VMware Mirage and Microsoft SCCM Working Side by Side

Apr 10, 2015
Jessica Flohr


Jessica Chapin (Flohr) is a contract technical writer and editor in End-User Computing at VMware in Palo Alto, California. She graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a bachelor of arts degree in English Writing and has a certificate in editing from Poynter News University. Currently, she is working on the Professional Sequence in Editing through the UC Berkeley Extension program. In addition to editing technical papers and formatting blog posts for the End-User Computing blog, Jessica writes for her local community newspaper.

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By Karen Smith, Guest Writer, Former Technical Writer for End-User Computing Technical Marketing, VMware

With significant contributions from Maor Kuriel, Product Specialist, Mirage Engineering, End-User Computing, VMware

Many organizations use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) for managing large groups of endpoint devices. In an ideal scenario, everything is operating smoothly, but sometimes things go wrong, and end users need to quickly recover their systems so that they can resume work.

You might be searching for a disaster recovery solution for your SCCM environment, which would enable IT to assist users with issues such as hard drive failure, virus infection, and corrupted files or applications. You also might be searching for a faster way to refresh PCs to new hardware, and migrate large groups of computers from Windows XP to Windows 7, or from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1. VMware Mirage can do all these things.

The Mirage and SCCM systems can coexist independently in the data center without interfering with each other.

Figure 1: Mirage and SCCM Servers Side by Side with Mirage and SCCM Clients on Endpoints

By deploying Mirage side by side into an SCCM environment, you can achieve enhanced functionality, automate the migration process, and reduce help desk support costs. Mirage provides layered image management, disaster recovery, and migration for physical Windows desktops across distributed environments. For details about deploying Mirage into an SCCM environment, see the white paper How VMware Mirage Complements and Extends Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

Let us take a look at how Mirage can enhance functionality in an SCCM environment:

  • If you need to re-image endpoint systems, or deploy large service packs and departmental applications, you can save time by using Mirage base layers rather than by using the traditional SCCM application deployment methods. Mirage downloads the application files in the background and then installs everything in one or two reboots. Users can continue working without interruption until prompted to reboot.
  • The fastest Windows OS migration method is to use Mirage.
  • If something goes wrong during application deployment or Windows OS migration, you can use Mirage to roll back to the previous desktop state.
  • If a laptop is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can use Mirage to restore the laptop to a replacement computer while preserving user data and settings.

You can use Mirage to migrate users to new computers, regardless of whether they are connected to the corporate network, and optionally update the Windows operating system at the same time.

Mirage provides built-in backup and recovery capabilities for user endpoints, while SCCM is not designed for disaster recovery. After the Mirage client is activated on an endpoint, Mirage creates a backup image of the endpoint that is called a centralized virtual desktop (CVD). Mirage takes periodic snapshots of the endpoints, which enables restores of files and directories, or rollback to a previous desktop state. Changes to the endpoint are uploaded to the desktop image stored in the data center.

If something goes wrong during desktop recovery, you can select a snapshot to revert the endpoint to an earlier state. You can restore only the system files, or both the system files and user data.

Figure 2: Reverting a Desktop (CVD) to a Particular Mirage Snapshot

Consider pairing Mirage with SCCM to preserve your legacy SCCM deployment and to use Mirage to

  • Save time and costs while performing hardware refreshes and Windows OS migrations.
  • Recover endpoint systems if something goes wrong.
  • Save time while deploying large application packs because the applications are downloaded in the background while users continue working.

For more information, see How VMware Mirage Complements and Extends Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and the VMware Mirage Reviewer’s Guide. Also look at the blog Migrating to Windows 8.x Using VMware Mirage 5.0.

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