Server Host Provisioning for Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

New Tool: Server host provisioning for Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

I’ve been working on several infrastructure projects lately that run on Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. I have created my own MDT 2013 offline Media USB Flash Drive to perform these installations, but it got me to wonder how long it would take the average IT administrator to provision a MDT 2013 offline Media Drive, just to install one or two Server installs.

I had created some MDT hydration scripts before, and thought it would be a good time to update the environment for Host Provisioning. The goal of this tool is to provide the quickest and easiest way to install Windows Server 2012 (R2) Preview on a Physical Host machine using a USB Flash Drive. That USB flash drive is created in an automated fashion with this Server Host Provisioning kit. Note that this tool is not designed to install Windows Server on Virtual Machines, instead it’s all about the physical Host.

Video:

I’ve created a quick video that goes through the entire kit build process, it only takes about 10 minutes (longer with narration):

Some Notes:

  • Your build machine must be running Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 or greater.
  • You must have MDT 2013 Preview Release pre-installed on the local build machine.
  • You must have .NET Framework 3.51 installed on the local build machine
  • This build will automatically install the ADK (for Windows 8.1 Preview). Previous versions must be manualy removed before running this tool.
  • If you are running on Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2, and do not have the Windows Server 2012 OS Eval bits extracted locally, this tool will automatically install 7-zip from 7-zip.org to extract the *.iso.
  • This tool will automatically mark any USB drive attached as “active”, however it is recomended to re-format the drive as FAT32 again if you are running on Windows Sever 2008 R2 or above. This tool will not reformat the drive as a safety measure.
  • This tool is designed to use the Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview “Eval” version by default, and will be downloaded automatically from Microsoft.com. You may specify a local path to the OS installation files to bypass the default download behaviour. This is helpful if you have a limited network connection and aleady have the bits locally.

 

Feedback:

This is a Preview version of the Server Host Provisioning tool. If you have any feedback, please let me know. I prefer E-Mail, but comments in the post below also work.  I am still trying to choose what the correct list of Applications and Configuration options should be, so if you have any additions, please let me know.

Link:

The program is located here: http://sdrv.ms/157IdWQ

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4 thoughts on “Server Host Provisioning for Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

  1. Great post Keith. I wrote a hydration kit last year myself for testlab server provisioning.http;://testlabhydrationkit.codeplex.com .

    With the cloning features of todays virtualisation platforms, I really think the post OS configuration is the way forward.

    • Thanks, I tend to agree with you about Post OS configuration, especially with Virtual Machines.
      However I skipped over Virtual Machines for this tool, and I focus on just the Host Machine setup.

      There are several “other” projects I’m working on that assume the user has access to a Windows Server 2012 host platform. And I wondered if there were ways to improve *just* the host provisioning part. :^)

  2. I’m holding off due to the imminent release of RTM, but plan on testing this thoroughly with RTM bits when available. Do you expect the kit will work fine with RTM bits sir? This is a great effort, love the concept.

    • I still haven’t found out when Windows Server 2012 R2 will hit the InterWebs (Perhaps you have an inside track :^). However I *am* planning on updating this kit when the bits hit the download sites.

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