Defining Hardware Standards

The applications that your users need to perform their jobs determine your company's hardware requirements. However, planning hardware budgets generally involves longer lead times than planning for software upgrades. Therefore, plan carefully and allow enough time to provide your users with the computer hardware they need when they need it.

The following are some of the questions you might ask regarding your organization's clients:

  • How fast are the processors in your current client desktop computers? How fast are the processors in your portable computers?

  • How fast is the network connectivity for your current clients (including portable computers that are network connected and modem connected)?

  • How much random access memory (RAM) and hard disk space do they have?

  • Are Windows 2000 drivers available for current network adapters and other peripherals?

  • What file systems do they use?

  • Are current computers running other operating systems that need to be upgraded, or do you need to perform clean installations

  • Can current computers use remote boot technology? Do they have remote boot-compatible network adapters? Can they use a remote boot floppy disk?

  • Will you be using network shares to store user data and configuration data?

  • Who is responsible for backing up the user's data?

  • How do you bring new computers into your organization? How do you stage new hardware? Does the original equipment manufacturer preinstall applications? Do you remove any preinstalled software from new hardware and then reinstall it according to your own standards?

  • How do you replace failed hardware? If a hard disk fails, how do you replace it? How do you replace or restore the operating system? How do you replace or restore applications? How do you replace or restore the user's data?

  • Do you have security requirements for data on the hard disk? Do you use any form of data encryption?

  • Do your computers have multiple configurations? For example, does a portable computer have one set of hardware features for when it is in a docking station (including a network adapter) and another hardware profile for when it is undocked (and using a high-speed modem rather than a network adapter)?

  • How long do you spend troubleshooting a hardware problem before you replace the computer and restore a standard operating system and application environment?

For each class of users in your organization, define a standard type of computer that can meet current and anticipated processing needs for two years at a minimum. In addition, try to reduce the number of different hardware configurations that you support to improve your ability to support users and also reduce client support costs.

For more information about upgrade and clean installation options, see "Automating Client Installation and Upgrade" and "Using Systems Management Server to Deploy Windows 2000" in this book. For more information about Remote OS Installation and offline folders, see "Applying Change and Configuration Management" in this book.

Because few organizations can afford to purchase the most recent, powerful, and versatile computers for all employees, the sample guidelines in Table 23.2 illustrate how you can match your computing hardware to the needs of your user groups.

Table   23.2 Sample Computer Allocation Strategy

If the Computer:

Assign it to:

Also Consider:

Does not meet minimum hardware requirements for Windows 2000

Task-based users

Using Terminal Services with this hardware

Meets minimum hardware requirements for Windows 2000

Basic users (including Roaming and Task-based users)

Providing basic users with permanent network connections

Exceeds minimum hardware requirements for Windows 2000

Advanced users (including Knowledge and Mobile workers)