Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 Update 1 is a solution accelerator which enables deployment of Windows 7, Office 2010 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The MDT 2010 Update 1 contains a set of comprehensive tools and guidance that enables companies to manage large-scale deployments of MS Office 2010. With MDT 2010, companies can reduce deployment time and standardise the desktop and server images to be used across the organisation enabling them to fully automate the installation process with a zero-touch deployment through the use of System Centre Configuration Manager 2007.
MDT enables LTI (Light Touch Installation) which means users are needed to turn the systems ‘ON’ before installation. The underlying toolset required by MDT 2010 is WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit) Tools. Thin images can be created through MDT and these images compartmentalises driver, applications and packages from the operating system files hence making it easier to manage the images. Clients on which the Windows 7 deployments have to be carried out are started off with a custom MDT Windows Pre Installation Environment (WinPE). The only drawback of MDT is that it doesn’t officially support .vhd image format.
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit comes in both the 32-bit as well as the 64-bit flavours. The main work area for MDT is known as the Deployment Workbench wherein the deployment professionals can find the information centre and the deployment shares. The workbench has sample guides along with the troubleshooting guides enabling ready to access help and when needed.
Deployment share is an important part of the deployment process while dealing with MDT. Deployment share is the shared folder to which the client machines or the target systems connect to for deployment. Deployment shares are to be created before the MDT can be used carry out further deployment tasks. It is always recommended that the deployment shares are created on a drive separate from the partition where the OS resides.
Operating systems othen than Windows 7 that are supported as of now by MDT are Win XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Window Server 2003 R2, Windows 2008 and Windows 2008 R2. While importing an OS the deployment team may use either the complete source or build custom .wim files.
In regards to application deployment through Microsoft Deployment Toolkit it must be noted that applications should always be deployed in a quiet mode which means a user should not be required to sit there to click on the “Next” button every now and then and the application should always install without requiring a restart. If the application performs a restart of the system, then MDT shall lose control of the deployment process and the process will not get completed. The command that controls the quiet installation and no restart is msiexec /i <name_of_the_installation_file> /qn /norestart.
The main stages involved in using an MDT are installation of the WAIK tools, installation of the MDT 2010 update 1, creation of a deployment share, importing an operating system, adding applications, adding drivers and packages, creation task sequence, updating the previously created deployment share and then deploying the Image to a blank system.