One of the ongoing problems at K-12 (Kindergarten - 12th grade schools) is the number
of images that need to be created and maintained because of the
assortment of hardware models that finds its way into the schools through
donations, grants, etc that the IT department has minimal control over.
there something special that Kaseya does with it’s image management to
better control this or does anyone have any best practices that other
districts are using to manage this problem?
Images for system deployments are actually not something most larger companies do anymore where they have software deployment solutions like SCCM...
Deploy the actual operating system as a stream install (like the old days we used to do with RIS) then push the software thats required afterwards.
If you must use images, Windows 7 native imaging is now hardware independant anyhow so that solves the hardware problems (where you at least have the same processer type - aka all intel or all amd).
Otherwise, you probably should be using something like acronis or symantec system recovery for desktops with this hardware independant images.
The issue of "like hardware" is a significant issue over the long-term lifecycle of workstations and servers, even if grants and donations are not a factor. Typically it is handled by either an install checklist or 'script', scripts can be either; a step by step procedure for someone to follow, or a network install with auto-answer files to create the baseline. After the baseline for a family or like hardware is created then it can be imaged and then the image can be managed. This procedure will be of value if there is a significant number of machines to manage, but imaging one-izes two-izes would be of value only for backup and/or roll-back scenarios.
Have you looked at Hard Drive Imaging and Deployment module Kaseya offers? What from that would you change to better suit your needs? I'm curious b/c we too manage a private schools network and I would be interested in your feed back on that topic as I've yet to get involved in desktop imaging/deployment. Currently we have been doing a lot of Manual Labor to get the PC's setup.
With the Kaseya package for schools, which includes the imaging component and the desktop policy and migration component, it's possible to create a generic sysprepped Win7 image with the Kasya client on it, deploy it to different types of hardware and then automatically run agent procedures against the target machines to install apps, any necessary drivers, and a "desktop package" which will include system and application settings.