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Creating Task Sequence media for Prestaging environemnts

    Question

  • Hi ,

    Can anyone guide me how to go about staging task Sequence Prestaged Media in MDT 2012? Looking for some pointers how to embed everything (Wim,Task sequence etc. in one ) so that vendor can just take it and deploy it in bulk in offline mode from domain.

     

    Regards, 

    Monday, March 25, 2013 7:17 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    I am currently working with DELL to provide the same thing for our customer. What we do is that we place certain steps of our task sequence twice because our onsite deployment immediatly asks for the hostname username and user locale when we want to deploy our operating system build. Since this is not possible to do in the factory you need to place this step at a later time. For example when the machine arrives out-of-the-box prestaged with the operating system image and drivers installed.


    What we have done, and what you can do is define those steps with a condition. DELL uses the TS variable "CFI" so if CFI = TRUE some steps are skipped whilst other are executed. This way you can perform things you cant do in the factory afterwards.


    hope this helps :)


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards

    Monday, March 25, 2013 9:33 AM
  • Hi Rens,

    Let me understand this ...so you will create all the TS (with Wim, applications, drivers) in MDT 2012 and then  Export the entire deployment share to DELL, they will deploy the images to Laptop in factory, hand over the laptops to your customer and customer again runs the MDT TS in there environment? Sorry I am getting bit confused with this creating image, packaging the entire TS,  shipping it to hardware vendor factory,.. can you pls. refer me to some link or provide more inputs to get more insight on this whole TS prestaging media thing. Do we control it through 'DeploymentType' property in MDT 2012 (I mean packaging the whole wim,applications etc in one package for handing over it to Factory?

    Regards,

    Monday, March 25, 2013 2:32 PM
  • Hi,

    Let me explain, we create our prestaged media for DELL as an offline ISO. this ISO is uploaded to DELL and DELL performs and offline deployment in the factory for 50%.

    Our OS build uses steps like domain join, prestaged business applications etc. which cannot be prestaged in the factory at DELL. What we have build is that the machine can be deployed two ways:

    1. On site, where a full deployment is done

    2. At the DELL factory, where only the operating system source/setup files are copied to the disk, the operating system is setup, and the drivers are installed. Then the machine automatically shuts down, to continue with the next step as soon as it hits one of our company's main sites where it will be deployed with the support of an onsite support employee.

    To achief this, we use the task sequence variable CFI = true, which prevents the request of the hostname and user locale at the beginning of the task sequence, but will be executed further on the task sequence as the operating system has shut down.

    I have attached a copy of our task sequence, but if you have a vendor you can attend this matter to, it would be better in my opinion to do that as they are specialized in factory deployment. Hope this helps :)

    Edit keep in mind this is used for SCCM, with MDT perhaps there is some need of modifying certain steps, but at least it should provide you with the insight how this task sequence should look like


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards


    Monday, March 25, 2013 3:32 PM
  • Hi,

    If your still offering to share your task sequence, I would be like to see.   We looked at using the Dell factory process, but we didn't see a way to do what your described, the post factory process of renaming computer.  The post factory app installs, was simple, but since the rename computer sequence is at the beginning by default, we didn't know how to call that sequence at first boot after factory.   

    Thanks,

    Eric

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013 3:03 AM
  • Hi,

    So DELL performs and offline deployment in the factory

    Hi,

    Thanks for detailed explanation. So CFI=True is a task sequence variable, which you set TRUE at 'DELL CFI Integration' and system shutdowns at this point. Once system is shutdown it is shipped to the location that has connectivity with the domain (basically on the site) and then on site engineer switch on the system to carry on the 50% installation. When system is bought onsite, it must have a access to sccm infrastructure now for 50% remaining tasks? or 50% is still carried through ISO media only? Just wondering how the switch on activity will take forward the remaining 50% remaining tasks..can it be boot on PXE or need to continue with offline ISO only?

    Regards,

    Wednesday, April 03, 2013 6:01 PM
  • Hi, correct :)


    When the system is shipped on site it will continue for the remaining tasks. If the system comes onsite out-of-the-box it needs to be staged for the full 100% because it is empty or preloaded with an different OS, and the vendor did not preload our build.


    Onsite we also deploy our system with USB because our infrastructure is not ready for massive online deployment, so either way we use offline media to stage our machine. But this doesn't mean that you cannot embed an domain dependency (domain join for instance) we only use the ISO to offload our network basically.


