Just a bit of info for those who are considering using WDS Dynamic Driver Provisioning to add hardware support to Windows images, and also for anyone who is curious to know how we provide operating system support to the myriad of PCs, servers and laptops out there on campus
In order to fully support Windows 7 client deployment and to start to wind-down support for Windows XP, recently we converted 2 out of 3 of our Mixed-mode WDS servers to Native Mode. The Native Mode servers run on Server 2008 R2 and therefore include the option to use Dynamic Driver Provisioning (DDP).
So what is DDP and why is it good for us?
Microsoft tell us that this new WDS functionality provides the following benefits:
- Eliminates the need to add driver packages manually by using the tools in the Windows Automated Installation Kit.
- Minimizes the size of install images.
- Makes it easier to update and manage drivers because the drivers are stored outside the images.
- Eliminates the need to maintain multiple images for different hardware configurations.
- Eliminates the need for additional tools to manage drivers (for example, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) or non-Microsoft solutions).
- Eliminates the need to use an Unattended installation file to add drivers.
And Microsoft are quite right. So far, DDP is working beautifully in our environment. I wont say it’s not a little clunky in places, because it is. Certainly some of the Filters could be better. But this will hopefully come in later versions.
For us, DDP is the perfect solution because we don’t need anything fancy to deploy our operating system images – the MDT is a sledgehammer to crack a nut in our environment, where software is deployed separately using Group Policy and SpecOps (http://www.specopssoft.com/web/home.aspx).
For those who are interested in the detail of how we use DDP here at Newcastle, please feel free to browse my setup notes