Imaging and workstation management

Do you need to install a new inhouse application on 100 PCs? Manually installing the application on each machine could take weeks. Innovative Software's ImageCast IC3 can make your job easier.

ImageCast IC3, which MicroHouse developed and Innovative Software distributes, is a next-generation disk-imaging and application-deployment product. The software duplicates hard disk images and lets you create images of application installs. You can use ImageCast IC3 to perform installations from machine to machine across a network or from one hard disk to another in the same machine. A multicast feature lets you distribute an image to several workstations simultaneously.

ImageCast IC3 incorporates several helpful features that other image-distribution products don't offer. These unique features include AppImager, a postconfiguration utility, ImageCast Remote Boot, ImageCast Converter, and Image Explorer. You configure these features and the product's standard imaging features through the centralized Control Center, which Screen 1 shows.

AppImager monitors your computer after you install a new application. AppImager notes changes to your system files and Registry and keeps track of where you install new files. After you complete an installation, AppImager creates an installation image that the software automatically replicates to another workstation.

After you clone one system's hard disk to another machine, you can use ImageCast IC3's postconfiguration utility to reconfigure the clone computer's Registry settings. This utility saves you from manually editing the clone system's Registry to set the values that make each system unique (e.g., the machine's network name).

ImageCast Remote Boot lets you send commands from the Control Center to automatically reboot PCs. ImageCast Converter lets you convert GHOST images into the ImageCast IC3 format so that you can use ImageCast IC3 to distribute GHOST images you've already created.

Image Explorer is a powerful feature that lets you explore the contents of image files. The program uses an NT Explorerlike interface, so you can drill down through the directory structure in an image file. When you click a directory in the left pane, a list of files in that directory appears in the right pane. Image Explorer also lets you restore deleted files to your hard disk, which can save you time if you accidentally delete files.

Installing ImageCast IC3 was easy. Before you use the software, you need to set up a model system that contains the applications you want to deploy on other machines. Then, you create a client boot disk to establish connections to the model system. I used ImageCast IC3 to clone a workstation, and within 20 minutes, my clone system was functional.

This product can save systems administrators many hours of work installing software packages on new computers. Its suggested list price is $1100, which includes a 100-seat license. (Each computer you distribute an application to or mirror a hard disk to counts as one seat.) You can download a free trial version from the company's Web site.

ImageCast IC3
Contact: Innovative Software * 800-817-5119
Web: http://www.innovativesoftware.com
Price: $1100 per 100 seats
System Requirements: 200MHz Pentium processor or better
Windows NT Server 4.0, NT Workstation 4.0, or Windows 9x
32MB of RAM