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I've been given the task of defining a server build and build process for a move to Windows Server 2008 for a few hundred physical machines and a few hundred VMs.

I'm from a Solaris background and am trying to pick things up from someone who has moved on and left no documentation for previous processes.

I have discovered various Microsoft tools, including WDS, WAIK, MDT, but I'm struggling to find anything that gives a coherent overview of how they fit together and how to do it. (I fear that my reliance on googling will not serve me as well for MS products).

I realise that this is a big topic, but is anyone able to make any recommendations as to the best tools and techniques for creating a Windows Server 2008 build including applications.

Thanks in advance. Tom

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If your looking for overview architectural descisions for Windows Servers and differing roles then have a look at Microsoft's Infrastructure Planning and Design documents. It's very thorough, at a high level covering all the different services that encompass a Windows Server deployment.

This may help your understanding but from what is sounds like you don't have a green field, all your doing is moving existing infrastructure that's already been designed to 2008, which has it own problems.

As suggested for a large server deployment then you should look at System Centre Configuration Manager This used to be called Systems Management Server (SMS) in Win2k3.

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This is just to start with, but I would use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT). It uses WAIK internally (to create a boot cd/dvd for starters). The only thing you should use WDS for is to PXE-boot the MDT boot image.

If you need zero touch refresh/update capabilities, add SCCM to the mix (which will still use templates and other stuff from MDT).

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