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I am on a coop internship and my previous internship experience was as a C# developer. In this internship I am working on servers and storage. I have been trained by a fellow coworker on building physical and virtual servers. We have a long checklist of things to follow when doing server builds. I was wanting to know if there was a way to automate some parts of the server build for either virtual or physical servers since I have to make builds frequently.

The task quickly becomes boring, tedious and repetitive. I don't know too much about servers and storage as I just begun so my knowledge on that sector is little. We use Vmware tools mainly. Is there code I can write or freeware I can use to automate part of the physical/virtual server builds?

We build mostly windows server 2008 R2 or windows server 2012.

Virtual machines are MUCH easier to build since we just deploy them from templates. Physical servers take FOREVER.

I found this article but it isn't useful to me very much because it only caters Windows server 2003 build versions:

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Many of the places I've worked in the past use VMware templates or imaging. The nice thing about imaging is setting up your server once and then deploying it to multiple machines.

Windows Deployment Services does support server OSes for imaging, and is free to use with your licensed copy of Windows Server. You will need volume licenses to go with that as well, however.

You can then script as much of the post-image process as possible in the scripting language of your choice.

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VM server builds are fairly easy. The ones that take FOREVER are the physical server builds. This is actual servers on which we must install the os and do configuration etc....Does your solution work for that as well? – Resfap Serag Jun 28 '13 at 13:16
Yes, WDS is specifically for physical hardware. – Katherine Villyard Jun 28 '13 at 15:07

The main tools for this on Windows are WDS and MDT.

If you have SCCM (which is not free) then the functionality of these two products, plus others, are rolled in. If you have a large number of servers, you should be deploying a base OS using SCCM or WDS and then using a configuration management tool like SCCM to push apps and config to each.

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I dont know too much about this topic but I know we do have SCCM. Is it very difficult for a beginner to automate the build process? – Resfap Serag Jun 27 '13 at 18:24

You might want to look into vagrant up as well, especially if you choose virtualbox as your platform.

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