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Install Guide

Mass Deployment

Target Audience
These guides are intended for advanced IT administrators deploying CloudReady in an environment with a pre-existing mass deployment infrastructure. These guides also assume that the reader has previous experience with configuring and using the given the specific mass deployment tool that the guide is associated with.

Note: For organizations deploying CloudReady to fewer than 100 machines, we recommend using our automated USB maker tool, as it typically results in faster deployment times.
Microsoft Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

Scope

These instructions assume that you already have a fully functional Microsoft Windows Deployment Services (WDS) infrastructure at your site.

Be aware that as of August 2019, after the release of CloudReady version 76.4, CloudReady will only offered for 64-bit capable devices. For more detailed explanation, see the following thread here.



Requirements


Before getting started, let’s establish a formal set of requirements that you’ll need for the deployment:

  • CloudReady_WDS_Tools.zip, a collection of scripts and tooling that are required to conduct the imaging process within the WinPE environment.
  • A custom CloudReady image for your organization, designed for WDS deployment.  The standard installation files available on my.neverware.com will NOT function for mass deployment.  Please contact support to have one created for you at no charge. The process will generally take 1-3 business days. 
  • Access and approx. 40 GB of storage space to create a network share for hosting the imaging scripts, CloudReady image file and associated tooling.

  • A network account with the proper read access to the share.




01. Customize settings for your network

1. Network share creation: Using an account with proper administrative access, create a shared folder on your network and extract the contents of CloudReady_WDS_Tools.zip into it.

Note: In our example screenshot below, we’ll use our local NFS server and create a folder named cloudready.


2. Setup share and NTFS permissions: Assign the proper read permissions on both the share permissions and NTFS security to the target folder as shown below.

Note: In our example below, we created a user called deploycloudready on our lab domain, and assigned appropriate permissions to this account.

Share Permissions
NTFS Permissions



3. Download: From the downloads section of your my.neverware.com account, download the appropriate image for your WDS deployment.  64-bit deployable images are available in both UEFI and Legacy BIOS boot variants.

Note: Mass deployable images are not present in your my.neverware.com by default. To request a mass-deployable image file, please contact our support team to have them created for you. 

Example my.neverware.com deployable image downloads.


4. Unzip: Once the proper deployable image is available and downloaded; unzip the large (more than 10GB) .bin file into the same shared network folder that was created in Step 1. 


5. Browse to our share folder and edit the startnet.cmd file and replace the following placeholders:

USERNAME: The username of a domain user that has read permissions to the network share containing the CloudReady files.  

  • Following the guide's example, the username would be deploycloudready

PASSWORD: The password for the domain user that has read permissions to the network share containing the CloudReady files.

  • Continuing the guide's example, this would be the password created for the deploycloudready account. 

DOMAINNAME: Your Windows domain name. 

  • In our example deployment, the domain name used in our lab is CLOUDSTEADY

\\SERVERNAME\SHARENAME: The network path of the share containing the CloudReady files.  

  • Following the examples used in this document, the path would be: \\nfsserver\deployment_share\cloudready

FILENAME.BIN: The name of the large .bin file.  

  • In our example, this would be cloudready_deployable_64bit_uefi.bin


6. Save the startnet.cmd file after making these modifications.

Some additional notes about startnet.cmd: The startnet.cmd’s purpose is to launch our customized set of instructions at the start of the WinPE session. In this case, we perform a machine wipe and replace write the new CloudReady image to disk. You can read more about the purpose of the startnet.cmd process from Microsoft here



02. Edit the Boot Image

Following the typical format of creating a customized WDS deployment image, in this step we’ll edit our wim file to include our new startnet.cmd file created in the previous step.

1. Connect directly to the file share server hosting the CloudReady share using RDP, or another access method, in order to establish a direct session.

Note: The following commands cannot be executed on a remote network share (unless using a remote command prompt, like psexec).


2. Launch an elevated command prompt running as administrator.


3. From within the command prompt, change directory to the folder containing the CloudReady files. (This step is for simplicity so we don’t have to type the full path).

