I recently finished studying for the 70-680 exam, and thought it would be interesting to set up a WDS server. Our ESXI cluster has plenty of resources and we have the licenses so I didn't see any reason why not to. There were a few moments where I stumbled into success, but for the most part it wasn't that bad to set up WDS, MDT 2012, and the Windows AIK to work on Server 2008 R2 Standard. I've since deployed 12 production machines using this method. Start to finish it takes about 20 minutes to complete. I know that everyone says that the K2000 is a very powerful appliance that makes deployment a breeze, but how does it differ from pushing a custum sysprepped wim from WDS?


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You cannot image a Mac with WDS.

I feel the big advantage for us is I can use student workers with very little training to deploy images from the k2000 vs wds.  The scripting makes the tasks easier.  I have 78 images and 80 percent of them share common tasks that I can change very quickly via Kace if needed.  The other advantage here is Desktop support has control over the k2000 enviroment not the server team were if it were on a WDS server we have none.

Answered 04/25/2013 by: SMal.tmcc
Red Belt

  • Great example SMal.tmcc!
  • I work at a college so images are our only way to go. SI's would take too long, Plus with sys-prep'd images I found a method to include all drivers dell or not without having to deal with that mid/post image

    For the administrative side I have two images (32vs64) I usually do a update every couple of months on them just to save the techs time, otherwise we only update them for major software changes. they have the basics like Java, Adobe, Firefox, Chrome, Office, etc. After the machines are joined to the domain the Wsus and k1000 do the updates/additional software, the techs just have to wait for the updates before they put the users data back

    We base our images on software license's for the classrooms. We have over 120 programs that gets installed in various locations for instruction. Some of the faculty have specific configurations that must be done for all users profiles so they can teach.

    I start with a basic image that contains software licensed for all sites, and then create site images, and finally classroom images. All based on the licenses for the software .
    Why do we do this?
    I set up the ability to wake a classroom, push a bios change via the k1000 that puts pxe first in the boot order and restarts the machines. They then check into the k2000 and find a work to do and reimage themselves, put the HDD boot first. They reboot and join the domain with the current name of the machine. They come up logged into the domain so if I need to push anything else to them, let them install any updates since the image was created, let GPO's update. Then via the deepfreeze console reboot them and install AV and Deepfreeze to lock them down. All this is now is done from an IPad by a student worker who walks thru the building monitoring the progress. this we do twice a year to 3000 machines with one K1000 and one k2000. No human factor to forget something on one machine, every machine in each room is identical

    I do many customizations to the profile, browsers, updaters and program settings that I can then sysprep to default when it is an image. I also apply the background branding PIO wants all user to get at first.
    • Plus we are now doing the same for the Graphic arts Macs and Mac classrooms
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Conceptually they are not that far apart.  What I hear from most people though is that updating the drivers can be a bit cumbersome whereas the K2000 (if you are primarily a Dell shop) has the Driver Feed that makes driver deployment a lot easier. 

Also building out the post-install tasks seems to be easier for most people. People that are not that familiar with imaging will have an easier time with the K2 opposed to a WDS server.  

If the person is familiar with imaging they will probably find the K2 a little easier than WDS but it won't be a big jump. 

Answered 04/25/2013 by: Timi
Seventh Degree Black Belt

  • I actually found that part to be pretty easy in WDS. Going to dell support I can pull in a .CAB file with all the Win PE 3.x drivers for any specific model and import them in. I can see why some would struggle with this, but I found it to be particularly easy.

    I do see the post install tasks being a huge plus. Currently I would set my K1000 to pick up any machine newer that 12 hours and have it perform the scripts, installs, and patching before deploying to a user. As with anything computer related, there's usually more than 3 ways to accomplish the exact same thing...
    • We're almost 100% Lenovo, and although we don't have the "technical" driver feed with the K2 it's not a problem to add in what we need.

      I started out doing what you're talking about. Imaging the machine, and then having the K1 push. I found that some software would get installed, and then on the exact same machine with the exact same image another set of MIs would install. I didn't take a lot of time troubleshooting because I was pressed for time, but it was just easier for me to add post installs. I have a NAS that has all my install files plus the ZIPs. If It's already ZIPed it's just as easy to include them.

      We also did image quite a bit (roughly 10,000 machines in 3 months). It would have overloaded the K1 pushing to all of those machines. I'm not sure how many machines you are managing?
      • Only managing 330 nodes total. Not hardly enough to overload anything when they're spread over 8 sites with replication shares turned up.
      • I do like your idea of the label for machines newer that 12 hours. I recently started doing that, and ran the check in script every 30 minutes against that label to ensure it received everything not included in our image. It's working great. Since we have so many machines we have an 8 hour check in. Which doesn't cut it on new installs.
      • I have another good one that will work for non server operating systems that haven't rebooted in 24 hours. Say you're trying to update them to the latest 3rd party title and you send an alert to reboot. User ignores your alert, you show up the next day, and there's still 30% of users that didn't reboot. I use a script that I've come to call the "day after" script that cleans this up. Around midnight it will issue the command to reboot so any titles set to install before login will actually happen and we get a lot closer to our 100% deployment goals a lot faster.
      • We have scheduled tasks that reboot our machines at 3 am every morning. I've thought about doing almost the same as that. I was thinking of adding something if there was a "To Install" then reboot.
      • Something like if "to install" > 0 then reboot @ 0001 hrs? Not a bad idea.
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I would prefer the K2. Integration K1 and K2. Post Install Tasks. If you ever had systems with real RAID CONTROLLERS (long time ago they were called 333 controllers because of: a real raid controller has at minimum: 1 channel, 32MB RAM and costs 300 bucks) and not the onboard stuff or similar you will love pre install tasks.

