What is the best way to image a "barebones" machine (i.e. a machine with no pre-existing OS)?
There are several ways to image a barebones machine using Deployment Solution.
The first thing that must be chosen when setting this up is if you want to use a Bootworks or PXE setup to get the preboot environment to a client.
The second thing that must be chosen is if you wish to use initial deployment or to add the machine virtually before imaging it.
Initial deployment is activated whenever a machine that has never been connected to the Deployment server before connects for the first time. This is set up in two different sections:
Adding machines virtually can be done by right-clicking in the computers area in the DS Console and choosing "new computer". If you add in specifics of the barebones machine that include the MAC address, you will be able to deploy a job to the machine like you would a machine already existing in the console.
Either of those options still require you to be able to boot the barebones machine into an OS environment through PXE or a Bootworks disk. The following will explain the pros and cons of both options:
The PXE method of imaging a barebones machine is the most "hands off" method. You will simply need to make sure the client machine is set up for receiving a job by either initial deployment or a virtually added machine. The client machine also must have network boot as the first option in the BIOS. As soon as it boots for the first time, PXE will either run the initial deployment job or the job assigned to it.
The Bootworks disk option will allow for the option of not having a PXE server. You will simply need to make Bootworks network bootdisks and insert them into the barebones machine. This will then perform exactly as the PXE boot from that point on.