Hydrating Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 is already available in beta, but many companies are just getting up to speed using MDT 2008 for their deployment needs, not to mention the numerous companies that are still working with BDD 2007.  Microsoft’s deployment solutions are surely fast moving these days.

What I missed in the documentation of MDT 2008 is a way for me as a consultant to set up an MDT environment with sources, settings and images, and being able to deploy these sources, settings and images to a client’s MDT.  This because most clients have similar set up environments, with all similar starting sources.  It is no use to send the first half day of your consulting job importing sources you have already imported numerous times for other clients and yourself.

Ben Hunter described in 2007 a procedure he called hydratation, where he set up an BDD 2007 environment and uses this source environment to hydrate client environments with sources and settings.

This procedure is remarkably similar to what is needed to set up an MDT 2008 environment.  Once your MDT 2008 environment is to your liking, you can simply copy the Distribution folder on the newly created Distribution folder at your client’s MDT environment.  Make sure to change all product keys and customer specific data, and recreate the builds necessary.

This procedure is also useful if you want to copy the customer’s MDT onto another machine.

  1. Install MDT 2008 and the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK)
  2. Create a new distribution share directory
  3. Copy the files from your source distribution share directory over to your newly created distribution share directory
  4. Set up the necessary deployment points, copying the settings from your source environment

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