Standarlize Desktop Computer (Part 1)

4/16/2012 8:21:16 AM

Creating a ‘gold-standard’ desktop computer to announce to all staff can mean lower cost, tighter security, and smoother run.


IT department are frequently at the front of organization’s technology innovation – but it is not always the same. When mentioning definition of a standard desktop computer – essential installation of all staff includes operating system, apps, hardware driver, and set of security apps – IT moves with snail’s speed.

Charles King, Pund-IT’s analyzer, said that companies often lived with old software because it worked quite well for their needs, and because they did not want to bear the cost of upgrade to the latest version in this regressive era.

Description: Standarlize Desktop Computer (Part 1)

After that are politic matters. Core users can resist the change and it is likely that IT dare not force so as to avoid conflict with influential staff in this difficult economy time.

But at this time, it seems that the snail is moving more quickly. Using standard desktop computer has become the best habit. In Gartner’s 2010’s investigation on 300 IT staff at big companies, 50% of attendees said that they would restrict business computer.

An impulsive influence behind the effort to standardize is worry of security. IT can cause situation that bag apps can disrupt network, or old apps have bugs that hackers can exploit.

Another factor is the appearance of virtualization that helps it more easily be standardized. Many companies are using virtualization tools to create a ‘gold standard’ – a desktop computer launched to all final users.

IT managers limiting desktop computer said that the strategy could lead to lower cost and smoother run. King takes into account the ‘common mix’ in the way to organize software process and operational budget process. A standard desktop computer forces IT to think of deploy strategy, and if processed correctly, it will reduce a number of desktop computers that are accepted to one or two.

However, according to King, some companies struggle with standardization opinion because they want to give staff the flexibility in working way. There are many ways allowing flexibility with standardized desktop computers, including allowing staff to select tools from an app library approved beforehand, or allowing staff to request new tool from IT.

However, regardless of what you do, some final users will bend rules, or break rules by downloading specific software.

In that case, King suggested ‘if the app is quite good, just note that download is not approved, explain reason and let staff remove it from operating system. In addition, creating a judge mechanism for staff to submit app to ask for consideration / approval can be a good way for organizations to learn about new technologies and reward staff for their ideas’.

The following is the way that 3 IT organizations limit desktop computer while providing some flexibility for staff.

St. Luke’s Health System: standard with flexibility

Consistency throughout a big organization can be difficult to get. With ten places throughout Idaho, St. Luke’s Health System is extremely careful of its standard desktop computers. For infrastructure manager Eric Johnson, an important objective is give doctors and other staff flexibility around the hardware they can use – allowing them to select from an approved equipment list – and places where they can work in the hospital.

While transferring from Novell to Microsoft for supportive program, we have a vacant candidate list,’ said Johnson. The organization decided to transfer from system-based app downloads to user-based app downloads. In other words, the final user can select from approved software library that they download by themselves.

Description: St. Luke’s Health System: standard with flexibility

That he said this leads to considerable time saving, so IT staff are free to focus on controlling library rather than performing disposable app installation. He said the most considerable challenge is related to apps that have not been present at store, but a certain department may need; IT staff have to process this challenge based on every case.

St. Luke use‘s Beyond Trust app virtualization software named PowerBroker Desktops. The mechanism bases on the rule of uninstalling administrative privilege from user’s desktop computer, so that this person cannot install app, and it keeps track of erroneous installations that did not finished in right way. A control panel looks like other data centre tools of Microsoft.

Johnson said that his team uses PowerBroker to manage about 8,000 desktop computers in 90 buildings. He said St. Luke used Windows XP SP3, Office 2007, Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Citrix client app, and Microsoft Live Meeting as the core of its standard desktop computer.

A new staff will be added to many groups if appropriate – such as advertising, marketing, and general executive groups. With each group, staff can download many apps from the approved list, and there is file permit to access network server for these apps, and configure some local options such as IE tools and Outlook menu.

Another challenge at St. Luke and most companies processing standard desktop computers is related to versioning. Organizations use a core image for the original operating system and apps, and it often attach with a version in a long time. However, Johnson said that his organization manage about 22 different versions of Java via app virtualization – and this is against including Java in standard desktop computer.

