Virtualizing WDS Server role into VMware in the data center

Hi All,

I'd like to virtualize the existing WDS Server 2012 Physical server as VMware VM (new server running 2012 R2) in the data center, so my question is that what other thing should I need to know or consider ?

The workstations are all in the Head Office site while the VM infrastructure is on the Data Center, running Dark Fibre 1 GBps.

Can I specify the workstation image into the NAS in the Head Office while the WDS Server 2012 R2 VM is on the Data Center to deploy to the Head Office workstation ?

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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAsked:
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Joshua GrantomSenior Systems AdministratorCommented:
You wouldn't be able to do this with WDS alone. You will need to use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and DFS to distribute images to branch offices. Your best bet would be to search for

Using MDT with WDS
Setting up DFS for MDT

I would also take a look at this blog. It is a little dated but once you get a good understanding of how it all comes together, you should be good.
Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
ok, apologize in advance because I'm not familiar with all of these technologies. This was simply a task that I take in my new company managing legacy Win 2012 WDS physical box.

So in this case Apart from just deploying Win 2012 R2 VM with WDS role enabled, I need to have another server running as MDT ?
Virtualising WDS isn't going to cause you any issues, I have done this and I have also done it with MDT also.

Its difficult to know from your question whether you are asking if it is ok to virtualise the role or whether you want clarification on your WDS deployment....
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Joshua GrantomSenior Systems AdministratorCommented:
Virtualizing the role isnt the issue. What you are wanting to do is host the WDS server at one physical location and access images that are stored at another physical location. The only way to do that is through MDT. WDS does not support network paths, DFS, or anything besides local image hosting. Unless something changed recently.
I appreciate that isn't an issue, but that is the clarification asked in the first part of the question - there are essentially two questions here.

Can I virtualise this role?


What are the implications of running this role if it is not running on the same site as the workstations? (which I believe is the second question)

@ITSystemEngineer - Would I be right in assuming that the current physical WDS server is on the same site as the workstations?  As Joshua correctly states, this would require the MDT role which can be run on your WDS server also.
Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
@DLeaver: yes, that's correct. At the moment the server is an old Physical box in the HQ office. My plan is to deploy VM in the data center to do the same thing but the workstation image is located separately in another NAS lcoation because all of my VMFS data store for the VM are running on SSD (All Flash Array).

So instead of deploying VM with WDS service, I need to have physical machine still to run the MDT role in my head office for the Windows Server 2012 R2 ?
As Joshua points out, you won't be able to use just WDS if you relocate the server to another subnet/site, this is due to the way WDS communicates with PC's to deploy images.  If you do move it you will still need a server onsite which would hold the images.  DFS is recommended as this allows you to build the images on the DC VM and then replicate them to the second site, so that they can be deployed locally to the required site

The link Joshua has provided in his first post gives an excellent step by step breakdown of how to set up MDT, and as stated earlier you can set this up on your WDS server rather than build a new role.
Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
ok, so in this case I will still need to have a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM running in my HQ Office to serve as the MDT and the DFS connection for the image storing the images ?

While the Windows Server 2012 R2 VM running in my Data Center can just serve as WDS ?
Joshua GrantomSenior Systems AdministratorCommented:
Datacenter - Server with WDS, MDT and DFS installed

HQ Office - Server with MDT and DFS.

Depending on your network speed, you can run the PXE boot installer image from the datacenter as its not that big. Also depending on your network you will have to setup DHCP options for the boot images (66 and 67 I believe?) or have IP helpers.

When you select the LiteTouch image you want to install, that is when it is redirected to the HQ Office share to pull the replicated image instead of trying to get it from the datacenter. This does require some setup as mentioned in the blog I posted previously.

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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks !
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