  • Continuing our example, the commands entered would be:
    z:
    cd deployment_share\cloudready

4. Mounting the .wim file: Within the command prompt, execute the following command, substituting the actual local share path of the folder containing the CloudReady files and the target working directory (tmp) using the following structure:

imagex /mountrw [your path to cloudready.wim file] 1 [your path to tmp folder]

Explanation: 
This command will use the imagex utility to extract, mount and modify the contents of the cloudready.wim file, included in our CloudReady tools package, in order to include our custom startnet.cmd.

  • In our example, the command would look like this:
    imagex /mountrw z:\deployment_share\cloudready\cloudready.wim 1 z:\deployment_share\cloudready\tmp

Mounting the .wim using imagex


5. The contents of the cloudready.wim file will now be mounted in the "tmp" subfolder we defined in the previous step.

  • In our example, the \tmp folder should look like this:

Extracted WIM file contents


6. Using windows file explorer, let’s go back and copy the startnet.cmd file we modified in Step 1, and paste it into the ..\tmp\windows\system32 folder, overwriting the previous file.  

In our example we would:

  • Browse to the d:\deployment_share\cloudready folder 
  • Find & copy the startnet.cmd into our clipboard, then 
  • Paste it into d:\deployment_share\cloudready\windows\system32\, saying ‘Yes’ to overwriting any existing files.


7.  Once copied, be sure to close any open explorer windows, notepad.exe instances, or open files accessing the tmp subfolder. The unmount process in the next step is very particular that no files are in use, and will respond with an error and refuse to unmount the .wim file.


8. Going back to the original command prompt, execute the following command, substituting the actual local path of the tmp folder containing the cloudready files:

imagex /unmount /commit [local path to tmp folder]
Explanation: This command will again call the imagex utility, unmount and update our cloudready.wim file with the change we made to include your now customized startnet.cmd file.

  • In this example, our command would read:
    imagex /unmount /commit z:\deployment_share\cloudready\tmp

Unmounting WIM file using imagex


9. Once the .wim file is unmounted successfully,  the process of editing the boot image is now complete! Proceed to step 3.



03. Enable Boot Image for WDS

Now that we have our custom CloudReady .wim file, let’s set it up as an available boot image within your existing WDS infrastructure.

  1. Launch the Windows instance hosting your WDS infrastructure and open Windows Deployment Services.

  2. Expand the server that currently hosts your PXE images.

  3. Right click "Boot Images" and select “Add Boot Image"
    WDS Boot Images

  4. Browse to the location of the cloudready.wim file that you previously modified.
    Add CloudReady WIM

    Note: If the working directory for the CloudReady share created in previous steps is on a different server than the WDS server, the cloudready.wim file can be copied to the WDS server’s local drive; or can be mapped remotely using the UNC path of the server hosting the .wim file. During this process of creating the boot image, the .wim file will be consumed by WDS and stored locally within its own structure.

  5. Click Next

  6. Change the image name to convenient identifier, like “CloudReady-BIOS” or “CloudReady-UEFI”, and click Next:
    CloudReady Image Naming


  7. Confirm that everything looks accurate and click Next:
    WDS Add Image CloudReady


  8. Observe progress; this process should typically take less than 5 minutes to complete:
    Adding Image Pending


  9.  Click Finish:
    Image Addition Complete

  10. The image we named in the previous steps, should now be visible under boot images as shown in the example below:



04. Deploy CloudReady on a Client Machine

The last and final step!

CAUTION: Proceeding with the next steps will wipe the target device and whatever data is installed on its disk. Make sure you have the proper backups and data stored before continuing.


  1. Select a target device for CloudReady imaging.

  2. Boot the device using PXE or Network boot method.

    Note: Ensure that BIOS settings properly configured in that, 
    - Network/PXE boot is available as a boot method in BIOS.
    - CloudReady image you’ve defined, matches the BIOS of the device (legacy or UEFI).

