The Microsoft IT environment is probably one of the most complicated and rapidly changing environments you will find. Dealing with 190,000 plus users, all with their own administration rights is a challenge in itself. When you add the extra complexity of rolling out a new operating system you quickly realise that IT operations isn’t for the faint hearted.

Our corporate IT team are on the leading edge of deploying Microsoft technology to our own in-house users. They successfully rolled out Windows 7 to 84,000 clients within 2 months of the release. That’s 1400 users deployed per day!  They also have a role of documenting the processes and experiences, and publishing them for our customers to learn from.

The story of how Microsoft deployed Windows 7 internally is online now, and here are some of the nuggets:

  • The team focused on providing a self-install process for non-technical users (I did my own!)
  • Simultaneously, they wanted to reduce help-desk calls
  • Many of the home or remote workers were able to deploy from a USB memory stick
  • Used virtualisation technology found in MDOP for Adobe and Office pilots
  • They had to support 46 types of laptops, and 22 types of desktops - and offer 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows
  • Data security was increased by rolling out BitLocker Drive Encryption and DirectAccess at the same time
  • And they had to test 1,500 applications for compatibility

Also, do remember that Microsoft and CESG have worked together on a collaborative project to produce a best practice framework for configuring Windows 7 for its use within UK Government, taking account of the increased threat and risk that a government department faces. This guidance is called the Government Assurance Pack (GAP) for Windows 7. The GAP provides a common starting point for departments or their system integrators to build a more secure workstation environment. The configuration is primarily aimed at central government departments however its guidance can be adapted to suit the range of threat scenarios faced across UK government. As the GAP uses the configuration of existing capabilities within Windows 7, it is fully supported by Microsoft.

Posted by Dan