As you maybe know, I am no longer deployment specialist – now I am specializing on SBC (Server Based Computing), however I hope so there are still few comments and I left and sounds reasonal 🙂
Linux environment got big advantage with rpm packages – installation is easy. However Microsoft got same technology – Windows Installer aka MSI. Why it is not broadly accepted?
Because there is nothing like Windows Installer Express – studio to create MSI packages easily and for free. And I dont see any reason why not to have tool like this 🙁
Second tool that was missing was Windows PE available publicly for free – finally they achieved this with Windows PE 2.0, hoooooraaaaaay 🙂
Last thing I am really missing (and again, I dont see any reason, specially with Microsoft focusing on WIM today) is per-demand PXE boot.
What do I mean? Standard deployment scenario is to have some techies running around with cds and installing OS using images. More advanced scenario (including RIS or WDS) is to use PXE – principle is the same, you have techies running around, this time without CDs, they boot target computer, select boot from network and select image to install.
Looks logical, right?
But we are talking about unattended installation and running around doesnt fit to this image.
Per-demand PXE is little different – EVERY PC boots automatically to network. It finds PXE server and doesnt have any image assigned, so it automatically continue with booting regular windows. However when you want to install something – you just assing correct image on PXE server, link it with you computer MAC address and reboot target server. After reboot it links with PXE server, detect one assigned image, boots it and install automatically.
That means that to reinstall computer, you just need to reboot it or wol it (wake on lan it).
Easy and powerfull. I had solution like this implemented using ftfpd32.