Hi all,

The school I currently work at has approximately 400 workstations spread across two sites. This number will increase in the coming months, as we begin to roll out laptop trolleys. Currently we use Ghost to image PCs and laptops. However, this is becoming a bit chaotic as we require different images for different hardware, and sometimes different labs due to licensing issues (i.e., some software we can only install in certain labs). To resolve this issue, we are currently looking at implementing System Center Configuration Manager for application deployment. We are also considering it for imaging and to integrate with WSUS (yet to be implemented).

In particular, I'd be interested in implementing a 'thin image', whereby the applications are installed dynamically after the machine is imaged with an operating system, drivers, and possibly some basic applications, such as Adobe Reader. Has anybody gone about implementing a thin image system with SCCM, particularly in a lab environment? Ultimately, I'd like one thin image per hardware type, or if possible, one image all together. This image would be maintained so that it contains up-to-date drivers for each computer we support, and the latest Windows updates. The applications would then be deployed after the computer is imaged. This process would be variable. For instance, if in lab #1 install applications A, B, and C. However, if in lab #2, only install applications A, and C (due to licensing conditions).

There are a few reasons why I want to implement thin images. We currently have many images, leading to inconsistency and complexity. Our images aren't up-to-date. Often, we'll have to install applications in a lab at a later date, which we perform manually. If we then have to re-image a broken computer, we have to re-image it and then install applications that aren't included in the image. Essentially I'm hoping with a thin image, it'd reduce a lot of the complexity in maintaining the computers and lead to a more standardized environment.

If anybody can point me to documentation/tutorials, that would be great. I'd also love to hear how schools have implemented this, and any other considerations (network traffic, etc.)

Thanks,

Josh