RES Software has introduced a free cloud-based service that audits IT infrastructure and generates reports on the hardware and software being used, providing vital information for organisations planning projects such as a Windows 7 migration.
The service uses a lightweight executable to gather information from each customer PC, but does the heavy lifting via a back-end service hosted on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform to analyse the data and generate reports.
Grant Tiller, senior product manager at RES, explained that Baseline Desktop Analyser allows organisations to get a better idea of the hardware and software making up their IT estate, and also how it is being used.
"IT departments tend to find that what users are working with is often very different to what they were supplied with," he said.
The Desktop Sampler executable is only about 100KB in size, but must be run on every PC in an organisation. This can be done by manually putting it in the Windows startup folder, or using a log-in script to automate deployment. RES provides instructions for this procedure.
Customers need to run the Desktop Sampler in the background for a while, in order to get a good picture of the applications being used, before uploading the file from each PC to the cloud using a browser.
The results are provided as a set of PDF files, covering Hardware Inventory, Application Landscape, User Population, Location layout and Printing Topology.
Tiller said that Baseline Desktop Analyser will enable IT departments to see which applications should be prioritised when migrating to Windows 7, for example, and which may no longer be required.
While the service is being provided for free, RES will be hoping that such a useful tool raises the company's profile, and drives uptake of its paid products such as Workspace Manager.
This allows users to keep their desktop settings when migrating to a new operating system or to a new delivery method such as virtual desktop infrastructure.
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