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how can I multicast an Image in Windows Deployment Services (Windows Server 2008)



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This guide assumes that you have first setup WDS in Windows Server 2008 and then configured it to deploy Windows Vista Service Pack 1. In addition, you'll need to capture an install image to be used as the multicasting transmission image.

 

What is multicasting ?

 

Multicasting is the ability to deploy an image to multiple clients without putting overhead on the network. When you create a multicast transmission, the image is sent over the network only once (when the server has completed the image file broadcast, it starts over from the beginning). Clients can join the broadcast at any time during the transfer, if they miss anything they can simply wait until the file or part of the image is transmitted again.

 

It's explained very nicely here and I quote

 

The key advantage of multicast is of course allowing multiple computers to receive a communication simultaneously. The sender (the WDS server) sends the information to be communicated only once. Each client must then listen to the entire communication from begin to end to receive it. Since all clients are specifically listening to one network address simultaneously, the benefit is twofold: enhanced deployment speed since the network is less congested with multiple clients performing the same task; and decreased network saturation since every client is listening to the single stream

 

What do I need to set it up ?

 

As mentioned already at the beginning of this guide, you'll need the Windows Server 2008 setup and configured for WDS and you'll need at least one install image on it that you want to transmit in the multicast (use WDS to create a Capture image, then capture an image, that image will be used as the Install image for multicasting later...).

 

In addition, you'll need the Boot.wim file from the Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista with SP1 DVD. If you use the boot.wim file from the Windows Vista DVD (ie: the original release) then you will NOT be able to join a multicast transmission.

 

You'll also need router hardware capable of supporting multicasting, and you must confirm that Internet Group Membership Protocol (IGMP) snooping is enabled on all devices (If IGMP snooping is turned off, multicast packets are treated as broadcast packets, and will be sent to every device in the subnet.)

 

How can I create a multicast transmission ?

 

In the Windows Deployment Services mmc, right click on Multicast Transmissions in the left pane and choose Create Multicast Transmission

 

create_multi.jpg

 

When the wizard appears, give the transmission a friendly name and click on next

 

name.jpg

 

 

Next you will get the option to select the image group and image from your predefined image groups (I had three predefined groups, WDS Vista SP1 captures, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1).

 

install_groups.jpg

 

To get Multicasting to work I had to use the WDS Vista SP1 captures install image (it was a sysprepped image as defined in this howto)

 

select_image.jpg

 

You will now have to choose which type of multicast transmission you want, Auto-cast or Scheduled-cast.

Auto-Cast. This option indicates that as soon as an applicable client requests an install image, a multicast transmission of the selected image begins. Then, as other clients request the same image, they too are joined to the transmission that is already started.

 

 

Scheduled-Cast. This option sets the start criteria for the transmission based on the number of clients that are requesting an image and/or a specific day and time. If you do not select either of these check boxes, the transmission will not start until you manually start it..

 

In this example, we will choose Auto-cast.

 

auto_cast.jpg

 

 

Once done, you are shown a summary of your actions

 

multicast_summary.jpg

 

Now we will add a boot Image from our Windows 2008 Server DVD or Windows Vista Sp1 DVD.

 

In the WDS mmc, right click on Boot Images and choose Add boot image

 

add_boot_image.jpg

 

point the wizard to your boot.wim file in the Sources folder on your Windows Vista Service Pack 1 DVD (or Windows Server 2008 DVD).

 

boot_wim_source.jpg

 

the default Image name and Image description are meaningless and we need to change them

 

boot_wim_name_and_description.jpg

 

change them to suit the image type you chose earlier.

 

NEWboot_wim_name_and_description.jpg

 

review the summary and click finish to add the image

 

multicast_summary_done.jpg

 

clicking finish again will now list the new boot.wim image in your WDS boot images pane on the right hand side.

 

boot_image_added.jpg

 

At this point, you need to PXE boot your client computers to the server.

