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Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 system requirements & suggestions

I'm building a solution for our company to use for imaging/building new computers. We only image/build 2 or 3 computers a day on average, with 90% of those being rebuilds of existing computers (to assign to another employee usually) with less than 1 new computer/month coming in. I'm planning to use MDT 2012, WAIK, & WDS, & whatever else is required for a solution made up of these main components. It’s been years since I did any bulk computer builds/imaging so I need to get up to speed with the latest methodologies.

I like the idea of using the Models profiles in MDT to help create a sort of "Build-a-Burger" type system where we could simply make a few selections and have a computer built with custom applications selected to be installed and it will know what device drivers to install based on the Model selected. I think this is referred to as the Light Touch Experience, I think. I’d really like to find a video that roughly walks through the process of capturing/building/configuring an image (if images are still used these days) and deploying it using these tools I’ve mentioned.

With this solution we'll be deploying Windows 7 32 & 64-bit machines mostly with an XP machine here and there I'm guessing. Here are my questions for now to help me get started:

1) How are images managed; images are still used, right? Will I have an image for each computer model? I want to minimize the storage space requirements for this solution but I want to have plenty of functionality so I won't sacrifice too much to save space.

2) How much disk space do I need for the Windows Server 2008 R2 server I'm building to host MDT? I figure we’ll be managing about 20 different computer models, almost all Dell & a few Panasonic Toughbooks.

3) Any other info you want to throw in regarding what might be helpful for me to know as I plan and build this solution?

Thanks.
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WineGeek
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WineGeek
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RartemassAuthor, martial arts coach, IT ConsultantCommented:
If you can obtain SCCM 2007 you can do all this quite easily with some configuration.
Basically you have a vanilla install of the OS which is just the base OS from the install CD.
You then specify the types of models you have and the drivers they require.

So you can then create an image by deploying the OS and drivers from the specified model and capturing the image from a single PC. You then deploy that captured image to whatever PC needs it.
You can save multiple images and have them update upon a schedule. This is useful so you can include new security patches into the base image.
You can also package software and deploy as needed to a collection of PCs.

SCCM does take time to figure out but there are 5 day Microsoft courses to bring you up to speed. I highly recommend it, especially considering you image multiple PCs per day.

Here are some guides for SCCM that covers your requirements:
http://www.windows-noob.com/forums/index.php?/topic/1064-sccm-2007-guides/

Here are some video walkthroughs:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/deploymentguys/archive/2008/03/20/sccm-2007-and-microsoft-deployment-toolkit-video-walkthrough.aspx
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WineGeekAuthor Commented:
Thanks. Is SCCM required for this solution? Just wondering if I can do it without SCCM or would SCCM provide some workflow efficiency-type benefits once the solution is up and running?
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WineGeekAuthor Commented:
I'd like to avoid using images if possible. Instead, I'd like to have all the various options of building a computer (drivers, apps, etc.) available as menu selections during the build process or something like that. I believe this might be called script-based installations vs. image-based installations, I think...
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RartemassAuthor, martial arts coach, IT ConsultantCommented:
SCCM is not required for this, but does make it much easier. It does provide the workflow efficiency benefits you mentioned.
SCCM can be used to deploy an image that has all the applications installed, or it can deploy a vanilla OS with drivers based on the PC model (or anywhere in between).
All of this needs to be configured in the system first, which takes a lot of time. However once it is done, it will speed things up considerably.
Think of SCCM as the one place to manage your network. It can handle deploying Windows updates, deploying software, deploying images, remote controlling PCs, lots of reporting, backups, etc, etc. It brings everything together.
In the 2012 version it will also have cloud computing and management.
SCCM integrates with MDT 2012, WDS, etc.

While it is quite a learning curve it is well worth taking the time to learn it and configure correctly.
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