ASK MDT Guy: Do I need WDS?

This question comes from Canadian Luke.

Question: At my day job, I would like to use MDT. Do I need WDS to deploy via PXE booting machines? We use Linux servers, and the company I work for cannot afford (read: does not want to pay for) Windows Servers in the environment.

Answer: It’s important to understand that WDS is just a server role, MDT is the scripts and GUI, and ADK is just the tools. So, no you don’t need WDS, its cool to have, but not a deal breaker.

The ONLY thing you need WDS for is for is PXE boot and Multicasting. Which most people don’t need unless they’re running hundreds of machines (like I used to do when I worked for a large multinational conglomorate) Instead, just use the ISO that MDT spits out and burn it to CD or configure a USB drive to boot with that ISO.

So, the answer is No, you don’t need WDS. In fact, you can run it off a Windows 7 box. Better yet, use a Windows 7 VM on a server. I’ve done this in a pinch, and it works just fine. Now, it wont be a good idea to image 25+ some boxes at a time from a desktop system, but you’d be surprise how well it works for a few PCs here and there.

For more questions and answers: See the Ask MDT Guy Page