This article discusses how Windows deployment tools and processes are evolving for deploying Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and beyond.
Deploying Microsoft Windows has come a long way over the years. I can still remember doing network installs from a boot floppy using an answer file, can you? Then along came Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007, a Solution Accelerator (SA) from Microsoft that included tools and comprehensive best practices guidance for deploying Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system. BDD was later superseded by the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), which has already gone through several versions. The latest version MDT 2012 Update 1 supports deployment of Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2010 and 365, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2008 R2 in addition to deployment of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP and can be downloaded for free from here.
Of course, these aren't the only ways you can deploy Windows. Enterprise environments that have thousands or more client computers are better off using System Center Configuration Manager, a comprehensive platform for delivering effective IT services by enabling secure and scalable software deployment, compliance settings management, and comprehensive asset management of servers, desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. Microsoft itself was the first enterprise organization that used ConfigMgr for this purpose, and back in 2010 they published a whitepaper describing their experience using ConfigMgr 2007 to deploy Windows 7. You can download this whitepaper from here.
But even ConfigMgr itself has now gone through several more versions, and the latest version ConfigMgr 2012 R2 is now in preview release and is described here.
What tools should your own business use for deploying Windows? What are the biggest concerns about deployment that organizations have? What resources are available for learning how to perform deployments effectively? And where is Windows deployment headed in the future? We asked Johan Arwidmark, a well-know deployment expert and Chief Technical Architect with Knowledge Factory, to share some of his thoughts on these and other questions for this article.

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