Installing Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 Using IMAGEX


Introduction:

Below are the steps to prepare winPE image along with Imagex utility for windows 7 deployment.Windows 7 imaging and deployment can be done using either WAIK / MDT 2010. WAIK include many additional tools such as IMAGEX, SYSPREP etc. I am demonstrating the procedure to capture windows 7 operating system using IMAGEX utility which is equivalent ot Acronis or other ghost utilities.

Microsoft has published my TechNet article explain the steps involved in installation of windows server 2008 and windows 7 OS..

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/simplifying-windows-server-2008-and-windows-7-imaging-using-imagex.aspx

IT Infrastructure Planning Requirements.


I am starting up the Infrastructure design category into my blog and will be explaining certain scenario based on the infrastructure. The idea for creating infrastructure component design is

  • To assist architects or decision makers
  • To get more ideas from experts all over the world which would give me more understanding of simplest to complex environments.

 

Most organizations irrespective of size would have multiple branches with several computers running different applications which might range between commercial , business or in-house applications performing certain tasks. And company would require IT engineers / IT administrators to manage the systems. Following are few of the major components which has to be considered

  • Network management
  • Server Management
  • Storage Management
  • Security Management
  • Selecting Operating System
  • Desktop Management
  • Active Directory Management
  • Group Policy Management
  • Application Management
  • Messaging Management

 

The above are the building blocks require to form a complete solution ( there might be many other , but I have targeted major components )

a)      Network Management : This is the heart of any organization , irrespective of the organization size and type , network management plays key role which involves selecting appropriate network devices and plan for ISOLATION. Network engineers should understand how to route the data between

  • Intranet and Internet
  • DMZ and Internet
  • DMZ and Intranet
  • VLAN configuration
  • Wireless Routing

  Once they have laid out the plan regarding the devices they install and the Communication channel, its time for them to plan regarding the devices ( layer2,  Layer 3 devices) and most importantly engineers should have the network layout

b)      Server Management : In a high level , administrators / managers should plan for number of racks , Type of hardware used for the server implementation ( HP, DELL etc.. ), placement of the servers would be the key aspect.

c)      Storage Management: This would be one of the key aspect , because entire 0rganization data would be placed in a storage which should be susceptible for failures. Sizing the appropriate storage is always challenge and the requirements always increase as the company grows. For eg: Company might be using SQL and store 10 GB data, if the company size increases then the SQL database size increases so the storage. You should select the appropriate storage vendor such as

Hitachi or EMC , because I see only these are the major market players as of 2010 . Then vendors would configure the storage appropriately for the number of LUN’s , RAID ( any level ) , Data Deduplication etc..

 

d)      Security Management : This falls into most interesting component, security should be provided for every component we install in our organization but due to Revenue, cost , and experience organizations would implement intermediate solution for managing their data. Security does mean securing data, it means securing their intellectual property which are in form of e-documents. Different organizations have come up with different technologies to provide security management and have divided into hardware and software security management. Hardware security management is provided by Firewalls, Switches also software companies have come up with Software Firewalls  providing another layer for security which include Microsoft Forefront and other products. We have to make sure you secure

  • Email security
  • Documents security ( certificates,  )
  • Application security
  • Data Security (IPsec / Firewall which are at packet level )
  • Desktop client security.
  • Protecting servers

 

e)      Selecting Operating System : Most of the organizations should choose between the client and server operating systems. Selecting client operating system would have less choice and most organizations would opt for Microsoft released versions of client operating systems, Microsoft has simplified the management of the client operating system while providing the robust security when compared to XP operating system and Windows 7 operating system but you would still need to manage them. Selecting the server side operating system is always tricky and it would fall between the expertise of each organization , most legacy managers would opt for UNIX operating systems for enterprise but one who has evaluated Microsoft flavor would opt for Windows 2008 flavor operating system. Unlike Unix or Linux Microsoft servers provide administrators many UI applications which give centralized administrations for the administrators and ease the effort of monitoring them.

f)        Desktop Management:  This is one of the interesting portion which requires customization at various levels. Administrators / System Engineers should carefully architect the deployment , management, policies , patch management for  the clients which they install. Some of the major and critical components of Desktop Management are

  • Image Creation and Deployment using MDT 2010 / BigFix / Landesk /WAIK /Symantec Ghost
  • Lock down the Client Operating System W.R.T Internet Explorer, hard disk usage, software installations, drivers installations, Windows explorer options, Windows Update, NIC configuration, protecting windows registry
  • Integrating ITSM for management of desktop change requests.

 

g)      Active Directory Management: This depends on the organizations, AD has eventually became de-facto Directory management system for SME / Enterprise level organizations who want to have centralized management of their clients deployed across the globe. A dedicated planning needs to be in place which planning for Active Directory because Microsoft directory structure provides functions which are complex , secured and requires skill-full engineers to architect and implement the same. AD management includes major roles like creating OU, AD sites, Managing Replication, Creating Trusts, AD migration and AD backup – Restore. And the most major skill would be troubleshooting AD related errors should be considered.

h)      Group Policy Management: It is one of the most important component of server and client operating system management. Administrators can use Group policy to lock down the clients and server roles, features and perform various tasks such as Software deployment, Driver deployments , Power Management etc. These were earlier managed by 3rd party applications which customers need to purchase, but Microsoft provide these functionalities free of cost.

i)        Messaging Management: Messaging has evolved over 2 decades and there are strong players in market providing messaging solutions such as Microsoft, VMWare. Organizations have implemented Microsoft Exchange , Lotus Notes at high scale and now VMWare has introduced Zimbra which is slowly acquiring market. When selecting messaging solution , you should choose the following

  • Messaging Security ( Microsoft Edge , Symantec Bright Mail )
  • Messaging solution deployment strategy ( Deploying diff roles )
  • Database Consideration ( Number of mail boxes and size )
  • Storage solution ( FC / ISCSI )
  • Performance Monitoring.

j)        Application Management: Unlike the above considerations, organization view of application management solely depends on the product that organization is supporting, This falls under 2 major aspects

  • Product Based Company
  • Services Oriented Company

            The above both have their own limitations, designing a plan in product based is totally different from Services oriented company which I will be covering in different blog. Following are some of the major considerations for the application  management.

  •  
    • Deciding the utility to keep version updates
    • Deciding the utility to develop the application
    • Deciding on managing the application
    • Utilities required to test the application
    • Utilities to debug the application
    • Infrastructure required to test and debug the application

 

I have delibrately left out the cloud infrastructure component and Virtualization component which i would be discussing seperately in my other blogs.

Based on the above categories, i will be writing infrastructure articles which would be useful for IT architects / IT consultants for considering key aspects during planning of any Infrastructure.