Windows Deployment Services (WDS) allows you to perform unicast and multicast deployment of operating systems. It debuted with Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 and has been included with the RTM version of the Windows Server operating system since Windows Server 2008.
Some organizations use WDS in its out-of-the-box vanilla configuration. The default configuration supports one concurrent OS deployment, but you can change which OS deployment you are performing. In many organizations, WDS works as an element in a much more advanced deployment solution. Both Configuration Manager and Virtual Machine Manager leverage WDS for client and server OS deployment. Other solutions, like MDT, can also be configured to use WDS.
When assessing your current WDS infrastructure before migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2, you’ll need to do the following:
- Work out which Windows Server 2003 servers in your organization are hosting the WDS role
- Of those WDS servers, determine which images are deployed on the server. WDS uses not only operating system images, but also boot images, discover images, and capture images.
- Work out if any other products, like Configuration Manager or Virtual Machine Manager leverage WDS
It’s likely that when you look at which images are present on your 2003 WDS servers, you’ll find many that are no longer relevant and don’t require migration. Migrating to a new server OS gives you a chance to do a bit of a spring clean and it’s likely that many of the old boot, capture, and OS images used with your organizations existing WDS infrastructure won’t be relevant in the brave new world of Windows Server 2012 R2.