Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Microsoft's Business Desktop Deployment Solution accelerator

The full name is a mouthful, I prefer MS BDD SA, or just BDD 2.5. Whatever you call it, it's cool technology! The idea behind BDD is to simplify the deployment of the business desktop through the use of automation and tools. BDD comes in two flavours: a "lite touch" approach based around disk imaging tools such as Ghost and a "zero touch" with deployment via SMS's OS Deployment Feature pack, and including monitoring via MOM. Zero Touch Installation (ZTI) can also lead to Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP), which adds a self service Share Point Portal site where users can request provisioning services (e.g. be added to a group, request an application, etc. ZTP delivers the request by using Biztalk and Exchange. NB: There are some AD requirements too! ZTP uses pretty much the entire Microsoft product set in a compelling way. But in order to deliver ZTP, you have to deliver ZTI first.

BDD 2.5 is a minor upgrade in terms of both the product and the training. If you know BDD 2.0, you'd be very familiar with BDD 2.5. There is updated documentation, of course, and by the bucket load - IIRC, the full print out set runs to around 1000 pages! The BDD process model is updated with a new Feature Team, and more guidance around the centre - the updated process wheel is updated, but familiar. The training is slicker, with most of the FGO (firm grasp of the obvious) fluff removed. The course offered in Europe is a combined 4 day technical/management/sales course, with 3 days of labs and a day of other stuff. The labs are based on the scenario, but improved and extended to cover both MOM monitoring and a working example of ZTP. The course discusses both lite and zero touch - thus there are no longer separate courses and you get to do labs on both approaches. As an aside, the labs are tough and long, and as at BDD 2.0, there is a premium to both accurate typing and doing all the steps in the correct order. As I discovered!

Another new thing with BDD 2.5 is the partner competency exam, 73-139. Known more fully as Deploying Business Desktops with Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Office 2003, the exam coves the lite touch stuff only. See the MSL site for an exam syllabus.

If you are a MS partner who has attended this training before, there is still some value from attending the new course - if only to get some hands on with MOM and Zero Touch. If you are a MS partner who has not seen this stuff - get yourself booked onto this as soon as slots open.

My understanding is that MS will start to run courses in earnest by the end of this year, with full scale rollout starting in January. The training to be offered here in the UK will be an instructor led, 3 day technical session for technical staff, supplemented by additional training for sales and business management. I am hoping we can also offer this to the wider customer base, as it's a LOT of fun and uses an awful lot of the technology - some I'm not as familiar with as I'd like!!

A note for MCTs and MVPs: traditionally, the BDD 2.0 courses were not always completely full. There have usually been open slots which we could usefully fill. If you have any interest in attending this training, then let me know by email.

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