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