Advantages of using the ZTI approach for Windows deployment

LTI (Lite Touch Installation) is a high-volume deployment strategy for small to midsized organizations that combines the use of MDT with Windows Deployment Services, a server role of Windows Server 2008 and later that allows new computers to be deployed through network-based installation. By including Windows Deployment Services in the deployment infrastructure of your production environment, target systems such as bare-metal servers can PXE-boot using the LiteTouchPE_x64.wim boot image created when you update the deployment share in the MDT Deployment Workbench.

ZTI (Zero Touch Installation) is a high-volume deployment strategy for midsize to large organizations that combines the use of MDT with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), which is part of the System Center family of products from Microsoft.  Compared to the LTI approach that uses MDT with Windows Deployment Services, the ZTI approach to deployment using SCCM provides the following additional benefits:

  • Support for replication. (MDT requires using Distributed File System Replication.)
  • Support for performing multicast deployment. (MDT requires using Windows Deployment Services.)
  • Support for the bandwidth management of image transfers.
  • Support for reporting on driver availability for devices across your organization.
  • Support for complex repartitioning schemes and the formatting of disks. (This can also be done using MDT, but it requires custom scripting using Diskpart.)
  • Tolerance of poor or intermittent network connectivity.
  • Support for client operating system–initiated deployment.
  • Support for fully unattended deployment.
  • Support for offline deployment from media and CD/DVD spanning.
  • Support for encryption and password protection.

Although SCCM can be used by itself for deploying Windows to target systems, integrating MDT with SCCM provides certain additional advantages, such as task-sequence templates for different types of deployment scenarios, wizards to create packages and task sequences from MDT templates, wizards to create new boot images, and more.

To deploy Windows Server 2012 using the ZTI approach, you should use the following:

  • MDT 2012 Update 1
  • SCCM 2012 with Service Pack 1

Mitch Tulloch is a eight-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization.  This tip was excerpted from his new book Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 Training Guide published by Microsoft Press which is available from Amazon.  For more tips by Mitch you can follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.

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