SCCM OS deployment questions

I am running WDS on Win2008 and SMS 2003 on Win2003 right now and was looking
at SCCM to see if its OS deployment services might be a better solution for
imaging/desktop deployment that my current situation. I was also wondering
how it might compare to third party apps like Ghost/Altirus, LANdesk etc that
I am considering. So general opinions on how SCCM OS deployment are welcome.

With that said I specifically wanted to know a few things:
Is SCCM OS deployment simply using a form of WDS, ie file based imaging or
is it sector based? WDS only captures sysprepped images and the occasional
need to backup a laptop as is would be nice.

Does SCCM allow you to push from an image the console via Wake on Lan/PXE?
Can this be done with the SMS (SCCM) client installed and/or can it be done
on a clean machine with no client?
I used Altirus years back to drop a hidden boot partition in a machine which
allowed a push to be done from the console to any machine without hitting F12
or anything like that and wanted to basically see if SCCM can do the same?
Thanks
dumamoAsked:
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Adam LeinssConnect With a Mentor Senior Desktop EngineerCommented:
Is SCCM OS deployment simply using a form of WDS, ie file based imaging or
is it sector based?

SCCM uses ImageX, so it is filed based

Does SCCM allow you to push from an image the console via Wake on Lan/PXE?

You can integrate SCCM w/ WDS via PXEFilter.VBS (http://thebackroomtech.com/2008/07/15/bare-metal-imaging-with-sccm-2007/). If you aren't using SCCM SP1/R2, you need to pre-stage the MAC address of the PC (NIC) into SCCM before you can push an image to it.

Can this be done with the SMS (SCCM) client installed and/or can it be done
on a clean machine with no client?

Yes

However, I myself use ImageX (actually GImageX) directly with boot media and bypass SCCM/WDS all together.  If I need a sector-by-sector copy, I use Ghost.  If I just need a regular image, I use ImageX.
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dumamoAuthor Commented:
On the last part, was that a yes for both pushing to a machine with the client and pushing to a clean machine with no client? Also is there a reason you use GimageX as described for a workstation deployment versus other software? Thanks!
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Adam LeinssSenior Desktop EngineerCommented:
If you want to push an image remotely (OS Refresh), the client needs to be on the target PC.
If you are doing bare metal, you can use either boot media or PXE.  This does not require the client being on the PC.
I use GimageX, because it is a GUI wrapper to wimgapi.dll (ImageX).  I can capture a WIM into SCCM, built a task sequence for it and deploy it from SCCM.  I can also use GImageX to directly tap into the WIM.
ImageX is free, anyone can use it, so from a licensing and cost saving point it's a no-brainer to use it over Ghost/Driveimage
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dumamoAuthor Commented:
Thanks. You answered my question. I did not think you could push to bare metal with SCCM as you can with other products. Part of the reason I am looking at SCCM is our current MS agreement make that a more cost efficient means that Ghost etc, but they want an actual push (OS Refresh) from the console to bare metal. Thanks for the input!
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