Deploying Server 2008R2–No DVD, No USB boot option–WDS saves the Day!

So I had a challenge last night.  I got my hands on an older server that had 1gig of ram, mirrored SCSI drives an a CPU that support Server 2008R2.  But there was a catch.

The system had the following limitations

1) No DVDrom available (Only CD)

2) Would not boot from USB

3) the iDrac option did not emulate DVD

So normally you would say “Why bother?  Get a real machine and be done!”

Well I would except that the CPU WAS an x64 Xeon and I just hate wasting good working hardware.    I kept thinking “Wow!  This would be a beautiful box to run Server 2008R2 core on as a new Domain Controller!”

So how did I solve this?

In my case I already had an environment with WDS (Windows Deployment Services) and MDT 2010 Update 1 (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit).

With this in hand I needed to only import the Server 2008R2 media, create a Task sequence for that Deployment and add the X64 boot file to WDS.   I will go into this in another post as I think it’s interesting to see how simple the process is to build this environment (WDS/MDT).  I thought I’d share this with you for one reason.  MDT is free to download and use.  WDS is a built in feature of Server 2008 and Server 2008R2.  This is just a free built in feature you can leverage now in your environment.

WDS is the component that allows to “PXE boot” from your network card allowing you to boot a system that has NO O/S, DVD Media or USB mounting a thin/os over the wire.   MDT creates a Deployment point that has EVERYTHING you need to do a basic LTI (Lite Touch Install) of your Windows Operating System.

With the pair of these combined most people think “Deploy Multiple Workstations” and the rest falls out of their heads.   But it also allows you the flexibility to install CURRENT software on systems that might not normally allow the install.   Do you have a Xeon class server in the backroom?   Wouldn’t it be nice to repurpose that as a test Web server under Server 2008?  But it has no current CD?  SOLVED with WDS and MDT!

I will sit down and write some posts on MDT in the very near future.  Getting it into WDS is easy, Creating LTI images is a breeze and creating a “Near ZTI” install is almost child’s play.

But for the moment, I’m just happy I had it handy.   I’m now enjoy my new Server 2008R2 DC on a computer that would have been tossed Smile

The Energized Tech

TEC 2011–The Experts Conference Day 2

And so the day began.  Up at 5 am (yeah I was awake before the alarm clock!) and quite literally jumped out of the bed.   

I was down stairs so early the Registration booths weren’t even open, breakfast wasn’t ready, BIRDS were still yawning.

So yes.  I was excited.

For in this conference I was sitting not only with fellow Powershell MVP’s, Community leaders and Powershell Enthusiasts, the Best and Brightest of Powershell were there as well.  You couldn’t swing a CAT without hitting something or somebody that was deep into Powershell here.  Both the FATHER and the GODFATHER of Powershell (Jeffrey Snover and Bruce Payette) were here.  Ed “Hey Scripting Guy” and Theresa “Scripting Wife” were here.  James O’ Neill (Creator of the Hyper-V Cmdlets on Codeplex, Don Jones…. I keep looking and my brain starts to spin.

Just about EVERYBODY is HERE!

I spent the day checking in sessions, checking out people, touching base, Grading scripts for the Scripting Games, prepping for my presentation for tomorrow.

People are looking at me. “You think this is fun?”

Ahem.  Let me restate.  I LOVE POWERSHELL.  Anything and anywhere I can go that helps me help others with it (Whether integrating, using or even just encouraging others to get the courage to speak) I will go without question.

and so I am here, in Las Vegas.  Hoping to help somebody change their own day tomorrow in whatever way I can.

TEC 2011–The Experts Conference Day 1

And so I am awake, staring at the time on my laptop reminding me quite indignantly that I forgot to adjust for the Time Zone.

The first 24 hours for me have been “Eventful” to say the least.   Ok not the conference.  Not YET.

Adventure #1 – Airport Time – I got out of the house at a decent hour.   Had a fail in the airport (Past Airport Security and I couldn’t find my boarding pass, which was very INCONVENIENTLY sitting in front of my on my coat), was awaiting my flight only to find out it had been “bumped” (I was getting paged in the airport).  But the “Bump” was good.  It was 10 minutes earlier and I was “Bumped” to first class for my Final Leg to Vegas.

Off the Airport I have NEVER seen anything like THIS.  The city is ONE GIANT SLOT MACHINE!  


Adventure #2 – Play “Catch a cab” – Actually that wasn’t an adventure, I presumed I should take the “Shuttles” and asked for the cost of one to the Hotel (Mind you this was at Midnight).   I decided to grab cab instead which turned out to be only $50 and I had a great conversation with the cabbie from Philadelphia who was into Scale model trains Smile

I arrive in the hotel and an Angel comes running over.  Theresa “The Scripting Wife” Wilson ran over with a Big Hug after my long flight.   Spent a few minutes chatting away and entered…….

Adventure #3 – Checkin Time.   Turns out there was a goof on my Credit Card 4 weeks ago and the Hotel decided at 10:00am that morning to cancel my reservation without notice.   As I stood there trying contemplate what magic incantation I could Invoke with Powershell to solve this (and cast the Hotel into the Abyss of OUT-NULL) I tweeted my dismay.

“Need a place to Crash” came a Tweet from Steven Murawski.   Steven is not (and I am REALLY surprised) an MVP.   Let me publicly say this now.   Here is a person who embodies everything the MVP program is about.   Runs multiple user groups, his own Podcast and when somebody who he’s only HEARD of online was in a jam and was stuck?  He put his hand up immediately and said “Hey! Can I help out?”

THERE is EVERYTHING an MVP is.    Somebody up there please take notice of this!  Steven receives a HUGE pat on the back (and I think a REALLY decent dinner and beers on me!)

I think I was up until 2am PST chatting with Steven and James Brundage as

So I am now rested, Energized and ready to go here in Las Vegas.

Day one in “The Experts Conference”

And again