Windows Deployment Server

So I’ve learned the in and outs of Windows Deployment over the last 6 months. I’ve studied forums, blogs, etc. I would like to think of my self as a sort of expert in windows deployment technology. I’ve managed to Create a very stable and well performing windows xp image. Now I’m working on a Windows 7 image. However due to money and the ever decreasing budget my company has made the choice to limit our hardware refresh. This means no mass deployment of Windows 7. So that means that they are going to be very unwilling to  pay for a deployment server and get it running the right way. What I would consider a decent deployment server would be a box with 200GB of storage and at least 4GB Memory running Windows Server 2008 R2 with at least a dual-core CPU. Why 2k8 R2? Simple, better multi-casting than R1 and no multi-casting in 2k3 R2. The multi-casting support will save you a good deal of time during mass deployments and re-imaging systems. It puts less load on the server too. Creating images and deployment media takes up a huge amount of space and when you start capturing user states for replacing system or migration of XP to Win7 you are going to need it. Right now I’m working with a pretty sad setup. Grated I think it will work for what I want it’s not idea and I don’t think I’m going to get anything amazing from it, thus the reason for this post. What if you can’t the an Ideal setup? Right now I have a VM setup with Windows 2008 R2. This is using some storage on our SAN however its sharing the same space with other VMS and it’s not as fast as I would like it…. okay its REALLY SLOW!! My solution to optimizing the VM? Well I was able to wiggle 4 GB of RAM and access to the hosts 2 Dual-Core CPUs. That takes care of that problem. But IO was killing me!! The response times were horrible and I just couldn’t use the box. Since the virtual hard drives were set to grow as you go I knew that I would have to zero out the data drive  to get any decent performance on there. Once that was done things were a little better but I still needed a little more performance out of the box. I couldn’t get another spindle on the SAN so I created another virtual hard drive of 8GB and stored it on the hosts hard drive. I then stored the SWAP aka page file on that. My performance was instantly improved. Now I’m able to create my images, capture my user data and run all those other deployment takes using nothing but spare computing resources. Is it the ideal way to do it? Nope! But it works.