConfigMgr) is a significant release including enhancements across almost all aspects of the solution while adding a new user centric management model amongst other innovations. There are substantial improvements in Content Management over ConfigMgr 2007, with most of the new features adding value to the combined ConfigMgr and Nomad Enterprise solution. Microsoft and 1Es long standing partnership continues to thrive. 1E has 16 million software licenses deployed on PCs running the ConfigMgr client. Microsoft and 1E continually share roadmaps, planning strategies and technical insights so that 1Es solutions can continue to add value to System Center customers. Nomad Enterprise has already saved our shared clients over $500m through server reduction. In this document we describe how Nomad Enterprise continues to add value to ConfigMgr 2012.

Faster and lower cost deployment


Windows XP environments
ConfigMgr 2012 distribution points (including client OS based ones on Vista SP2 and above) now include simple bandwidth throttling and scheduling of distributions that works with BranchCache in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 environments so that if the remote Distribution Point (DP) fails then clients can still retrieve content from their peers. Nomad Enterprise extends these benefits to branch environments with Windows XP workstations (and above) but no servers, allowing a single dynamic peer-to-peer distribution mechanism across your entire PC estate, and giving you the ability to rapidly migrate to Windows 7 without having to provision and deploy remote servers. Nomads dynamic bandwidth throttling ensures that content is delivered rapidly whilst guaranteeing zero impact to business usage of the WAN.

Large numbers of branches


ConfigMgr2012 supports a much higher client count per site requiring fewer sites than an equivalent ConfigMgr 2007 implementation; however a larger client count needs more DPs. Nomad Enterprise retrieves packages from central DPs to a single client on each subnet and simultaneously deploys them to the branch by peer-to-peer distribution, removing the need for a secondary site layer. Reducing server numbers directly reduces costs and time to deploy. In very large environments, removal of a hierarchy level also makes replication and speed of deployment of updates and applications faster.

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Distribution point selection


ConfigMgr 2012 remote DPs must still be manually selected and managed; they must have spare capacity so the user of the workstation is not disrupted, must be running the right OS, and have enough disk space to contain all of the packages for the branch. You also need to ensure that they are always available (i.e. never turned off or allowed to sleep). In large organizations significant preparation time is required to identify workstations or servers in branches which can serve as remote DPs Nomad Enterprise dynamically elects the best peer at a branch to act as the master for each package, completely removing the work required to identify and manage specific remote DPs.

Network Planning
The simple bandwidth throttling and scheduling in ConfigMgr 2012 can be used to attempt to reduce the impact of network contention caused by software distribution traffic, but it requires additional work to analyze the network and decide on appropriate throttle values, and then to configure this for each distribution point individually. It also results in slower deployments and there is additional work required to keep up to date with changes to the network infrastructure. Nomad Enterprise automatically and continually scales data transfer speed, using only a percentage of the end-toend available bandwidth. When there is little use of the WAN link (which is the usual case) this produces much faster deployments. When any other application needs bandwidth Nomad Enterprise automatically backs off to maintain business responsiveness. Not having to plan for available network bandwidth to each branch minimizes the planning and deployment effort. Furthermore there is no need to consider further changes across the network as Nomad Enterprise continually revaluates for optimal performance.

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Lowering operational costs


Managing change
Large branch environments are constantly in a state of flux; subnets are reconfigured, available network bandwidth changes, shared servers are rebuilt, workstations and servers are upgraded and other solutions are being implemented. Nomad Enterprise dynamically assesses the download point and network speed automatically optimizing content distribution. Network, server, desktop, application and security teams often have different schedules and priorities, and changes are always being made. By automatically adapting to change, Nomad Enterprise reduces the management overhead significantly.

Distribution point management


Remote DPs have to be continually managed to ensure they are powered on and have sufficient capacity. Any issues which can stop distribution need to be resolved quickly and troubleshooting is complex as it involves many disparate components. In distributed environments it is operationally difficult to maintain strict control of all workstations and servers acting as DPs, as people and other services are using the same hardware. Servers and workstations are switched off, new services are installed, and even OS upgrades are performed without consultation with every service owner Nomad Enterprise automatically fails over to the next best machine should the current package master fail (be switched off, drop off the network, become unresponsive etc.). Status messages are sent from the package master for each package distribution, including percentage of download complete. Self-remediation and error logging to a single file further ease troubleshooting which has a significant positive impact on operational costs. The dynamic nature of Nomad Enterprise completely removes the need for DP management overhead.

Disk space management


The increase in both the size and number of packages over time has resulted in package source repositories in large organizations being hundreds of gigabytes in size. ConfigMgr 2012 includes single instance storage which helps when there are multiple packages that use the same files. Using Workstation class hardware for DPs can cause issues with disk space management, even with todays larger hard disk sizes and especially on older hardware, and it therefore incurs a manual management overhead. Nomad Enterprise automatically selects the best peer with available disk space for distribution per package which greatly expands the amount of free disk space available for deployment. Automatic cache management ensures that old and redundant packages are cleared and the use of hard links minimizes file redundancy and ensures efficiency of storage. Replacing manual tasks being performed at each branch with automation reduces the overhead by 1 to 8 hours per month per branch, fewer people are needed to manage the infrastructure, and failures of content distribution due to lack of disk space are eliminated.

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Central Multicast
As OS image and other package size increases, multicast is becoming more important to preserve core bandwidth and reduce the number of servers. Some organizations also want to use ConfigMgr to distribute video/multimedia content such as staff training and executive announcements. Nomad Enterprise can use central multicast so that only a single stream of data is sent from head office to some or all branches simultaneously. ConfigMgr customers can avoid significant network device upgrades and implement fewer servers by using Nomad Enterprise within ConfigMgr to multicast data. Senior executives want to communicate with all staff using multimedia and this capability is enabled at the lowest cost.

Reducing Windows 7 migration costs


Automation of Windows 7 migration
When migrating to a new OS or rebuilding a PC in break/fix cases, you need to either pay for factory image installation of the OS, use on-site build engineers across all remote environments, or configure automated bare metal provisioning. Having an automated solution yields the lowest costs. ConfigMgr 2012 supports bare metal provisioning, however it is dependent on a Windows Server 2008 R2 server running Windows Deployment Services (WDS) for Pre-boot eXecution Environment (PXE) network boot services. Nomad Enterprises PXELite feature enables bare metal boot for OS migration or rebuild without the need for a dedicated server. With a combination of ConfigMgr 2012, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and Nomad Enterprise, all build scenarios including bare metal are automated so factory imaging or build engineers are not needed desk side, thereby reducing costs.

Local multicast
Most OS migrations target multiple PCs at a time, since it is often easier to manage the process by tackling it location by location. In these instances there is the requirement to copy large amounts of data (an OS image is usually several gigabytes in size) across the LAN multiple times (once for each PC being migrated). This can end up taking a very long time and limit the rate at which PCs can be migrated. This extends the time it takes to complete migration across the PC fleet and therefore increases cost. Nomad Enterprise can use local multicast to send data from one peer to many or all machines in the branch simultaneously. The image is transferred once across the network vastly increasing the rate at which PCs can be migrated without requiring any change to network infrastructure. Deploying faster reduces the time to roll out the new OS across the organization and therefore greatly decreases the overall cost of the project.

Conclusion
Whilst the improvements made in ConfigMgr 2012 greatly improve many aspects of the product, Nomad Enterprise can continue to add value for software distribution and Operating System Deployment (OSD) in many areas, resulting in faster and lower cost software deployments, lowering on-going operational costs, and increasing the speed and lowering the cost of Windows 7 migration.

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