By virtualization, St. Luke’s IT staff can remove in-appropriation among apps using Java. For example, they can determine that standard desktop computer for accounting department always needs a special plug-in Java. However, they keep similar key point and provide Java versions if necessary in addition to standard desktop computer

One of the lessons Johnson has learnt is avoiding changing standard desktop computer – even for IT staff. ‘Less than 1% of our IT staff has administrative right. But we give everyone place to wander. We do not say ‘you cannot use that app’. We are happy to provide it, provided that we can provide it in a virtual way for any staff,’ explained he.

St. Luke is rather extraordinary in limiting administrative privilege, even for IT staff. Ed Boyle, a consultant of SecurityCurve, said this strategy made enterprises safer. In the long term, it is ‘the amount of money saved thanks to less security matter in general.’

  •  Paul Allen: In technology, management is not the promotion
  •  Apple may soon have a new competitor
  •  Apple, Google to meet with Schumer over privacy concerns
  •  A brief history of transforming robots (Part 2)
  •  A brief history of transforming robots (Part 1)
  •  Computing Dictionary (April – 2012)
  •  The giant of Cambridgeshire (Part 4) - Processor and cores
  •  The giant of Cambridgeshire (Part 3) - Architecture development & A semiconductor IP supplier
  •  The giant of Cambridgeshire (Part 2) - The RISC philosophy
  •  The giant of Cambridgeshire (Part 1)
  •  UK tech skills crisis
  •  Graham Barlow: the Apple view
  •  Graham Morrison: The advocate
  •  Cars 2.0 : Hacking by hi-fi & Playing catch-up
  •  Automated cities : App development & Urban OS in the UK
  •  Searching for Google’s future (Part4) - Smarter search
  •  Searching for Google’s future (Part 3) - Gene genie
  •  Searching for Google’s future (Part 2) - Playing a long game & Mobile money
  •  Searching for Google’s future (Part 1) - Taking the tablets
  •  Small Business Development Centers - Assistance For Entrepreneurs
    Top 10
    Nikon 1 J2 With Stylish Design And Dependable Image And Video Quality
    Canon Powershot D20 - Super-Durable Waterproof Camera
    Fujifilm Finepix F800EXR – Another Excellent EXR
    Sony NEX-6 – The Best Compact Camera
    Teufel Cubycon 2 – An Excellent All-In-One For Films
    Dell S2740L - A Beautifully Crafted 27-inch IPS Monitor
    Philips 55PFL6007T With Fantastic Picture Quality
    Philips Gioco 278G4 – An Excellent 27-inch Screen
    Sony VPL-HW50ES – Sony’s Best Home Cinema Projector
    Windows Vista : Installing and Running Applications - Launching Applications
    Most View
    Bamboo Splash - Powerful Specs And Friendly Interface
    Powered By Windows (Part 2) - Toshiba Satellite U840 Series, Philips E248C3 MODA Lightframe Monitor & HP Envy Spectre 14
    MSI X79A-GD65 8D - Power without the Cost
    Canon EOS M With Wonderful Touchscreen Interface (Part 1)
    Windows Server 2003 : Building an Active Directory Structure (part 1) - The First Domain
    Personalize Your iPhone Case
    Speed ​​up browsing with a faster DNS
    Using and Configuring Public Folder Sharing
    Extending the Real-Time Communications Functionality of Exchange Server 2007 : Installing OCS 2007 (part 1)
    Google, privacy & you (Part 1)
    iPhone Application Development : Making Multivalue Choices with Pickers - Understanding Pickers
    Microsoft Surface With Windows RT - Truly A Unique Tablet
    Network Configuration & Troubleshooting (Part 1)
    Panasonic Lumix GH3 – The Fastest Touchscreen-Camera (Part 2)
    Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2005 : FOR XML Commands (part 3) - OPENXML Enhancements in SQL Server 2005
    Exchange Server 2010 : Track Exchange Performance (part 2) - Test the Performance Limitations in a Lab
    Extra Network Hardware Round-Up (Part 2) - NAS Drives, Media Center Extenders & Games Consoles
    Windows Server 2003 : Planning a Host Name Resolution Strategy - Understanding Name Resolution Requirements
    Google’s Data Liberation Front (Part 2)
    Datacolor SpyderLensCal (Part 1)