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Microsoft SCCM and VMware Horizon Mirage: Better Together

Author: mchobchuen

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By Manrat Chobchen, Technical Solutions Architect, End-User Computing, VMware

Assume that you are IT admin and you are using Microsoft SCCM to do endpoint provisioning. Yes, you are suffering from the following problems:

  • Recovery takes very long to complete.
  • Software configuration is not preserved or needs to be reconfigured.
  • User data and files are not fully preserved.

If you are suffering from the above problems, you need a solution that provides full endpoint protection and is also compatible with Microsoft SCCM. VMware has the solution for this: Horizon Mirage.

Horizon Mirage fills the gap of full protection. The way that Horizon Mirage works is by centralizing the OS, drivers, and user data into a proprietary CVD format. In case of recovery (“full endpoint recovery”), Horizon Mirage can recover endpoints significantly faster than an SCCM restore. Because Horizon Mirage takes a snapshot of all of the OS, driver, and user data, it can restore the whole desktop in a batch job. This process is different from the SCCM restore. SCCM performs recovery by reinstalling the OS, and requires full software installation one by one (a limitation of the Microsoft Installer System is that it can run only one instance at a time). So, usually you will cut endpoint restoration from hours to just an hour when you use Horizon Mirage to restore an endpoint.

Deployment Scenarios for Mirage with SCCM

Scenario 1: Deploy Mirage to an Existing SCCM environment

This scenario is when an enterprise has already implemented SCCM. In this case, Horizon Mirage will be packaged and deployed using SCCM. Once Horizon Mirage has been deployed to endpoints, the IT admin begins to centralize (back up) endpoints into CVDs and performs periodic snapshots. In the case of recovery, the IT admin issues the recovery command from the Mirage administrative console, and this will provide a big benefit because Mirage recovery is much faster than SCCM recovery (for the reason above).

Scenario 2: Deploy Mirage with SCCM into a New Environment

This scenario is when the enterprise needs to implement new endpoints, and wants to use SCCM for software deployment. To get this stuff done, the IT admin deploys the SCCM server and Mirage server environments first, and then prepares a Mirage base layer that incorporates the SCCM agent into it (the Mirage base layer is a Windows XP or Windows 7 environment that has been captured from a Reference Machine, and the base layer includes the OS and drivers, without user data). Once the base layer is fully prepared, the IT admin can roll out the base layer to endpoints. After the base layer is fully rolled out, every endpoint will have the SCCM agent installed. There are still some tasks that need to be done on the SCCM server to register the endpoints (this may need to be done via script).

Now you know that Mirage will add features that work very well with SCCM. Cutting recovery time and getting your endpoints back to normal faster will increase your employee productivity. However, Horizon Mirage has more features to explore. Please take a look at features like Windows XP to Windows 7 Migration, Application Layering, and Hardware Migration. These are features that will make your life easier and more peaceful.

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