Operating System Deployment with MS Deployment Toolkit

I just deployed an 8GB image to four HP/Compaq 6510b laptops.

Amazingly, the image write over the LAN to all four machines took under 8 minutes!!! This was significantly faster than 20 minutes with earlier attempts. The specs of the setup are as follows:

Hardware:

  1. 1 Cisco Catalyst 3560G 24 port gigabit network switch
  2. 1 HP / Compaq 8000 Elite Ultra-Lite workstation
    • Intel Core 2 Duo @ 3.00 GHZ
    • 3.46 GB RAM
    • 1GB onboard NIC
    • Hitachi Travelstar Hard Drive (HTS725025a98a364) 2.5″ SFF SATA Hard Drive, 250GB, 7200RPM, 16MB Buffer
  3. 4 HP / Compaq 6510b laptops

Software:

  1. Windows XP Service Pack 3 (x86)
  2. Microsoft Deployment Workbench Version 5.1.1642.01
  3. Windows Automated Installation Kit 6.1.7600.16385
  4. 8GB Windows XP SP3 Image, originally ported from a Ghost capture.

Nonetheless, I think the major speed improvement came from using the enterprise-grade Cisco Catalyst 3560G switch.

I used WinPE and the WAIK to convert the orginal Ghost Image to ImageX and easily added the image file to the Operating Systems node of the Deployment Workbench. I configured the Task Sequence with the defaults of deploying an operating system, but excluded the state capture, windows Update (Pre/Post-Application Installation) as well as Capture Image. Placing the boot media on a USB proved nothing but efficient.

Being very pleased with these results, I will investigate more complicated deployments, as well as scripting unattended post-sysprep operations.

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