Good morning. I have 50 new PC's I have to roll out in the next month. All of them already have Windows 7 Professional installed, but nothing else. My options are to either capture an OS image with all of my applications installed and deploy that image to my new machines, or to provision each machine with a template that installs all of my desired apps and joins the PC to our domain. What are the advantages/disadvantages to these approaches?
In simple terms, provisioning is far more flexible and if you build using that you have a longer-term solution that means you can be installing the latest version of apps etc and flexibility for different builds. Drawback is that it does take time and effort to build a solid structure that gives the benefits.
OSD on the other hands is what you might call 'Quick & Dirty'. If you have a lot of one type of system and they are all going to be an identical build then you will get faster results by taking the image and blasting it back out via OSD. It can still handle different hardware types providing you sysprep correctly. Drawback is really the embedding of your apps. The day you lock that image is the day it starts going out of date. If you need to update the apps and the default patch level then you need to update the image.
If you have a regular influx of new machines and these have varying builds, then Provisioning is probably worth you invesing the time in. If this big batch is an unusual thing, then you might be better off short-term with plain OSD.
Anyone else got any thoughts?
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Thanks. We're at the tail end of our periodic desktop replacement, so getting this many at once only happens every few years. The only situation where I see myself reusing the captured image is if I have to completely reimage a damaged computer in the future.
It sounds like deploying an OS image would certainly help get them out the door faster, but for long-term management, provisioning is better?
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OSD Scripts are good for simply installing the OS. You can add software packages using the sysprep runonce commands but that method makes troubleshooting very hard. You could reimage the machine and then create a policy to deploy the packages assigned ot the new machine.
Best idea would be to learn how to use provisionign templates. They are very robust and allow you to add distribution packaes that will be auditable.
You can find a good deal of information on provisioning below, or contact your ESP to see if they can offer assistance.
Thanks for the response. I've configured a couple of provisioning templates since I asked this question, and they appear to be playing nice with my new hardware.