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DiNG DiNG DiNG, We Have a Winner!

New University IT system to deploy computers faster results in efficiency gains across campus
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

This past year, University IT’s Computer Resource Consulting (CRC) group scaled their new system to deploy computers faster to four university areas, helping faculty and staff get operational sooner.

The system, called Deployment Next Generation (DiNG), installs additional software to out-of-the-box computers only as needed, rather than loading all computers with software its user may not need.

DiNG was first piloted to a small group of existing CRC clients in 2015. Pilot results revealed the new system could deploy computers 33 percent faster than old methods.

CRC spent the past year improving and implementing the system for new clients in schools and units across campus, achieving efficiency gains that have resulted in time and money savings for the university. Areas now using DiNG are: Stanford University Libraries, School of Engineering, Stanford Management Company, and Residential and Dining Enterprises.

“This system has the potential to save Stanford thousands of hours of manual computer setup each year, allowing those resources to be rededicated to priorities that support the teaching, research, and learning mission of the university,” said Brad Immanuel, Director of CRC.

System success

In Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) alone, DiNG has been deployed on 150 computers and resulted in more than 300 hours saved.

“Here in R&DE IT we started using DiNG almost a year ago, and it has drastically helped us with our computer imaging process. It has reduced our time to image a system, and practically eliminated the need to do post-image configuration steps,” said Chet DeRouin, Lead Support Services Analyst with R&DE.

“It’s also nice to know DiNG can image just about any model computer you throw at it, including Macs. Overall, we save a great deal of time using DiNG and no longer have to worry about the master image getting outdated with Microsoft updates, drivers, and common software versions.”

DiNG has proven similarly successful in the School of Engineering (SoE), where at least 600 hours have been saved through the deployment of over 300 computers using the new system.

“DiNG has been a great addition to our toolbelt,” said Jeff Barkow, Support Desk Manager at SoE. “It has eliminated the need for creating and maintaining ‘golden master’ images of our own for various laptops. As a result, we have more time available to work on projects that add value to our school’s mission.”

System improvements

CRC has worked diligently at improving the system since it first piloted. Improvements include:

  • The ability to reinstall computers that have failed
  • Automation of many more steps so there is less active staff time in the process
  • Reduced error rate and time spent doing customizations after imaging
  • Simplified interface
  • Revised code base, making it more reliable and easier to update
  • Numerous bug fixes

Now, DiNG can also be used in more situations, such as reimaging both Macs and PCs, which results in even more time savings. Additionally, CRC can more quickly address issues that arise from Stanford’s varied computer environments.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to adjust and improve,” said Nate Wagenaar, CRC Manager. “That will continue into the future as we look for additional ways DiNG can benefit the university.”

Learn more

DiNG is designed for and available to any IT group at Stanford that sets up computers and wants to improve the process.

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