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wbeck

Improving Rebuild Time

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Hi,

I'm using SmartDeploy and WDS to install Windows 7 64-bit. You have a GREAT product! Ghost has become useless because it doesn't support WIM files and Microsoft's MDT is a mess. I followed the excellent guides and created a 6GB image from a VMWare virtual Win7 64-bit PC. Can you provide me with any tips to speed up the deployment process? It's taking about 33 minutes to deploy an image (from PXE boot to final login to Windows 7 desktop). For example, the "Deploy Wizard" GUI that says "Please wait while the image is deployed" and "Applying volume image 1 of 1, please wait" takes about 15 minutes over a 100MB network link on a 4yr old PC. I've used other tips in my automated xml file like:

<unattend_delay>10</unattend_delay>

This trick was a good time saver instead of having to wait 1 minute. I've also deleted other all the non-"Windows 7 x64" drivers from the platform packs. I ran sysprep on the image before it was captured. The rebuild process appears as:

1. SmartDeploy and "Deploy Wizard" GUI (15 minutes)

2. Reboot

3. Sysprep..."Processing generalize phase Sysprep plugins", "Setup is preparing your computer for first use" (5 minutes)

4. Reboot

5. "Setup is updating registry files", "Setup is starting services", "Setup is installing devices", "Setup is applying system settings" (9 minutes)

6. Reboot

7. "Starting Windows", "Setup is preparing your computer for first use", "Setup is checking video performance" (4 minutes)

8. Reboot

9. Windows 7 desktop appears. PROCESS COMPLETE!

It almost seems like it would be much faster to not run Sysprep (but use a utility to change the SID) and just have a separate image for each PC model. It wouldn't be hard because I could just use the same wim file and apply one model's platform pack for that model's image. Or am I missing something? Do you have any other recommendations for decreasing build time - perhaps on cutting down on the number of reboots and such? Thanks!

Wally

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Hi Wally,

Glad to hear that you like the product and it is working out for you so far.

It sounds like you have already implemented a lot of the time saving measures. At this point the area where you could realize the biggest time savings is network performance. The deployment time would be much faster if you had a gigabit connection back to the WDS server.

The other steps that you mention are per-design. Sysprep is run at deployment time, this is something that is rather unique to SmartDeploy. We do this for a number of reasons. It will allow you to keep your virtual reference machine in a usable state (sysprep can only be run three times on a machine with the default licensing reset option before sysprep will no longer work, and 9 times without the option.) Once you reach this limit you will need to rebuild your reference machine from scratch if you plan to update and recapture the image. We also use sysprep at deployment time to inject the drivers, add all options that were specified in the Deploy Wizard, and make each deployed machine unique. The time that it takes to complete the entire sysprep process, steps 3 - 7 that you have listed, is going to very based on each machine.

Changing the SID is not our main goal in running sysprep, and it's actually a common misconception that duplicate SID's on the network will cause problems, check out this post by Mark Russinovich for further details. It is obviously still recommended to run sysprep on all deployments as it does much more than update the SID. That being said using a utility to change the SID would not meet the goals that we have set in place for running sysprep at deployment time.

I also noticed that you said you are running sysprep before capturing you image. This is something that is not support and I would suggest not worrying about running sysprep at all as we will take care of that piece.

If there is anything else we can help you with please don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks,

Erik

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Erik,

Thanks for the information! The image is copied to the local PC during the "Deploy Wizard...Applying volume image 1 of 1..." phase, correct? If so, should this transmission appear in the WDS console as a multicast transmission? It's not appearing when I "Refresh" the multicast transmission. I'll need to retrace my steps using your SmartDeploy with WDS guide. Thanks for clearing up my confusion on sysprep. I did not realizes that sysprep was being run post image capture.

Wally

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Hi Erik,

It does appear that a multicast session is not occurring - this may be why to build time is taking 33 minutes. After going over the SmartDeploy/WDS blog, I receive the following error:

"Deploy Wizard...An unknown error occurred while establishing a WDS multicast session to "XX"(our WDS server name). Error code 2."

Background:

I created a multicast session on our WDS server (I created it from the same image that I selected in the SmartDeploy GUI). In the SmartDeploy GUI, I made sure to click "YES" to "Is this image a Windows Deployment Services (WDS) multicast enabled image?". I entered WDS credentials. This error occurred after the "provisioning disk" step. If I do not create a multicast session on our WDS server, I receive this error:

"Deploy Wizard...An unknown error occurred while establishing a WDS multicast session to "XX". Error code: -1054801659"

"XX" refer to the name of our server, not the FQDN though - just it's computername. I even turned off the firewall on our server - no dice. Any ideas?

Wally

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Hi Erik,

It turns out there WDS was not functioning correctly on the server. I rebooted the server and it fixed the problem. The client now appears in the WDS multicast window. Hope this helps someone else.

Wally

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Hi Wally,

Are you using the latest version of SmartDeploy 1900? You can check this by opening Platform Manager and clicking Help-->About. If you are on a version other than 1900 please update and rebuild your boot media. You will need to add this new boot media to WDS. None of your operating system images will be effected, nor will licensing as an update will install over the top of old versions. If this doesn't solve your problem please let me know and we can dive deeper.

Thanks,

Erik

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Hi Erik,

Yes, I'm using 1900. The boot media has been added to WDS. I have noticed another problem with multicasting. I'm going to do a new post. Thanks!

Wally

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