Dell's Kace systems management subsidiary has announced an update to its K2000 Deployment Appliance that adds further features to help customers planning a Windows 7 migration, specifically to speed the turnaround of migrations and improve reliability.
Available from 10 December, version 3.3 of Dell Kace's software will ship pre-loaded on new K2000 network appliances, while existing customers with a maintenance contract will be able to upgrade at the click of a button.
The new features cut the time taken for an automated migration from XP to Windows 7 down to as little as 20 minutes per system in the case of one pilot customer in the US, according to Kace.
"One of the top issues for customers right now is Windows 7 migrations and the difficulties involved in just preparing to move the entire organisation across," said Larry Stein, senior marketing director for Dell Kace.
The K2000 update delivers three chief new features, according to the firm: policy-based user state migration, offline migration and direct driver feeds.
Policy-based user state migration allows administrators to set polices governing the user data that will be preserved during the migration process.
"So you can decide not to migrate iTunes or any iTunes music libraries, for example, and let your staff know that only the contents of specific folders will be moved across," said Stein.
The second feature, offline migration, uses wake-on-LAN to boot systems remotely, so that migration can be performed outside office hours. It automatically backs up user data as necessary, before deploying a pre-defined Windows 7 image and restoring the user data again.
"When your users leave for the day, the administrator can kick off the migration and have it proceed without disruption," explained Stein.
Finally, direct driver feeds is an update to the way the K2000 appliances handle drivers for the target systems.
A new driver feed from Dell Kace supplies the latest drivers, and these are now organised into separate folders for specific hardware types.
"So there is no need to do a manual look-up for drivers required for each model of computer," Stein said.
The K2000 also includes tools for a full hardware inventory, enabling IT departments to identify systems that may need upgrading or replacing before Windows 7 is rolled out.
Pricing for the new K2000 appliance, which is a 1U rack-mount chassis, starts at £3,250 for the entry-level model designed to handle between 100 and 3,000 nodes.
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