Well, I am not a real fan of Images, as images are fast but inflexible as you need to modify the image every couple of days if something has changed or you will need many steps after deploying them. If you have many different systems you may need many different images or work hard to get a master image.

Since NT4, when the unattended installation was working fine I preferred this way. So the scripted installs are my faves. With K2 it is also much easier to modify these SI if you need to do it.

But if you want the K1 takes over your steps after deploying the one or the other so you can decide.

Most important: if you can handle WDS easily there is no need to change. But you will miss many interesting things.

Answered 04/25/2013 by: Nico_K
Red Belt

  • That's interesting, I keep hearing people say they prefer SI's over images but I couldn't be more the opposite. You can do a lot with WIMs offline even, and with SI's you have to rely on the K1 or postinstall tasks to do practically everything after the fact like Windows Updates or installations. Why not just bundle all of your installs into the image in the first place to save time?
  • Thanks for the feedback Nico. I know that Microsoft capabilities like this one are fairly basic, but I wanted to get a feel for how much more the K2 does that WDS does not. There are still project dollars to be had in the future, and just because I have this working doesn't mean that it's the best fit for my environment. I'm all for the K2000, but my management would want justification for why they're spending 20K or more on another appliance to do something that can be done with means we've already paid for. Thanks again!
    • We went thru that and justified it by showing that I could maintain the entire colleges imaging needs by myself along with my other duties. WDS would have needed at least one or two dedicated staff.
  • For our size <250 employees, and 6 IT staff total including our CIO, it's tough to justify dollars. I see what you're saying that the K2000 enables you to make broad stroke changes, and that's something we could definitely use. How granular does it allow you to get?
    • you can duplicate any existing image, drop an additional post task in, save and deploy to one machine if needed. I have had to modify the registry and some files in the wim for one set of laptops. I made those changes with a new script in less then 5 minutes and they could deploy to those.
      • That's a degree of flexibility I wouldn't get with WDS. Thank you!
      • an example I one 64 bit image for desktop and laptops. the laptops need a different office and a MAK license installed. I have a script I add to the desktop deployment and now have a laptop deployment also from the same image.
      • You can copy and paste a task sequence with MDT/WDS and make changes to the newly duplicated task sequence. And it's all right there without having to go through the web interface.
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One of the major reasons we went with WDS was the ability to multicast images. As far as I know the K2000 still doesn't include this ability, perhaps that has changed with a newer version, though.

Answered 04/26/2013 by: chucksteel
Red Belt

  • That hasn't changed but a KACE rep recently told us within a year it will be implemented.
    • I used to use zen but worked around that handicap by using wims, can do machines in about the same time as zen did now.
      • Same as us, we used to use Zenworks multicasting but imaging with WIMs is so fast it really isn't a big change.
      • Right now, using a lite touch deployment I can have a machine or many machines turned out in 20 minutes. Is that typical with what you're seeing. I know that image size is a huge factor. Ours is approx 20GB.
      • ours are 12 to 32 gig in size
  • They did say at KACE User Konference this year that Q4 will bring out v6.0 for the K1000 and I forget the version number for the K2. Both will be major version changes and the benefits are supposed to be huge. I understand the Linux that the KBOX(s) run off of is being updated to a newer version that will support many of the features we've all been looking for. In the K1000 we'll get a totally customizable dashboard, customizable updated views, and SSO for starters. The biggest change for the K2000 will be the multicasting, but since Dell acquired Quest software I think we can expect some amazing things with the integration of Quest software and Dell KACE moving forward.
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I thank everyone for the responses to this question. It has given me some insight to what all the rave is about with the K2000. There are a lot of ways to deploy an image. Up until a few days ago we were still using Ghost and had to maintain an image for each different hardware configuraiton. So the step to WDS was huge for us to only have 1 image to manage. I can now see how the K2000 with or without the K1000 integration is quite a powerful appliance in it's own right. It sounds better than WDS if you need the ability to make a mass change in a matter of minutes. It also seems to have the ability to get granular if need be. Thank you everyone for the great responses!

Answered 04/26/2013 by: GeekSoldier
Red Belt

  • here is a blog on my image process a year ago, It is now a little more refined but still overall the same.
  • I am planning on implementing MDT 2012 U1 and hopefully get away from the K2000. I hope you're happy with the decision you and your team made. I enjoyed reading what everyone had to say. I'm truly trying to keep an open mind regarding the K2000 but after working with both I feel that MDT is much more flexible and easily accessible to manage. Cheers!
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