 

You will have two choices to make, the first is the boot image (as defined in boot images in WDS mmc) and the second is Install image (as defined in the install images in WDS mmc)

 

here is an outline of the PXE process:-

 

pressing F12 to pxe boot to the server, once connected you'll see the Windows Boot Manager menu

 

It listed three choices for me

 

Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 Ultimate - Multicast

Microsoft Windows Longhorn Setup (x86)

CAPTURE an image (WDS)

 

the choices are defined in the boot images section of WDS mmc.

 

I chose the first option

 

After Windows PE boots up, the Install Image needs to be selected, and as part of that process you'll see that you have to do as follows:-

 

choose local/keyboard layout

login to your domain

select the image (I selected the image called multicast-install-image which I created earlier by capturing a sysprepped Vista sp1 image in WDS)

you'll be asked where do you want to install windows, then

'waiting for server' will appear briefly (waiting for the Multicast transmission)

 

a regular PXE boot to a WDS server for a non multicast transmission would simply pull down the image one computer at a time, thereby adding to the load on the server and the network, with Multicast, the server broadcasts the image once and all clients have to 'join in' on that transmission, if they miss it (or part of it) then they have to wait until the transmission starts again (kind of like a round about)

 

 

finally you can verify the progress in the WDS MMC gui in the Multicast Transmission properties (refresh with F5)

 

multicast_in_progress.jpg

 

done !

 

For further reading on this subject, see Microsoft's technet material or this blog

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I am recieving an error when I try to boot to my Multicast image.

I used the boot.wim file from Server 2008 disk. ver 6.0.6001

 

Error reads as follows:

 

WdsClient: An error occurred while starting networking. Please have your Administrator add the network driver for this machine to the Windows PE image on the Windows Deployment Services server.

 

I'm am attempting to boot an HP DC7900 Small Form Factor, with Intel 1000 (82567LM-3)

 

Do you have anything to describe how to add the network driver?

 

Thanks,

 

William J.

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you can inject drivers into the boot.wim file

 

read this post for details of that

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Thanks Anyweb.

 

I found a boot.wim that the dc7900 will boot from. (Windows 7 Professional)

 

However, When we select the image we have set up for multicasting. It doesn't appear to want to wait. It simply begins the image process . No indication that it is connecting to multicast session.

 

Any thoughts as what may be wrong?

 

Thanks for help in advance.

 

William J

post-5153-12716993876477_thumb.jpg

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so you added a windows 7 professional boot image but what install image are you using ?

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Custom install. Uploaded after sysprep.

 

Hope that is what you are looking for..

 

I can send another screen shot if it would help...

 

 

thanks,

 

William J

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I notice that when there is more then 2 client trying to pxe boot and connect to the server, it some times just sits there spinning in the dos screen doing nothing. what is causing this??

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whats the last thing you see on the screen ? any error ?

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whats the last thing you see on the screen ? any error ?

 

i press f12 and then it boots into dos pxe it grabs an ip address and connects to server and i press f12 to continue then thatss it .. black dos screen with a blinking cursor... (so it doesnt reach the menu boot list dos screen) this tends to happen when there is more then are 2 or clients trying to connect to the server...

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i have also problem with setting up the WDS 2008 i installed everything DHCP, DNS, AD, WDS, i create group image install image,/ and boot.wim and install.wim correctly, when i try it for vmware client it goes wrong with PXE boot error, no dhcp received. what should be the troubleshooting that i want to do? please advice,,, email me please to solved this issue gubsrey@gmail.com thank you buddies...

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I've setup WDS on my server last week and am able to image with no problem but I cannot get the multicasting to work. I think I have read every article, tutorial, forum etc on WDS, WAIK, MDT, multicasting, transport server, WDSUTIL, etc..etc.. but it just isnt working! I've used both MDT to create a multicast transmission, as well as just the wizard in WDS but when I PXE boot my clients and choose the boot image I created for the multicast transmission it just continues on imaging the PC and it completes successfully but the problem is that you never see the clients actually join the multicast session within the WDS console so it's still just unicasting and causing too much noise on the network. We are using AdTran 1238 switches and IGMP is configured correctly.