    Because all the contents are loaded by DELL, DELL will also take care of the clean-up phase at the end to deliver the machine as intended. It will not use PXE boot.


    Hope this clarify's everything you wanted to know :)


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards

    Wednesday, April 03, 2013 6:24 PM
  • Hi,

    In your case it looks like you create a prestage media with vanilla OS i.e. without any customizations. but in my case, we are building WIM with provisioned apps, systemlocale settings, OEM Information so that only renaming and joing domain can be done on site and rest done at the factory. Not sure if this is the right approach...now situation is we build the reference system, capture the image and eventually since reference computer goes through sysprep, final image that we get actually loose customizations. How is it done in your environment? r u not doing the syspre for WIM that you rapping with sccm in prestage media ISO?

    Is it a goo idea to just capture the partition using DISM\ImageX without sysprep since target hardware will be the same to retain the customizations? once WIM is there we can use config manager to create a prestage media out of this WIM. I am stil thinking how to deal with computer name, domain join and other input settings that comes up when system boots first time if we are not going through as our vendor? 

    Any input will be appreciated.

    Regards,

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013 8:45 PM
  • No you're wrong, in my case we already use our reference image with Office 2010, 8 mui packs, Visual C++ 2005/2008/2010 and other common general user applications. All user and system variables are done with a custom build HTA, from where we can edit the hostname, change the user language and locale and so on and so forth. I can assure you this is the right approach, it is a trajectory we have entered with assistance of DELL which in their turn work closely with Microsoft on this kind of things.

    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013 8:58 PM
  • Hi,

    So what should be approach for us if we don't have much support from factory vendor and we need to give a master WIM file?

        I am planning for below, not sure how far its a workable approach for factory type deployment:

                - Deploy windows 8 to the reference computer using MDT

                - Deploy all the software, customer customizations and other core, LoB softwares on the system MDT

               - Don't SYSPREP the system (to maintain customizations)

                - Capture a WIM file using DISM (to maintain all the customization)

              - Once I have WIM, Inject offline drivers to the image using DISM

             - copy this WIM file to SCCM 2012, run prestage media TS and use this WIM as source.

              - Have new WIM (that will have my source WIM, WIN PE components rapped )

             - Hand over stuff to factory for bulk deployment

           - Once device is on-site, power on the device (hopefully it should connect with the Config manger for TS)

            - Continue with the Config manager TS to have computer name, domain join , any other post stage software\policy applied to the end user machine.

            Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Regards,

    Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:11 AM
  • MS Expert, which vendor are you working with and do they even have scenario like DELL? I'm getting the feeling here we are designing the solution for you. You're first question was straight forward for which I gave you a very detailed answer. "There's no such thing as a free lunch".

    • If you want to deploy Windows 8 with MDT to create an reference image/build on a computer or virtual machine, OK good. It's a best practice to build your reference WIM with MDT
    • Deploy software that is independent of SID's, so that if you're machine get's sysprepped and provided with a new SID this doesn't impact your environment (app's which rely on unique SID's should not be incorporated into your WIM!!!)
    • Find out which customizations are affected by sysprep. If you choose to do a "sysprep /generalize" then yes, settings will be reverted to default, but for instance a custom default user profile, with custom themes and other modifications should work if you only execute sysprep. See this KA for more info: Sysprep Command-Line Syntax 
    • Capture with a sysprep and capture task sequence of MDT to create your reference WIM
    • Once you have the WIM, inject drivers not in the WIM, but afterwards apply driver package with SCCM or target the correct drivers with MDT and let MDT apply the drivers automatically!
    • Import the WIM into SCCM, verify your deployment task sequence and create prestaged media based on this task sequence and WIM
    • Then generated Offline media with SCCM which will generate ISO's or USB stick
    • Hand over the ISO's or USB stick to your vendor
    • Once device is on-site, power on the device for the remaining of the deployment after factory deployment
    • Your last point doesn't make sense, basically you kick of an offline task sequence when the machine is with your vendor, then put the sequence in hibernate by for example shutting your machine down and when it arrives at your site, turn it on to resume where the task sequence has left. See the image I have attached at my first post.

    So please read it again, try to understand the purpose and I would appreciate if you would mark this and my first post as answer.


    If this post is helpful please click "Mark for answer", thanks! Kind regards


    Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:43 AM