Windows 7 : Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 - Setting Up Your Deployment Server

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The machine on which you install MDT will be called either a technician machine (when you're installing MDT on a desktop OS) or a deployment server (when you're installing MDT on a server class operating system). Whether you have a technician machine or a deployment server, the steps for installing, configuring, and using MDT are identical. But before you dive in and start installing MDT to create your technician machine/deployment server, consider these three things:

  • Your technician machine/deployment server must meet the minimum hardware requirements.

  • MDT requires additional software that needs to be installed before MDT will be usable.

  • You should know which OSs you can install MDT on and which OSs MDT can deploy.

In this section we'll focus on setting up the technician machine/deployment server, including the hardware and software requirements, and explain which operating system would work best on the deployment server and why.

Take Control

Working with OS deployment puts you in a seat where you need control. You must spend time figuring out naming for folders, scripts, task sequences, applications, and so on. The naming convention does not need to be perfect, but it must be logical and easy to understand. One case we recall was a company that had drivers for more than 20 different models of PCs. The company imported every single driver into the root folder Out-Box Drivers. That approach almost worked for 2 or 3 months—then they had problems. They added new drivers for a new model, but what they did not know was that the vendor removed support in the new driver for older models, although the Plug and Play (PNP) number was the same. The only solution was to do what they should have done from the beginning: pick just the drivers they needed and put them in a nice, clean folder structure. Somehow, it always comes back when you try to cheat...

1. Hardware Requirements

The Microsoft bare minimum hardware requirements are fairly low, and if you install MDT 2010 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 you have already passed all the minimum requirements since Windows Server 2008 R2 has higher requirements than MDT has, and we highly recommend that you install MDT 2010 on Windows Server 2008 R2. If you install MDT 2010 on another operating system, the minimum hardware requirements are the following:

  • 1.4 GHz processor

  • 512 MB of RAM

  • 2 GB, or enough hard drive space to store your images

Moving past the minimum requirements, think about this—installing MDT on a server doesn't burden the server. Even creating images for deployment doesn't take a lot of juice. But when clients connect across the network and start pulling those big image files from the hard drive—that's where the server is going to take a performance hit. A server has four subsystems you must take into account: the processor, memory, disk performance, and network interface. The most important subsystems for a deployment server are disk performance and the network interface. The processor and memory are not as heavily utilized by MDT's deployment process. We suggest spending your money on high disk performance and (depending on how many machines you plan to deploy concurrently) possibly multiple network interfaces. We recommend the following, at minimum, for your minimum hardware:

  • 1.4 GHz processor or better

  • 2 GB of RAM or more

  • 2 disk sets (RAID 1 for your OS and RAID 5 for your data) with at least 150 GB of disk space to store your images

  • A gigabit network card (multiple NICs if you plan on deploying a lot of machines at the same time, but that will require that you use teamed NICs)

2. Software Requirements

The installation of MDT 2010 requires installing the Windows Automated Installation Kit 2.0 (WAIK), also referred to as the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7. MDT utilizes the WAIK's tools for capturing, applying, and maintaining images.

There are two versions of MDT 2010 Update 1: one 32 bit and one 64 bit. You select the version that matches your OS version. The WAIK is both 32 and 64 bit at the same time if you download it from Microsoft Download. But from within the Deployment Workbench you will see that there are two downloads: one 32-bit and one 64-bit. When you download the WAIK from Microsoft Download, it is a complete package that works on many operating systems; it also has Windows Deployment Services included for Windows Server 2003. When you download the WAIK from within MDT 2010 Update 1, you get only the parts that you need (WinPE, WSIM, and the tools). That's why it's in most cases faster to first install MDT and then use the Components tab to download the rest of the tools you need.

Use Information Center's Components Node for Faster MDT Download

We recommend that you first install MDT 2010 Update 1 and then, from the Components node, download and install the WAIK toolkit. When you choose this route, downloading will be faster, since you download just the parts from the kit that are needed. If you download the complete kit, you will notice that there are no 32- and 64-bit versions. The full download version is both 32 and 64 bit, so you will save time downloading the WAIK from the Components node.

The WAIK 2.0 has software requirements as well: .NET Framework 2.0 or later and MSXML 6.0 or later have to be installed before you can install the WAIK. Not to worry; the required software for the WAIK is included in the WAIK download, so you won't have to waste time searching for it. And if you choose to set up a deployment server using Windows Server 2008 or later, both the .NET Framework and MSXML are built in.

3. Supported Operating Systems

The operating system of a technician machine may be either Windows Vista SP1 or Windows 7. The OS of a deployment server can be Windows Server 2003 SP2 (the Windows AIK documentation states 2003 SP1, but that's incorrect), Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2. We recommend an OS that supports Server Message Block (SMB) 2.0 (Vista, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 R2). SMB 2.0 will speed up the deployment process since it handles larger file transfers better than SMB 1.0.

Installing MDT on a server class OS such as Windows Server 2008 R2 allows you to easily integrate Windows Deployment Service (WDS) and MDT or Configuration Manager and MDT . Even though MDT 2010 can be installed on client class and older server class OSs, we strongly recommend installing MDT on the latest server operating system, which will give you better performance, better scalability, and more flexibility.

The following operating systems are supported by MDT 2010 Update 1 for deployment:

  • Windows XP (SP3)

  • Windows Server 2003 R2

  • Windows Vista (all SPs)

  • Windows 7

  • Windows Server 2008 (all SPs)

  • Windows Server 2008 R2

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