Vista desktops to relieve admin pain

Windows Vista is likely to be the biggest transformation to the enterprise desktop since XP's appearance five years ago, but IT managers should find managing large installations much less painful, according to one Microsoft partner.

Corey Hynes, president of Florida-based consultancy HynesITe, told a large gathering of IT professionals at this year's Tech.Ed conference in Sydney on Wednesday that Windows Vista has a new architecture more suitable for enterprise deployments.

Hynes acknowledged a lot of desktop administrators have "gone through the pain" of managing text files and configuring Windows XP and 2000 desktops, but Vista is "quite a bit different" for large deployments, because Microsoft has reengineered everything it could.

"Vista is a major change in the way the operating system is packaged and installed; it's one 2.5GB file called Install.wim," Hynes said. "That is Vista fully installed and it comes with new tools and technologies based on XML."

Hynes said there was not a lot of knowledge on how to deploy operating system images within large enterprises, but with tools like Business Desktop Deployment (BDD), now it's "almost a product" with "lite" and zero-touch options.

"Most deployments are done with tools like Ghost, which take an image of the disk, whereas a wim file is a file-based image of the disk," Hynes said. "It is a copy of every file on the partition so it is a nondestructive deployment."