REVIEWER: Brock Bernatow, desktop services technician for United Agri Products, Inc.

 

BACKGROUND: United Agri Products, Inc. is the largest independent distributor of agricultural and noncrop products in the U.S. and Canada. United Agri Products, Inc. markets a comprehensive line of products, including chemicals, fertilizer and seed to farmers, commercial growers and regional dealers. United Agri Products also provides a broad array of value-added services, including crop management, biotechnology advisory services, custom fertilizer blending, seed treatment, inventory management and custom applications of crop inputs. United Agri Products maintains a comprehensive network of approximately 370 distribution and storage facilities and three formulation plants, strategically located in major crop-producing areas throughout the U.S. and Canada.

 

PLATFORMS: IBM/Lenovo and Dell brand desktops and notebooks with Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

 

PROBLEM SOLVED: The Universal Imaging Utility (UIU) enables our cloning software to create one Master Image that works across multiple platforms. Without it, we’d have to create, maintain and store approximately 12 Master Images, which would be quite painful and time-consuming. Cloning software, in our case Symantec Ghost, works well when the computers are the same. However, when they are dissimilar, there are issues with software drivers and plug-and-play devices.

 

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With the many responsibilities I have on a day-to-day basis, the UIU makes my job much easier. I estimate the UIU saves me 25 to 40 percent of the time I spend setting up new machines or repairing ones currently in use. What I like most is that the UIU makes it possible for me to use just one image on all machines, no matter if I’m working on a brand new laptop or a desktop that’s four years old. It doesn’t matter what the hardware configuration is with the UIU.

 

STRENGTHS: We have users in almost every state, and I’m responsible for keeping those users up and running. The UIU saves me a significant amount of time, approximately one half hour to one hour per machine that I work on, and I work on four to five machines per day. The time I’d spend just tracking down drivers for each machine would be substantial. The UIU does that for me so that time can be used more constructively on other tasks.

 

WEAKNESSES: We purchased the UIU to create one Master Image that works across all platforms, which it does. The only negative might be that it doesn’t work with Macs, but that isn’t a major issue for us.

 

SELECTION CRITERIA: The UIU works with Ghost, which we use for cloning. From what I can tell, it is the only product on the market that performs this task. I’ll admit I haven’t looked, but I also haven’t felt the need to due to the quality of the UIU.

 

DELIVERABLES: The UIU creates one Master Image that can be rolled out to any of our 2,000 PCs across the company.

 

VENDOR SUPPORT: I can only comment on the pre-implementation of the product since I never contacted support after it was in use, but the rep I dealt with was informative and had great communication skills.

 

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation it is complete and easy to understand. I could, and I have, run the product easily relying on the documentation.

 

The Universal Imaging Utility

Big Bang LLC

(distributed by Binary Research International, Inc.)

9851 South 27th Street

Franklin, WI 53132

(414) 961-7077

www.binaryresearch.net/uiu

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