OS Automation Survey Results – Automation Solutions


aaronparkercircledGuest post by Aaron Parker. Whether you’re delivering Windows to physical or virtual desktops a consistent deployment and configuration of a Windows image and applications is a key part of delivering a great user experience. That means automating the deployment of Windows.

So far we’ve covered which hypervisors are in use, which virtual desktops platforms are running on those hypervisors and how automation is used in the creation of your master images or whether it’s being used at all. In this article we’ll take a look at which products or solutions are used to automate the creation of those images.

Automation Solutions

For this question, unfortunately the number of completed responses has dropped off significantly and we have 478 responses from which to draw some idea of what people are using to create their master images. Multiple responses were allowed and here’s what we got:


RES should be happy to see RES ONE Automation register highly in this list; although I need to correlate the data to where respondents are located. It would be interest to see whether this usage is evenly spread across regions.

Custom Scripted Solutions

Take a look at how high “Custom scripted solution” usage is though. I had not expected to see custom solutions to register as high as this. 45.8% represents 219 respondents – within that 219, some are using a custom scripted solution along-side other tools, while 89 respondents are using a custom scripted solution only.

Holy cow! Who writes a custom scripted solution to create master images? That’s insane!

OK, I shouldn’t be so rash – there are valid reasons and if you are one of the 89, or are using a custom solution in your environment we’d love to know the reasons why.

Looking at the environments using a custom scripted solution only, we can look at the user counts in these environments:

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Larger environments may have the resources to implement and maintain a custom solution; however it’s surprising to see the number of smaller environments with custom solutions.

With the flexibility and standard framework available in MDT, there should be less need to maintain a custom solution. MDT will be easier to maintain and enables you to take advantage of the rich community resources available around MDT. I can’t recommend it enough as the basis for your reference or master images.


If we dig into Others we asked respondents to tell us the tools they are utilizing. This shows a pretty wide range of tools in use.

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There’s a few here that I’d like to call out:

+ VM templates and Disk cloning: if there’s a wrong way to manage a master image, these have got to be it. I think we can safely assume that these images are being built manually. VM templates are great for quickly provisioning a new VM; however the source image can still be built and managed in an automated fashion.

+ HEAT Client Management and Dell KACE are relatively popular. I’ve not used these myself, but find it interesting to see them registered here in this list

+ Citrix PVS – I’ve previously covered the use of PVS – it is very good at image delivery. I don’t not see it as an image management solution.

+ Unidesk is in there but not App Volumes / CloudVolumes. Are these really image management solutions? Again, you would use these along-side tools such as MDT.

Survey Winner

The winner of a one year access to my Citrix and App-V 5 Training course is Jeff Carney.

Next Up

In the next article in this series, we’ll look at how the master images are being delivered to virtual machines and end-points.


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