Greetings from the trenches! My name is Sandy Wood and I'm a network administrator for the Orange County District Attorney's office in Southern California.


What I do


My primary job is to manage and support our fleet of 950 or so Windows workstations and 30 Windows servers. This covers everything from updating software, performance monitoring, alert management as well as second level Help Desk support.


The tools I use the most in my day to day activities are Microsoft SMS Server 2003 and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007. These tools are indispensable in our daily jobs to keep our systems running smoothly and up to date.



vPro What?



Earlier this year, while attending a Microsoft Management conference, I stopped by the Intel booth and learned about vPro technology. Boy, what an eye opener for a management geek! This could really be system management nirvana! Since we were in the beginning stages of planning for the replacement our entire PC fleet, I called my boss and told him he had to make sure that our next systems had vPro technology. This was going to revolutionize the way we managed our systems from deployment to software updating to day-to-day support.



Why Should You Care?



Well, fast forward to today and we're just beginning to receive our first new systems. Brand, spanking new HP systems with, yes, you guessed it, Vpro with AMT 3.0! Everyone watched while we opened and unpacked the first system box. After my big vPro sales pitch, management was keen to see all the great new bells and whistles that vPro and AMT were sure to bring us. Before I go into just how cool it all worked and how cool I looked doing it, I thought it would be instructive to blog the actual steps (and missteps) I took in planning and deploying AMT in a real world situation, warts and all.



This is why you should care - if you're getting ready to deploy AMT or are just interested in the technology, this may (I hope) offer a glimpse into what it will take to get AMT rolling in your world. Reading the manuals is good and I highly recommend it however, nothing beats a real step by step walk through with real situations to give you a feel for the product and its potential.



What's Next?



The next step for me will be the planning phase. Although most of us love to just get out there and run setup, planning before you deply AMT in your environment will truly pay off for you. AMT has a lot of pieces and features that you're going to want to sit down and do a bit of thinking about before running setup. Trust me; you'll be glad you did.



Well, I'm finishing up my planning and will be back here soon with another installment of Life in the Trenches as I run down just what I did to plan for AMT deployment in my environment.



Stay tuned and as always, your comments and questions are welcome!