Once you've created a golden image and bootable media, the final step involved in our process is OS deployment. Here we customize the images and the deployment process, schedule it, and then initiate deployment.
For a seamless deployment process, let's discuss some best practices to be followed.
Best practices for creating bootable media
According to Microsoft, "Windows PE (WinPE) is a small operating system used to install, deploy, and repair Windows desktop editions, Windows Server, and other Windows operating systems."
Before deploying OS images, the target computer needs to be booted into this WinPE environment to prepare it for the deployment process. This process also becomes necessary while imaging offline computers. Bootable media is used to boot computers into the WinPE environment, and it can be in PXE, USB, CD, DVD or ISO format.
In this section, we will discuss some best practices to be followed while creating and using bootable media.
Pack your essentials: Hard disk and network drivers
A hard disk driver allows communication between the hard disk drives and the computer, whereas a network driver enables communication between the network connections and the computer.
You need to make sure that you have added the relevant network and hard disk drivers while creating the bootable media. These drivers should support the WinPE toolkit and the target computers used for deployment.
Keep your drivers updated
To avoid slow running speeds and other performance-related issues in your machine, ensure that your network and hard disk drivers are updated before deployment.
Updating all your drivers can also help you ward off any hacker or other malicious software that can compromise your machine. This is why it's better to add the latest drivers to your bootable media before deployment. Also, ensure the latest version of the WinPE tool is added in the bootable media.
Using OS Deployer's Scan driver repository option, you can scan your driver repository, allowing the latest drivers to be reflected in your console. This can be done once the latest drivers are added to the driver repository.
Best practices for OS deployment
Ensure uninterrupted power supply
Similar to imaging speed, the speed at which the deployment happens depends on the following factors:
- The size of the hard disk
- The RAM capacity of the computer where the image is deployed
- The bandwidth of the organization's network
The deployment duration may be longer depending on these factors, and the target computer must have a power source for the entire duration. If the system battery drops too low during deployment, it might lead to errors and failure during deployment.
Find the right address: Hard disk number
Though most computers have a single hard disk, there are some machines (for example virtual machines) that have more than one hard disk. In such cases, it is best to select the appropriate hard disk number to perform the deployment and make sure that the target computer has the required hard disk drivers to perform deployment.
To find the hard disk number:
- Open the Command Prompt.
- Execute the command diskpart.
- Execute the command list disk.
Optimize your bandwidth level
If your solution allows you to customize the deployment bandwidth, you can restrict the bandwidth usage for optimum deployment. This can prove useful if you're deploying to multiple computers, as the amount of bandwidth consumed becomes higher, resulting in slower deployment.
Multiple deployments, longer wait time
Similar to bandwidth level, specify a wait time for initiating deployment if permitted by your OS deployment solution. During this time, the server will wait for the target computers to connect and retrieve the image for deployment. It is better to have a longer wait time for multiple deployments and a shorter wait time for fewer deployments.
Enable PXE server port
During deployment, ensure that ports 67, 69, and 4011 (TFTP, DHCP) are enabled and not used by any other process, as it is used for configuring the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) server.
OS imaging and deployment is a complex and tiresome process that can be streamlined with the help of comprehensive solutions like OS Deployer. However, following the above-mentioned best practices during deployment can help you accelerate the whole process and optimize your time and effort.
Download our free e-book for more such best practices to get the most of your OS imaging and deployment process.