The Coming of No-Touch PC Management

Michael Vizard

For all the benefits that PCs have brought to the business, managing them is still a fairly labor-intensive process. But if the promise of a new alliance between Hewlett-Packard and LANDesk bears fruit, the whole process associated with deploying and managing PCs might get a whole lot simpler.

The two companies have announced a joint technology and marketing agreement announced this week under which HP will expose BIOS code and system firmware via standard interfaces to LANDesk systems management software. According to Brad Winston, business development manager for software alliances in HP's Personal Systems Group, the idea is to give IT organizations using LANDesk software granular control over HP system configurations in addition to being able to manage the applications that run on those systems. For example, IT administrators would be able to remotely control temperature settings in addition to updating the master image that runs on a specific PC device.

While HP has existing relationships with Symantec and Microsoft, Winston says that LANDesk will become HP's preferred systems management partner given the closeness of the technical relationship between the two companies.

To say that PC management has been a source of frustration for IT organizations may be one of the great IT understatements of all time. The good news is that in the future you can now easily start to imagine a zero-touch PC management where every attribute of a system can be managed via the cloud. This includes the pushing out of master images to new PC devices that have been shipped directly to remote offices without having been touched by an internal IT department or third-party service provider.

Obviously, vendors such as HP are hoping that by reducing the cost of labor associated with managing PCs, customers will spend more money on buying additional systems. That remains to be seen. But when they do decide to buy PCs, chances are high they will choose the vendor that provides the systems with the fewest hassles.

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