Firstly hello! great forum been a great help to me many times!
Now after reading threads on sccm and how people handle there images and deploying msi's for all the required programs of there different systems, it made me think why can't we do that??!!
The dream would be to have 1 or 2 universal base win xp images and then deploy all the required software via msi's to avoid constantly updating flash and java etc
The reality, this is a split site secondary school (joined by 100mb fibre optic)with about 1200 students, i've only been here a few months and im not the senior tech, but ive manage to implement wds which is working nicely (better than ghost or netrunna was!) we currently have maybe 15 different images? As each dept needs different software and we have 6/7 different types of system (dell 520's 755s, 745s, higrades, novatechs and 4/5 different laptop models) there are about 550-600 machines and a plethora of servers. We have been unable to get msi's deploying properly maybe a third will get the software and the rest ignore it, so that has stopped us using msi's and instead jam packing the images with all they are likely to need. I attempted installing sccm 07 and it gave me some generic error about a sql server?? So that got abandoned! so the questions....
How can we capture an image of an xp disc for wds, so it basically installs properly or is hardware independant?
Is there a known problem with msi's not being deployed to all systems, ways around it, things to check?
Does sccm2007 do all of these things im wanting and if so are there any special steps needed in setting it up ie sql ?
are there limits to what can be msi'd for example office, sims, adobe cs5?
twin site school connected by 100meg fibre optic cable, 550-600 systems, dell servers incl 2x r610s for when we start virtualising the systems, dc replication between sites and filestore replication, wds is currently running on the dc's.
it seems to me like we may be lagging behind in some technologies and doing things the hard way!
There are indeed limits to what can be made into a an MSI, but if you're planning to use SCCM, that's not necessarily a limitation, because SCCM can deploy .exe installers too. SCCM is a bit of a PITA to set up, as you've already discovered, but I'm told that once you get it right it's very good.
An alternative - the one I'm using, in fact - is to use Local Update Publisher to add your own updates to WSUS, which is both free and not very hard to set up at all. That only covers updates/application installs though, not image deployment, but I thought I'd mention it as I've had a lot of success with it.
I use SCCM and yes it can do everything you want.
Currently I have one hardware independent XP image, once I have associated a machine in SCCM I can image via pxe, once that's done SCCM automatically puts that machine in all the right collections so that it picks up all the correct software + updates.
As people have said its a bit tricky to get setup, the official documentation isn't great (basically Technet articles) but windows-noob.com has some excellent articles to get you up and running. I would advise setting aside some serious time to getting sccm configured the way you want it, although its not the easiest thing to get where you want it, once it is, its awesome.
edit: oh and with SCUP you can update Flash and Adobe Reader through the software update feature, and create your own updates as well.
Yes, those are very handy, they work with LUP too in fact. Though the Dell one is a bit hit or miss, I've had many a driver update package fail to install on large numbers of machines. Never broken anything, just simply not installed.
The MSIs that failed should have recorded at least basic information in the client event logs, are you using replicated DFS shares for each site?
You can make 1 universal XP image, we managed to add all the driverpacks so it works on about anything. Then after the imagex installs the files run the script to switch it to a multi cpu HAL if it's running on a multi core machine. However it's much easier with Windows 7, so I'd suggest spending your time making a win7 image and getting the software to work on that, hardly had any problems with the 32bit version