Our packagers today use customised local VMs of different flavours to capture applications. It is a hassle to build and maintain and update the machines and there is a disparity between packaging platforms (age and configuration) that risks inconsistencies in the output sequences and packages. We would like to move away from local, private VMs under the desk of each packager to a hosted desktop.

Consistency in build levels and configuration. Today each packager, internal and external, builds the best way he knows with a mixed level of discipline in updating. Making one high quality sequencing build and automatically propagating that when the build is updated will ensure this element is common to all.
Faster availability of staged machines as the owner can update the build and automatically propagate.
Same usability & performance for offshore sequencers as local. Today they work on local and different infrastructure due to network latency and use their local repositories rather than in corporate HQ.
Scalable in times of projects
Easy to deploy and provide controlled access for external App-V company.
There is also the security aspect of having a managed platform rather than self-managed VMs around.

The optimal platform sill needs to be selected but I expect it will be between HyperV and XenDesktop or ESX.

Anyone done this ? How to maintain the builds ? We have SCCM. We can't easily/cleanly use cloning due to unique SCCM identifier.

I would like to see the new VMs spun up automatically and available always with the latest build.

We need around 80 VMs.

We're able to pay for consulting on this if you/your firm really can deliver.

Thanks for advice.

Best regards
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FM: a competent consulting company should be able to do this for you. (and if your contract is negotiated well, you don't pay if they don't deliver.)

It sounds like you don't use PXE imaging. That would be the first thing I would do. Then I'd implement VMWare server. You'll have an interesting challenge with offshore users; I'd suggest remoting into the VMWare worksations off the server rather than pushing down images over a small pipe - so they'd be virtual workstations. If you can get a good needs assessment and statement of work, then the consulting company should be able to deliver exactly what is needed.

Good luck!
Answered 03/30/2012 by: Arminius
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We use VMware and make standardized VM templates. It works pretty good. As for the rest, you will need to look into how to build an automated OS install for deployment. Here is a good place to start.
Answered 03/20/2012 by: jmaclaurin
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