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Image Server for Deploying OS?

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Posted

The office I work in has recently been hit by lightning and a large number of our PC's have been damaged along with internal switches.  Replacement switches will be in shortly along with a large number of replacement PC's, Dell OptiPlex's  Normally when I deploy OS's I do it using an image I prepared with Windows PE and install from a USB stick, not something I want to do with the number of machines I have coming in.

 

What are my options for mass deploying an image to all the new OptiPlex's?  On one forum I've seen mention of using FOG, from the FOG Project, but I would like to know what else is out there.

 

Thanks.

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Posted

wds, fog, acronis snap deploy (need a tib image to start with).

 

I have used wds and snap deploy.  snap deploy is probably the easier of the two, but it is far from being the cheapest. 

 

 

You could simply start the image process on one computer and then go to the next with a usb stick provided that the pe disk has the network drivers needed and the image is stored on a accessible server. 

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Posted

Symantec Ghost Multicast used to work great for me, until I switched to Acronis Snap Deploy :)

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Posted

Looking over the MS site I'm favouring a WDS server, is it as easy to setup as it seems?

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd348502(v=ws.10).aspx

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Posted

Run WDS which i think works great. Depends on what you want to do i guess?

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Posted

We use WDS.  Very easy and nice to setup via F12 boots.

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Posted

Run WDS which i think works great. Depends on what you want to do i guess?

 

Nothing to complicated.  I plan to build a base PC with latest drivers/updates and a few common apps installed and then I want to deploy that image to the other new PC's.  Domain joining/network address etc will all be done manually.

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Posted

Nothing to complicated.  I plan to build a base PC with latest drivers/updates and a few common apps installed and then I want to deploy that image to the other new PC's.  Domain joining/network address etc will all be done manually.

 

If you use WDS, you don't need a base PC. Set it up as DHCP-Server on a Windows Server if not done so.Just install WDS as Feature and it will set the DHCP-option 60 / PXEClient for you. Then you'll add an install-image. You can import multiple OSes like 7 and 8, basically everything that can be deployed via a wim-Image - don't know whether that covers Unix/Linux. It's very comfortable with an import assistant. You can do offline patching with the image. Also consider installing the WSUS-components. After that, you'll import a startup-image. I would always use the latest version as you can install Windows Vista / 7 in a Windows 8 PE environment. I've got my own toolset here. I've got a backup-image and an offline virus scanner. If you want to configure it, you're able to choose which or how many devices are able to access your install / image (if you have to count licenses). Drivers are not that hard either. You simply copy the extracted driver package on your server and import the .ini-file(s). With most / good devices, Windows will know what to do when you add them. Want more control? You can choose to deploy a package of drivers to a specific device/model/vendor/OS-Version etc. This feature is available for Windows 7+. When you're ready, set an amount of clients or a specific time to start a multicast deployment. Why? If you multicast, every packet will be sent once for all clients instead of once for every client. This will lower the needed network bandwidth and install time considerably. Should a client miss a packet, it will rerequest that after the transmission is completed, allowing the others to install earlier. I like to deploy the software later via gpos. These allow you to configure your software to be installed on specific systems or for specific users. Or you can do a self service allowing every / specific user(s) to install their Software via the control panel. It's also cleaner. A very cool feature is App-V for deploying software. I've got Office 2013 installed on all clients via GPO and Office 2003 as App-V package. So I've got full compatibility for old formats but can use the new ones for daily work.

 

The WAIK can help you customizing more if you like.

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Posted

I would go with WDS. Very easy to use once you get your head around it and there is a lot of documentation and support for it.

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Posted

I would go with WDS. Very easy to use once you get your head around it and there is a lot of documentation and support for it.

Agreed wiith WDS - it can be almost self-deploying.  In fact, with a few switches, it CAN self-deploy as you add hardware.

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Posted

WDS and run MDT on top of it

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Posted

Thought I would post back with an update, little late but still.

 

So I setup a virtual WDS server and built my Windows image with imagex (stuck with what I knew).  Then using a combination of the image/group policy/unattend.xml I was able to deploy around 40 PC's within the space of a day with very little hassle.  Setting up WDS was actually more trouble than deploying the image.  With WDS I had to adjust the TFTP block size and add a few entries to the DHCP range, nothing to difficult and all part of the learning experience.

 

So thanks again to everyone that posted, much appreciated.

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