(this was originally posted in August, 2011)
Presented by: John Whaley
Layering is a promising new way of managing Windows installations. Rather than having to individually manage each Windows instance, you can split Windows into individual layers that can be managed independently. This makes it possible to manage a single base image while still allowing user-specific customizations (including user-installed applications, drivers, system services, etc.) to be layered on top. Layering makes desktop management vastly more scalable, makes updates and refreshes much easier, improves performance, reduces storage, and gives you instant recovery from malware attacks. However, there are some challenges that come up when trying to manage Windows while using layers. How do you separate data into each layer so the user data is kept while administrators can still update the base image? How do you deal with conflicts between layers, when both the administrator and user update the same files and registry keys? How do you treat tricky software like anti-virus software, Windows updates, and application virtualization packages? This session will cover best practices we have learned over the past two years working with customers on their layered Windows (XP and 7) deployments. These best practices are vendor-independent and apply equally well no matter which layering product you choose.
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