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Deploying Win2k3 with WinPE 2.0


noacess
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Heyas,

I"m currently looking to redo my imaging process and was hoping to get some advice from you guys. My company deploys win2k3 boxes on a few different hardware platforms (mostly IBM 3650s and Compaq 370 G2s with some variants mixed in). Our network has no DHCP and we also have no physical access to the servers we build. The servers are housed in data centers in 2 different states. All builds have to be done through RSAs and RIBs. Here are some of the things I'm shooting for:

1. A single image for all hardware per OS - this is to make it easy to keep up to date

2. As automated as possible - I'd really like to be able to just boot into winPE, set the IP information, choose an image, and walk away to a fully built and configured server since doing anything through an RSA is just painful

3. I'd like to be able to easily move to a system that has PXE boot capabilities in case I can ever convince the higher ups to allow for DHCP.

So how do you guys think I should go about doing this? I was thinking using of winPE 2.0 to connect to a share I setup to pull down images. After the image is laid down I'd have to figure out a way to edit the sysprep.inf so the server configured itself correctly when it booted back up. I was also thinking maybe there is a way to use WDS to automate that part. I'm really pretty lost in all the different ways to go about doing this. If anyone has any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions on how I should go about doing this I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks,

noacess

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I have this environment (10 DC's, HP's, Dell's and Wb's).

A single image is possible, I know because I have one image per OS that works on all those platforms. But there are a couple of gotchas.

1) They have to all use the same HAL (If they don't, it is still possible, but not likely that you are going to be able to get that to work at your current level of knowledge), but most server grade hardware from the last 3 years or so all use the same HAL (I know that isn't universal, just what I've seen ussing mainline branded hardware from HP and Dell).

2) You can either have a single sysprep.inf with all your Mass Storage Devices (MSD) populated and rebuild your images every time you get a new MSD.

3) Or, you can use a tool called MSDInst.exe from the Microsoft Win2k3 OPK (You have to sign up as an OEM to get this). This will allow you to have a generic image (I create mine on VMWare with no extra MSD drivers), which you can do a hardware scan on the hardware, and then use the tool to inject the needed MSD Drivers into the laid down syspreped image.

Once you have your images figured out, then you get to create your WinPE Image that will work on all your hardware.

It would be possible to create a GUI that works in WinPE that would come up and allow you to input all the info you want, map a network share, lay down the image and then modify the local sysprep.inf file with the info from the input fields. Personaly, I use Autoit3 for my WinPE/Win2k3/Win2k8 scripting/GUI needs.

My system is completely automated, and WinPE is loaded via PXE

Good luck, you have laid out a large undertaking

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Same exact situation here.

I can use a stand alone PE cd that prompts for input or I can build via winPE pushed from a PXE server.

You enter the information on a web page and it gets stored in a Database. Once PE is loaded, it collects the data from the DB.

The same scripts support both building methods.

I support 52 server models across HP, Compaq (legacy boxes) IBM, Dell and Vmware.

Chris

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  • 7 months later...
Same exact situation here.

I can use a stand alone PE cd that prompts for input or I can build via winPE pushed from a PXE server.

You enter the information on a web page and it gets stored in a Database. Once PE is loaded, it collects the data from the DB.

The same scripts support both building methods.

I support 52 server models across HP, Compaq (legacy boxes) IBM, Dell and Vmware.

Chris

Can i have technical documentation

Bachi

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