 

Is there anyone out there in that has this setup and functioning? We are running Server 2008 R2. Our DC, DHCP, DNS, and WDS are all on the same server. DHCP option 60 is setup to PXEClient, 66 & 67 are NOT since DHCP and WDS are on the same server. I feel like I am 99% there...but there has to be some tiny detail I am missing.

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I've setup WDS on my server last week and am able to image with no problem but I cannot get the multicasting to work. I think I have read every article, tutorial, forum etc on WDS, WAIK, MDT, multicasting, transport server, WDSUTIL, etc..etc.. but it just isnt working! I've used both MDT to create a multicast transmission, as well as just the wizard in WDS but when I PXE boot my clients and choose the boot image I created for the multicast transmission it just continues on imaging the PC and it completes successfully but the problem is that you never see the clients actually join the multicast session within the WDS console so it's still just unicasting and causing too much noise on the network. We are using AdTran 1238 switches and IGMP is configured correctly.

 

Is there anyone out there in that has this setup and functioning? We are running Server 2008 R2. Our DC, DHCP, DNS, and WDS are all on the same server. DHCP option 60 is setup to PXEClient, 66 & 67 are NOT since DHCP and WDS are on the same server. I feel like I am 99% there...but there has to be some tiny detail I am missing.

 

Hello,

 

Is the Multicast range open? 239.0.0.x. At my work this range is closed.

(Windows 7 images)

@home everything works like a charm.

 

When normal imaging works fine than the only question is, is the multicast adress reachable.

When it isn't reachable then the client will do a normal image job. (very intensive)

 

To setup a multicast image is very easy.

1) add normal boot image

2) add normal install image

3) right click on the just imported install image and select Create Multicast transmission. follow the the steps and it will work. When not then you will have a problem with the adress range.

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I need to automate this with Zero Touch. What application does WDS run when you boot off the boot.wim to display the list of images? It seems to automatically edit the boot.wim to add the menu when you import it.

 

Ideally I want to run a command from PE to attach to a particular multicast stream and copy down an image. I don't want all the rest of the built in logic as I have a custom unattend.xml file and then run DISM to inject drivers on my images. After that is using bcdboot to copy the boot files to the system partition for use with UEFI booting.

 

A best cast scenario would be to have DISM attach to a multicast stream while using the apply command. Then I don't have a "copying" step followed by an "applying" step, wasting time. I suppose I only want that because Ghost and Rdeploy multicast while applying. I wouldn't mind copying the multicast image to a recovery partition and then skip the image copy portion all together if the image.wim is the same upon imaging the next time.

 

I have gotten WDSMCAST.exe to copy the image like I want, but then I get an install.wim and an Res.RWM file. Not only that, but I must copy all the data from the entire WIM (index 2) rather than just the smaller index 1 image. Supposedly imagex (now unsupported) can use a Res.WIM file with the /ref switch. But when I try that it tells me I don't have a catalog built into the WIM. Using windows system image manager to try and add a catalog to the original WIM file (before it was imported into WDS) it tells me that it cannot do so because "file not found" and says that I need version X even though I'm currently using version X of WSIM. Lastly, if you turn on the autocast option of "split the multicast streams into a fast/slow stream", WDSMCAST locks up about half way through.

 

MDT does not seem have a zero touch option that allows me to multicast and push the imaging job using a remote command. I've found that I have much better control and less touching by having an HTA menu in Windows PE that images vs using the MDT scripts. UEFI included.

 

SCCM probably works, but we don't have the manpower to implement that at this time nor is it clear when it uses multicast vs not. I don't want it to always use multicast because unicast copies the image in 1.2 minutes over gigabit vs 15 minutes over multicast, even if it's the only computer pulling from the stream.

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