Native VHD data integrity issues / V2P [3]

The first thing to say is we are now moving to implement all of our deployments which have been in VHD, to physical i.e. V2P. This includes all computers such as desktops, although being networked with users’ personal files redirected to network shares, they are not as critical as laptops which all have users stuff in the same VHD. Simply put we are finding with desktops that there is a higher incidence of boot failures with VHD indicating we are perhaps pushing the technology beyond what was expected of it.

However this doesn’t get away from the greatness of native VHD as an image development/build scenario because you can still do that development process based around native VHD and then deploy to physical. To do this is currently a two step process using ImageX, mount the VHD to a drive letter, capture it with ImageX, then apply the WIM to the target using ImageX. What I am hoping for in the future is that Microsoft will come to the fore and change ImageX to work directly with VHDs so we don’t have to have WIM and VHD versions of the same image.

I wrote further back that I had figured out that we only need to keep pre-sysprepped images and sysprep them on each machine at deployment. Now our remaining post sysprep images will be getting wiped soon so I have enough disk space to store the WIMs I have to make of the deployment VHDs.

Compared with our native VHD deployments to things like a computer suite it actually takes no more time to deploy with ImageX from a network share than it does with NativeVHD and you do save the time it takes to copy the WIM locally to the target platform by getting ImageX to pick it up from a network share and apply it at the same time, this therefore is the equivalent of the VHD copy to target stage. The rest of the steps take exactly the same time as they would for VHD. You run BCDBoot the same as you would for virtual except giving it a different drive letter perhaps. In due course I will have scripts set up to run all the various steps including the ImageX step maybe.

The good thing for us is that the same technologies are used to prepare VHDs for deployment as can be used with ImageX WIM images and therefore there is an easy transition between the two. As Microsoft have given us this great technology for image testing and development, since it really is only suitable for test environments, and since they have integrated capabilities to mount VHDs in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 GUI as well as command line (Diskpart), I am quite hopeful they will come to the party with ImageX enhanced to work directly with VHD so that these images can be deployed to physical as this is what ImageX does.