Friday, June 30, 2017

Automating dual boot Deployments - Part Three - KBE Automation

This is part three of my series on automating dual boot deployments with Deploystudio and the Quest K2000. In parts one and two I covered my motivation for the project and the creation of a virtual hard drive that contains the KACE Boot Environment. In part three I will be covering how to automate deploying an image from the K2000.

Although the K2000 has an automated deployment mechanism in the interface their method works best for computers that are already in the database. One of the K2000 engineers also developed a separate application called "Default Deploy" that can be added to the boot environment via the KBE Manipulator. In our case we can boot to the KBE and add the Default Deploy pieces manually, this is more advantageous because the method can be repeated more easily than using the KBE Manipulator and without the need of uploading our modified KBE to the K2000 appliance.

  1. Download the Default Deploy files from the link on the ITNinja site
  2. Copy the Default Deploy files to a USB drive
  3. Boot to the KBE on your Bootcamp machine.
    At this point you should have an Apple device setup to dual boot with Windows, that Bootcamp partition should also have a boot menu option for the Windows Pre-install environment. Booting into that environment should take you to the KACE K2000 deployment screen.
  4. Click on Recovery and then Command prompt
  5. Insert the USB drive
  6. Change to the drive letter for your USB drive
  7. Create a folder on the x: drive called applications:
    mkdir x:\applications
  8. Copy the default deploy files to x:\applications
  9. Edit the startnet.cmd file to add the default deploy command:
    1. notepad x:\windows\system32\startnet.cmd
    2. Find the section before this line:
      @echo **Performing local startup
    3. Add the default deploy command before this section:
      x:\applications\default_deploy.bat /inifile:t:\default_deploy.ini
    4. Save the startnet.cmd file and exit Notepad
  10. Change to the T: drive
    Note: The T: drive maps to your K2000 petemp share. This is a hidden share that is used for temporary files and you can use it to store other files that you may need for deployment tasks. In this case the default_deploy.ini file will be placed there.
  11. Copy the default_deploy.ini file from your USB drive to the T: drive
  12. Edit the default_deploy.ini file according to the instructions to deploy your scripted install for your Bootcamp machine
At this point you can save your files and shutdown the KBE environment and upload an image of the Bootcamp environment to Deploystudio. Before uploading I do recommend removing the Windows installation files from the C: drive as there is no need for them at this point. Just be sure to leave the VHD file present. You can also use bcdedit to remove the boot option for Windows.

An advantage of using this method to automate deployment is that we can now easily customize the KBE for different scenarios. The default deploy tools can be set to use a custom ini file which enables you to have multiple default_deploy.ini files on the T: drive. This means that you will be able to create multiple images of your Bootcamp partition that when applied to the system contain different instructions for which image to apply to the computer. In a more advanced scenario you could also have the default_deploy.bat look for a file on the C: drive of the Bootcamp partition and use the Deploystudio tools to replace that file at imaging time with a default_deploy.ini that contains the instructions for the image you want to use. This would allow you to have one image uploaded to Deploystudio with the ability to set the image for the Bootcamp partition as part of your imaging workflow.

In Part four of this series I will cover how to setup the workflow for Deploystudio and the K2000.

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