One of the tools that Remex have always used is named Ghost. It is a cloning tool that allows for a computer to be completely copied from one hardware to another, very quickly and very reliably. Currently supplied by Symantec Corporation, Ghost was originally released around 1995 by Binary Research, which is roughly the time that we started using it.
Ghost is a tool used with a Standard Operating Environment (“SOE”, also known as a Common Desktop Environment). Remex use Ghost for several functions, all of which have a very direct and beneficial impact on our client’s bottom line.
For the rapid deployment of new computers or new software
This is the primary use that most (if not all) systems integrators would have for Ghost. If you’re integrator is not recommending the use of Ghost, they are charging you too much for the deployment of your computers. Remex’s approach is to build a “bullet proof” initial image. This initial image definitely involves more of our time that one might reasonably expect to spend on building a computer. But this is time well spent, because this bullet proof initial image can then very quickly (less than 30 minutes per computer) be deployed across every other like computer. Software can be pre-registered and configured, shortcuts created, templates installed, indeed any customisation desired is built in to the initial image.
On a deployment of as few as five or ten computers, clients save upwards of 50% on installation. On deployments of more than one hundred computers, clients save over 75% of installation costs.
For the support of deployed computers
Remex like to extend the use of Ghost as a support tool. Because we know that the initial image is “bullet proof”, we also know that if it were re-deployed onto a problematic computer that computer should function “as new” again. Therefore, if there is a computer problem that cannot be resolved within 20-30 minutes, we simply clone that computer back to it’s known original perfect working order, thus limiting the time spent on an individual computer problem to approximately 60 minutes. If this resolves the problems, the end user is operational again very quickly. If the problems persist, there is absolutely no doubting the suggestion that the problem is hardware related. Never have we needed to spend more than ten minutes on the telephone with a hardware vendor seeking warranty service, once we have advised them that Ghost is being used. This includes Dell, HP, IBM (Lenovo), Acer and Toshiba, amongst others.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by your hardware vendor’s help desk, asking you silly
questions like “Have you tried restarting the computer?”, you should try using Ghost this way.
For the rapid recovery of server environments
Over recent years, Symantec’s ongoing development of Ghost has extended it’s capabilities to server environments. Many people didn’t believe there was any benefit of using Ghost with servers, because the intricate configurations of each individual server in a network meant that they would always need to be configured after Ghosting. Remex’s use of this particular feature is different. We like to create a clone image of a server “as built” so that should there ever be an instance that the server needs to be re-built, it can be achieved rapidly and without human error.