Islip Public Schools
Upgrade all 2000 devices to Windows 10 and create a consistent user experience.
All devices migrated to Windows 10.
When a school district decides to upgrade to a new operating system, planning and testing is needed to avoid problems. Islip School District in New York was planning a Windows 10 upgrade for all of their devices. Islip had a total of 2000 new and existing devices in their environment. The majority of the existing devices were running Windows 7, and touchscreen devices on Windows 8.1. Managing both platforms was becoming increasingly difficult, and with Windows 10 promising a better user experience, Islip decided to upgrade all devices.
Islip was familiar with the migration process after having successfully upgraded to Windows 7 and 8.1 using Specops Deploy in the past. However, they decided to upgrade to Windows 10 at a measured pace to allow sufficient time testing the system that was rather new and still evolving. Their first priority was to eliminate Windows 8.1 from the environment which took about a month. The rest of the devices were upgraded to Windows 10 in three months. James F. Prudente, Islip School District’s Director of Network Operations, said: “The actual upgrade could have been done in weeks but we wanted to take our time planning for it. We had to do a lot more testing with Windows 10 than with previous versions of Windows to ensure we created a consistent user experience.”
Another added complexity in this project was the school district’s mixed environment. “We’re now supporting a wider range of devices than we used to,” James said. “When we did the last OS upgrade, we had eight hardware platforms to manage and now the number is up to twenty.”
One fundamental change in Windows 10 is the move towards regular and continuous updates, rather than big releases every few years. This means that creating a repeatable and automated process for frequent reinstallations of operating system across multiple devices is important. “Ghost wouldn’t have been a viable option due to the large number of platforms we support,” James explained. “We’d have to rebuild an image for each piece of hardware every few months as Microsoft releases new major updates.”
“With Windows 10, we have to do a lot more re-imaging than we did in the past. Specops Deploy gives us the ability to refresh a lab with a few clicks and walk away; the entire rest of the process is automated.”
James shared some tips for others who are planning a Windows 10 upgrade: “Be prepared to do a lot more testing than before and be prepared to react to updates and changes in Windows 10. Having a solution like Specops Deploy will help keep your devices up to date and give you time to deal with other issues.”