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Hardware Independent Imaging with DeployAnywhere

Created: 15 Jan 2009 • Updated: 08 Feb 2013 | 3 comments
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Alon's picture
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I was a little surprised that there was no mention on the Juice of a new addition to Deployment Solution 6.9 SP1 - DeployAnywhere. This is part of the Ghost Imaging Foundation which is included with DS and provides hardware independent imaging. It will provide you the capability deploying images to dissimilar hardware. It will take care of (today) HAL, NIC and storage drivers.

Once you install/upgrade to DS 6.9 SP1 you will notice that from Tools menu you have a new option called "DeployAnywhere Driver Database Management". Also, when creating a deploy image job you will have a check mark towards the bottom of the task for DeployAnywhere. This will work with Ghost and RDeploy images. Oh, and did you know that the Ghost engine is also included in DS 6.9 SP1?

Below is some information from Symantec about DeployAnywhere.

DeployAnywhere's hardware independent imaging gives you the ability to take a standard captured image and deploy it to computers that may be using different mass storage drivers, NIC drivers, or HALs (hardware abstraction layers) than those being used by the computer the image was created from.

This is possible because the correct HAL is created and the correct NIC and mass storage drivers are collected from a Windows driver database stored on the server and then deployed as part of the deploy image task. DeployAnywhere is only operational if the option to use it is selected when creating the deploy image job.

Using this method significantly extends the lifespan of your images because they will not need to be modified each time new hardware is introduced into your environment. Instead you only need to update the centrally located drivers database.

By default the drivers database is stored in the DriversDB folder located in your Deployment Share. As part of the Deployment Solution installation, the DriversDB folder is populated with many common NIC and mass storage drivers but additional drivers can be added as needed.

Drivers for DeployAnywhere are managed (added or viewed) using the Deployment Console's menu bar:
Tools->DeployAnywhere Driver Database management

Important: DeployAnywhere may require GhConfig32.exe to perform some tasks. You should ensure that GhConfig32.exe is in the same directory as DeployAnywhere.

Using DeployAnywhere

When all drivers have been added to the DeployAnywhere database, DeployAnywhere is used in conjunction with a Distribute Disk Image task as follows:

  • Prepared using Sysprep

    If the image was created using Sysprep, mark and configure this section to match the image being deployed.

  • Use DeployAnywhere hardware independent imaging

    Mark this option.

    • Advanced (the advanced button associated with this option)

      Click to view or change the default parameters of: /target=c:\windows /ddb=\driversdb

      Target refers to the location of the Windows folder on the target computer.

      The DDB switch specifies the location of the DeployAnywhere database.

  • Automation pre-boot environment

    This must be set to a WinPE configuration. The Default Automation option can be selected if the default is configured to use a WinPE pre-boot operating system.

When the Deployment job is run, WinPE loads and the image is deployed. After the image has been deployed, but still running the WinPE pre-boot operating system, DeployAnywhere is run and discovers what type of hardware is being used. Based on what is discovered, a new HAL is then created and it and the required drivers are deployed, thus allowing the computer to boot successfully.

Discovering Missing Drivers for DeployAnywhere

To determine if your DeployAnywhere database has the drivers needed for a particular computer, start the computer in question using WinPE and run the following DeployAnywhere command:

ghdplyAw32.exe /target=c:\Windows /dbb=DriversDB /eval

If a mass storage or NIC driver is missing, a list of the missing drivers is displayed on the screen.

Note: This same list is stored in a file named ghDplyAw.txt.

This discovery process can be automated using a Deployment Run Script task using the following command type of script:

cd \Ghost
ghdplyAw32.exe /target=c:\Windows /dbb=\DriversDB /eval

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Pascal KOTTE's picture

Well, I know a site working for now in production with it. They feel happy with. I wonder 3 things:

  1. Does Microsoft will support this?
  2. Any way to inject those "DeployAnyWhere" drivers using offline imaging DVD? Because current process requires a online DS job...
  3. Does the same NIC/Mass drivers DB are automatically proposed in addition to the WinPE drivers collections? Or do we have to do the Drivers addition twice: in the WinPE preboot image, and in the DeployAnyWhere DB?

Any feedback?
PS. I also test the Hot imaging feature with success on XP sp2/sp3 clients. ;-)

~Pascal @ Kotte.net~ Do you speak French? Et utilisez Altiris: venez nous rejoindre sur le GUASF

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Pascal KOTTE's picture

I find this:
KB45203 Use DeployAnywhere Hardware Independent Imaging in a Script
Perhaps some idea in there to build an offline script.

~Pascal @ Kotte.net~ Do you speak French? Et utilisez Altiris: venez nous rejoindre sur le GUASF

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Benjamin Fuller's picture

Anybody using DX
(altrinsic Solutions Deploy Expert)

It's NIIIICE!

You break IT, I fix IT!

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