Friday, September 18, 2009

Windows Deployment Services 2008 R2 with Windows 7 New Features

Windows 7 together with Windows Server 2008 R2 provides other deployment enhancements including support for Dynamic Driver Provisioning, support for Multicast Multiple Stream Transfer, and support for VHD management and deployment.

Below I will be going through some of the new features of 2008 R2 WDS and Windows 7 deployment.

Dynamic Driver Provisioning

In previous versions of WDS, if a Windows image required additional device drivers, you had to add these drivers to your image by servicing your image. Ie you had to use the old PkgMgr.exe tool to inject drivers into each image as requird maintaining a bunch of seperate images. If you had many images to maintain, this could involve a lot of work.

With Dynamic Driver Provisioning, however, you can store these drivers directly on your deployment servers in a folder. Drivers can then be dynamically chosen at deployment time. Storing drivers separately from images helps minimize the size of your images and streamline image maintenance.

Multicast Multiple Stream Transfer

Multicast mode was first introduced in Windows Server 2008 to allow a Windows DS server to broadcast images to multiple client computers simultaneously. In Standard Multicast mode, however, the transfer rate was limited by the slowest client connection.

In Windows Server 2008 R2, however, Standard Multicast mode can now automatically remove slower client computers from the multicast group when the connection speed to that client falls below a specified threshold. In Multicast Multiple Stream Transfer mode, administrators can group client computers that have similar bandwidth capabilities into network streams. This ensures that the transfer rate between the Windows DS server and the client computers is as fast as possible.

Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) Image Support

Windows Vista introduced the WIM file format, a file–based disk image format that can contain one or more operating system images. A Windows DS server running Windows Server 2008 could deploy Windows Vista by applying a WIM file to the client computer.

In addition to WIM files, Windows 7 now includes native support for VHD, a file format used for virtual machines. A Windows DS server running Windows Server 2008 R2 can now deploy Windows 7 by applying a VHD file to a client computer.

Administrators can use the new DISM command-line tool to service a VHD image the same way they can service a WIM image. For example, you could use DISM to add a hotfix or package to a VHD image before deploying the image to a client computer.

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