One of my last stops before leaving TechEd 2011 was the Prowess booth, where the company's CEO, Aaron Suzuki, told me about SmartDeploy.
SmartDeploy is a tool for, as the name implies, deploying Windows more easily. Suzuki said the improvements in the latest version include using WinPE 3.1 (up from WinPE 3.0) and the ability to handle new, large hard drives that have larger sector sizes.
Suzuki said SmartDeploy can help ease transitions to Windows 7, but it's also still commonly used for older versions of Windows—it can deploy OSs as far back as Windows 2000.
"We're still seeing a lot of people using the product for XP," Suzuki said.
SmartDeploy simplifies deployment for both physical and virtual machines. Suzuki said one major advantage for SmartDeploy over other deployment methods is how it handles drivers. You just download ready-made driver packs from Prowess based on the model of the physical machine, or on the hypervisor you're using, instead of having to hunt down specialized drivers or include every driver in the world with your images.