This is a definite change from Small Business Server 2003, where the level of automation was limited to the base operating system only. But with SBS 2011, you can use the SBS Answer File Generator to completely automate the SBS portion of the installation.
For automating the base Windows Server 2008 R2 installation, you need to use the Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit (AIK), which you can download from http://www.microsoft...&DisplayLang=en.
For completely automating the install, youâ€™ll need a server running Windows Deployment Services, and your network card in the target server will need to support Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) boot. (This means that youâ€™ll need to use a Legacy Network Adapter if building SBS 2011 in a virtual environment because the high-speed synthetic NIC in Hyper-V doesnâ€™t support PXE.)
Youâ€™ll use an unattend.xml file to define what is actually installed. The creation of this file and the details in it are covered at length in the Windows Automated Installation Kit documentation available at http://www.microsoft...93-19123141EDAA. But unless youâ€™re doing a lot of identical SBS installations, we really think this is overkill. The critical installation features and stepsâ€”the ones that take up your timeâ€”are already handled as part of the normal SBS installation in SBS 2011, and you can completely automate that process using the SBS Answer File Generator. The actual operating system installation is a matter of a few clicks.
After youâ€™ve done that and selected the hard disk to install on, youâ€™re done. The installation will proceed automatically. If youâ€™ve put your sbsanswerfile.xml where it can be found, the SBS portion of the installation will take over automatically and continue as soon as Windows Server 2008 R2 is installed.
Our overall opinion is that automating the installation beyond what the SBS Answer File Generator does is probably going to cost more time than it saves unless youâ€™re in a lab environment or a hosting environment where you are deploying at least dozens of SBS servers to make it worth the effort.
Where you can save time and effort, however, is automating the deployment of client computers. Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 (http://www.microsoft...C1-FE871C461A89), you can completely automate the deployment of new, ready-to-use Windows 7 workstations complete with applications, or automate the upgrade of existing Windows computers to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010.
Learn more about this topic from WindowsÂ® Small Business Server 2011 Administrator's Companion.
Get the critical information you need to build and manage a network with Windows Small Business Server 2011. This essential, single-volume reference delivers detailed guidance to the features, capabilities, and components offered in both the Standard and Premium Editions. Gain the real-world insights, workarounds, and troubleshooting tactics you need for on-the-job results.