Systems must be configured and maintained to operate properly and to serve your business according to its needs. Most businesses rely on at least some software applications as well. If you only have a few applications and systems to install and maintain, then you may not have considered automated deployment options. We refer to them as options because you don’t have to implement a full blown deployment system to begin utilizing deployment technologies.

Benefits and Considerations

There are a number of deployment options available that vary widely in cost, level of interaction, and disruption to your business.  Factors you should consider include your level of technical experience with deployment frameworks, amount of time that will be saved with different deployment methods, your IT infrastructure, your licensing agreements, and whether or not the benefits outweigh the cost for implementing the solution.

The level of interaction for deployments varies on a range from completely manual (high touch) to fully automated with no involvement (zero touch).  Of course, the least interaction and least impact to business is usually the goal.

The benefits of deployment can be fully realized when installing operating systems.  Manual installation of an OS can be very time consuming and requires entering information at different points.  If you’re not in front of the system when the information is needed, it just waits.  For many businesses, manual installation just isn’t practical.  Additionally, automating the deployment provides for consistency in adhering to your company standards as well as avoiding mistakes due to human error.

Similar to OS deployments, any other software installation can be improved and made more efficient through a deployment framework.  Can you imagine installing an application suite like Microsoft Office by hand on 100 computers?  What about 1000 computers or more?  Using a deployment system not only saves you time, but allows you to customize the installation at the same time.  “Packaging” the software in this way gives the ability to remove components from the install as well as bundle additional applications in with the installation.  A great benefit to software deployment is that the installation can occur silently without impacting the user.

Even if you don’t have a lot of applications to install, there’s always the need to maintain your operating systems and applications with patches and updates.  This along with configuration changes can be accomplished through your deployment system.

Quick Takeaway
There are a number of deployment tools available that range from freely available or included in the technology you’re using to those that cost but provide greater functionality and control. If you have a small number of systems, the cost for expensive deployment tools may not be justified but the time spent setting up freely available tools certainly can be. We can help you weigh the options and implement a solution that’s right for you and your business.