Best way to deploy XPe Devices

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  • #392
    AvatarJoe
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    Greetings:

    I’ve been working with the v90, and my company has just purchased a large number of them. I’m trying to find the best way to mass deploy these guys.

    I’m no stranger to programs like rdeploy or ghost, and I’ve got licensing for both of them. Would it be acceptable to ghost the data partition to a file and deploy that back onto another thin client?

    Is xpe robust enough to handle something like that? I know that there are many precautions that have to be taken on XP bases systems to avoid problems such as duplicate sids, etc.

    If this isn’t a good idea, is there a way to integrate a few changes into the update “firmware” file that you can download from Wyse? I need to add a handful of files, remove a few, and set a few registry settings… Right now I’m booting up each one and running a script, and it’s working, but I want to automate the process even further, if possible.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciate!
    Thanks!
    -joe

    #9445
    AvatarMrVirtual
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    Hi Joe,

    Have you looked at the Wyse Device Manager yet? AKA Rapport.

    While I am still on the old version of this 4.4.1 new version is 4.5.1 see the article on this site.

    WDM will allow you to build a device image and redeploy this to your clients directly from the WDM server, using PXE.

    You can then image each device prior to deploying to the desktops, this product can be used in it’s free mode or you can upgrade it to a fully licensed product that provides more functionality.

    Give it a go, I have found that this is by far the best way to manage your devices and ensure that you have a standard base SOE to work from across your devices.

    Please note you only need PXE to image to deploy updates and individual packages to your devices you do not need to use PXE so you will not ‘have’ to enable XPE across your entire network.

    I’m running mine in a Virtual environment and have no performance issues.

    I hope this helps, good luck.

    #9465
    AvatarJoe
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    Thanks for the input!

    I’ve actually been playing with WDM, but using it isn’t possible for me at the moment. We’re going to be implementing a WDM server and enabling the PXE boot function, but it’s still a ways out.

    Looks like I’ll be doing manual configs until we get that setup!

    Thanks again,
    Joe

    #9472
    Avatarthinkthin
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    Hi Joe,

    Its WDM you will need. Even if its in the lab just to configure a master image. This image is “pulled” from a unit in the .i2d format, you can then use a lap top to update the device in the field but that’s slow.

    There are 2 ways to deploy devices in the field and both require WDM.

    1/ Master image. Configure a reference unit (see the evaluators guide on this site) and pull it from the unit. You then push this back to other units. This requires PXE to work.

    2/ Package Changes. Build packages with the changes you want and just deliver the changes to deployed units with a factory image. I created some samples of this in the XPe downloads section, I can configure an entire device this way without the need to push 512MB of image over a WAN and it does not require PXE. Downside is it requires much more work and an advanced knowledge of Windows XP.

    Good Luck and post if you get stuck!

    -TT

    #9496
    AvatarMrVirtual
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    Hi Joe

    TT is right you will need WDM for the imaging process.

    We deployed our devices with Rapport installed to a XP desktop to begin and this is enough to be able to build an image and take that from a device.

    Then plug it into an isolated switch and image your devices on a private network prior to field deployment.

    Any changes that we make we use rapport to deploy packages to each device which does not require PXE.

    You will need to migrate the clients to the “actual” WDM server when you get that installed but believe me this will be little work compared to manually configuring each device, which you will most likley never get all the same.

    You can also use the simple imager on a Notebook to image devices in the field if you have devices deployed and you need to change them.

    But install WDM on your PC and get started that way it will save you hours of angst.

    If you need any further help post.

    #9527
    AvatarBlackBurn
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    We do it completely different here, no offence to the other method, cause we’re looking if we can combine the two methods.

    Let’s get to the point.
    Over here we have a very simple pc outside the main network, which is a DHCP/TFTP/PXE server.
    If a Wyse is connected to this network, it gets an IP from the server and a boot-image, this boot image looks if it is a Wyse V90 or an 941GXL (the two types used in our company).

    Then ghost is started with the right image and the Wyse nc gets imaged.

    The whole process takes less then 90seconds!

    We created this method after we had some bad experience with rapport, like BSOD’s, NC’s which get stuck while imaging and the time it takes with rapport was to long.

    Afther this we had created a simple program that we call QuickNC (created with autoscript) and we run it on the NC with the right values and the NC is completely configured, the whole process including configuring the Wyse is about 5minutes.

    If interested I could post a few examples/files.

    We are now looking if we can get this process in our main network and also on our other locations, some of the difficulties is, that on the other locations (about 90) we only have a AS400 mainframe, instead of windows/linux servers. Maby WDM/rapport can help us with that, but that’s the future.

    #9533
    Avatarthinkthin
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    Nice Comments BlackBurn!

    I have used Ghost and on a network of 9455XL’s and it worked as long as you only take the second partition, not the whole disk.

    There is no right or wrong way and I love sharing ideas in forums like this! I also used the Linux “PXES” distribution on a network of 9650’s and it worked great network booting. (this distro is now commercial and called “X2”)

    With Ghost you do not capture the BIOS settings which may not be an issue, also any other method of delivering packages will need the write filter scripted off and on.

    Finally I talk a lot about WDM/Rapport as these are the tools supplied and supported by Wyse, the free version is enough for most deployments. Its not perfect but it does the job for most however as with all things in IT – what ever works for you is best!!!

    I really look forward to others posting how they deliver there XPe systems,

    -TT

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