A while back here on our TechGenix website, I talked about some alternative products you can use for building and deploying Windows images instead of using the usual array of Microsoft tools like MDT, Intune, ConfigMgr, etc. One of the solutions I raved about at that time was SmartDeploy, which I referred to in my article as “MDT on steroids.” Since that time, I’ve grown more interested in deploying Windows directly from the cloud to on-premises PCs and other devices. As a result, I decided to take another look at SmartDeploy to see what they offered in this area.
I wasn’t disappointed. It turns out that SmartDeploy offers a very robust and compelling solution for deploying Windows and applications to any device anywhere, even from the cloud, and they were happy to demo their cloud OS deployment solution with me using Microsoft Teams. And to help our TechGenix readers grasp what their amazing product can do, the team of people at SmartDeploy has assisted me by creating a brief walkthrough for us on their product’s capabilities for deploying Windows 10 from the cloud, something that COVID-19 has made highly desirable and even absolutely necessary for many enterprises.
Why deploy Windows from the cloud?
SmartDeploy is a modern endpoint management solution designed to manage any device, anywhere, and with any technical skillset.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many users are working from home, and IT has had to quickly shift endpoint management strategy on the fly. IT is facing new challenges in managing remote endpoints, and ease-of-use and reliable cloud deployment services are more vital than ever.
By using SmartDeploy, an IT technician can manage remote endpoints seamlessly and in a familiar way. For example, after COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates were ordered, a 250-employee company replaced desktops with laptops. Instead of the typically lengthy process (of having laptops shipped to the office, sending an IT technician on-site to provision the laptops, and then coordinating delivery and/or pickup with hundreds of employees), the laptops were shipped directly to the employees’ homes. Then, the IT technician used SmartDeploy to remotely provision the new laptops by pushing Windows images, applications, user data, and custom scripts from the company’s cloud storage account.
As remote work continues in perpetuity, businesses must find reliable solutions that support a fluid environment and give IT the flexibility needed to address many planned and unplanned scenarios. SmartDeploy proves to be one of these solutions with the first and only cloud-based deployment and endpoint service platform.
Features and capabilities
SmartDeploy’s many deployment methods (USB, PXE, network, and especially cloud) give IT the flexibility to manage endpoints wherever they are — on- or off-network in a local office, branch office, home office, or hotel room — and connected through a wired or wireless connection. VPN connectivity is not required.
In the past 12 months, SmartDeploy has been used to deploy Windows 10 to tens of thousands of computers from the cloud. With out-of-the-box integration with Box, DropBox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, SmartDeploy’s cloud deployment service allows users to deploy Windows, applications, and driver updates to remote endpoints without needing a VPN connection. Cloud deployment works like other SmartDeploy capabilities, built into simple wizards allowing for easy ramp up and management of remote endpoints over the cloud, without any scripting required.
For this reason and others, technicians of any skill level are immediately productive with nearly every aspect of the solution. Multiple people in IT can perform any computer service need, including Windows migrations, new hardware provisioning, and software deployment, including Microsoft 365 deployments. IT gets immediate coverage for major projects, to respond to a crisis or colleague vacations.
A subscription to SmartDeploy includes access to a sizable library of device driver packages (Platform Packs) created and maintained by the SmartDeploy team. Customers get the freedom to manage one golden image that can be deployed to any business-class computer model in the organization. IT can now focus on the job of pushing software and applications to devices.
From the device driver library that supports more than 1,500 computer models to out-of-the-box cloud integration, SmartDeploy maximizes deployment flexibility and eliminates driver pain commonly associated with imaging.
Flexible deployment options are imperative as the workforce evolves, and more organizations adopt increasingly fluid remote working policies. For IT, that means adopting a modern desktop management solution like SmartDeploy that can seamlessly support a global enterprise with on-site, remote, and off-hours user support. As flexible work location seems to be an increasingly permanent new normal, greater emphasis is put on the availability of and productivity from the business desktop. And in that new normal, SmartDeploy stands alone in democratizing cloud delivery of the desktop for enterprise IT.
The following series of screenshots illustrate some of the capabilities of SmartDeploy that make deploying Windows from the cloud easy.
SmartDeploy’s simple wizard-driven interface guides technicians through the deployment process:
You can manage computer endpoints, wherever they are with the SmartDeploy console:
SmartDeploy features out-of-the-box integration with Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive:
SmartDeploy’s simple wizards are intuitive with industry best practices built-in throughout:
SmartDeploy streamlines deployment of applications, like Microsoft 365:
More than 1,500 Platform Packs are created, maintained, and updated by SmartDeploy technicians. Simply search for the business-class device you want, download, and deploy:
These Platform Packs include everything needed to make the device work, and IT can also make customizations or install model-specific software as needed:
For more information on SmartDeploy
For more information about SmartDeploy, visit their website. There’s also a quick walkthrough of their solution’s cloud deployment capabilities on YouTube. I have a feeling that after reading this article and watching the videos, you’ll want to consider using SmartDeploy for any future cloud OS deployments you have planned for your organization. I know I’ll be looking at it for this purpose in the future. And no, I don’t hold any stock in their company — I just like my IT work to be easy, don’t you?
Featured image: Shutterstock