Operating system software

ERM uses Nomad to accelerate Windows 7 roll-out

Cliff Saran

Sustainability consultancy ERM has used a combination of 1E's Nomad Enterprise software and Microsoft’s ConfigMgr platform to distribute Windows 7 in a matter of hours.

The company is rolling out Windows 7 and has been using the 1E product to distribute operating system (OS) images and patch updates to hundreds of locations worldwide without disrupting network bandwidth.

ERM previously configured PCs to download patches directly from Microsoft, but to prevent network jams on "patch day" the consultancy had to restrict patch downloads.

“Nomad allows us to distribute patches and OS images without any consequence," said Ian Golding, group CTO at ERM. "Since it uses its own download mechanism, which minimises the amount of data sent across the WAN and only uses spare capacity, it doesn’t cause bandwidth constraints or affect user productivity. We now have very little overhead on WAN links and we save significant amounts of time.”

Windows 8

Golding said ERM was very keen to look at Windows 8, although it will not be rolling out Microsoft’s next OS, since it is in the middle of deploying Windows 7. 

“If we were not in the middle of a Windows 7 roll-out, Windows 8 would be preferable," he said. 

"Given the large burden of global upgrades and the fact that our users wouldn’t appreciate another overhaul or refresh so soon after this one, I don’t see us rolling out Windows 8 for some time.”

Previously, ERM would spend seven days or more distributing new OS images across its offices. "With Nomad, it takes just 24 hours on average, depending on connection speeds at each office location,” said Tim Edwards, group IT software deployment lead at ERM.

The company also uses Nomad Enterprise to distribute all of its applications, including larger ones such as imaging or modelling software. Using the software from 1E, ERM is able to distribute 20-25 packages every month, from scripts to software deployments and patches.

“Using the old method, it would take us around five days to send a software package across the network,” said Edwards.

The Nomad software provides peer-to-peer distribution of software, using bandwidth management, to minimise disruption. It is used in software deployments to distribute large software packages across networks. 

The company said it holds the world record for deploying Windows 7: 39,000 PCs in one month – a task that would have taken several months using alternative approaches.


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