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MDT 2010: Getting the basics in place

As promised, I’m finally blogging about my experiences so far in using MDT 2010 to deploy Windows 7 in our computer rooms. It’s been a steep learning curve; frustrating at times, rewarding at other times. I’m going to split up my findings over a number of posts, which should make things easier to read.

For the deployment server, I recommend a bare metal server, or a server running under VM software that properly supports multicasting. I had a server all set up and ready to deploy, only to discover that Citrix XenServer is very fussy about passing on multicast packets. I haven’t had the chance yet to dig in depth to figure out how to sort that issue out. Instead, I returned an ancient Pentium 4 server to service, which so far is proving fine for the job.

Here are my first steps on the road to hopeful deployment bliss:

  1. Make sure you already have Active Directory, DHCP and DNS running on the network. Deployment needs these facilities to run properly.
  2. Install, configure, update and activate Windows Server 2008 R2. This includes network card drivers, even if Server comes with a driver out the box.
  3. Install both the Deployment and Transport Server roles of the Windows Deployment Services role. This is needed to enable multicasting.
  4. Optional – install Daemon Tools so that you can mount ISO images rather than needing to work with DVD’s. Makes life easier and faster from what I’ve found.
  5. Install the Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit (AIK), available from Microsoft’s website. File is about 1.7GB in size.
  6. Download and install the supplemental pack for the AIK, as this version matches the versions of Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.
  7. Download and install the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 Update 1.
    At this point, stop working on the server. The basics are in place hardware wise, but the network needs to be checked if it will properly support multicasting. If you have unmanaged switches, you should be ok to proceed further without needing to change anything. If you have managed switches, make sure to turn the IGMP protocol on, as well as any IGMP filtering options if they are available. You will need to refer to the manufacturer’s manuals for this as each switch is different.
    We are well on our way to having the base of the deployment solution in place now. In the next post, I will continue with the configuration of the various components of the solution.
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