  3. Depending on whether or not your environment has more than one WDS boot image defined, the process will go slightly different.

    a. If CloudReady is the only boot image available, it will boot directly into our new image, and deployment will proceed automatically:
    single image wds boot

    b. If there are multiple boot images available, choose the CloudReady image we define in Step 3. Deployment will then proceed automatically:
    multi image wds boot screen

  4. Once the WinPE environment is loaded, you’ll see a black command prompt as shown below:
    startnet.cmd installation

  5. Upon successful completion, the computer will reboot with CloudReady installed!



That’s it! You’ve deployed CloudReady using WDS. 
As always, we’re always to provide support or simply to just hear your feedback. Feel free to reach out: https://neverware.com/contact 



Microsoft SCCM
These instructions were built and thoroughly tested on a Windows SCCM 2012 v1809 installation, running on top of Windows Server 2016. Although we strive to give you as much background information as possible, these instructions make the assumption that the reader has a high-level of technical aptitude with SCCM and experience with a pre-existing operating system deployment in their respective infrastructures. In addition, due to the decommission of CloudReady’s support for 32-bit devices, this guide and associated deployment files are focused on 64-bit only. If you experience trouble or have doubts about any step in this guide, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team here: Contact Neverware Support



Requirements & Getting Setup


Before getting started, let’s establish a formal set of requirements that you’ll need for the deployment:

  • Mass Deployment Image: A custom CloudReady image for your organization, designed for mass deployment.  The standard installation files available on my.neverware.com will NOT function for mass deployment.  Please contact support to have one created for you at no charge. The process will generally be completed within 1 business day.
  • SCCM Access: Administrative access to the SCCM console in order to setup the operating system deployment, boot images, associated task sequences, etc; as defined in the remainder of this guide.
  • Network File Share: Access and approx. 40 GB of storage space to create a network share for hosting the imaging scripts, CloudReady image file and associated tooling.
  • CloudReady Task Sequence: A copy of the following CloudReady-SCCM-Task-Sequence.zip file in a location that’s accessible and can be imported into the SCCM console.
  • CloudReady SCCM Utility Files: A copy of the following CloudReady-SCCM-Utilities.zip ready to be extracted to the network share we create in a future step of this guide.
  • Network account: A specific network account should be identified or created that has the appropriate access to the network share we’ll be creating in Step 1.
Once the above requirements are met. Let’s head on over to Step 1 of the configuration process.





Configuration Process

01. Initial network share and permission setup

1. Create & permission a network share

Using an account with proper administrative access, create a shared folder on your network and extract the contents of CloudReady-SCCM-Utility-Files.zip into it.

In our example screenshot above, we’ll use our local NFS server and create a folder named cloudready.

2. Setup share and NTFS permissions:
Assign the proper read permissions on both the share permissions and NTFS security to the target folder as shown below.

Note: In our example below, we created a user called deploycloudready on our lab domain, and assigned appropriate permissions to this account.

Share Permission
NTFS Permission


3. Download & unzip your CloudReady mass deployable image: 

  • Download: From the downloads section of your my.neverware.com account, download the appropriate image for your WDS deployment.  64-bit deployable images are available in both UEFI and Legacy BIOS boot variants.
    Note: Mass deployable images are not present in your my.neverware.com by default. To request a mass-deployable image file, please contact our support team to have them created for you.
  • Unzip: Once the proper deployable image is available and downloaded; unzip the large (more than 10GB) .bin file into the same shared network folder that was created in Step 1. Continuing our example, the path should be: z:\deployment_share\CloudReady


4. Download and unzip your CloudReady SCCM Utility Files:

  • Download the CloudReady SCCM Utility files using the following link here.
  • Unzip these files directly to the root of the same folder as step 1. Referencing our example this should be z:\deployment_share\cloudready.

Note: This zip file will contain all of the utilities that the CloudReady deployment process requires and will reference during the WinPE deployment sequence.


Let’s check-in! At this point, we should have completed the following:

  1. Created a network share
  2. Set permissions for a network account with proper read access to this share
  3. Downloaded the required deployment tools and also placed these files in the deployment directory. 
  4. Downloaded and unzipped your organization's mass deployable CloudReady image. 

Once that’s done, we’re ready to start building out your task sequence.



02. Download, unzip & import SCCM Task Sequence


  1. Download the CloudReady deployment task sequence from the following URL here.
  2. Unzip this task sequence to a location accessible by the account and machine that you will be performing the SCCM administration process with.
  3. Import this task sequence into SCCM via your administration console by going to Software Library > Operating Systems >  Right-click on Task Sequences > Import

    Once imported you should now see the following task sequence in your task sequence list. 



03. Configure SCCM Task Sequence


  1. Customize the Connect to Network Folder task with your environment’s configuration: 
    - Path:
    Put the fully qualified path to the CloudReady deployment share we created in step 1.
    - Drive: Choose a drive letter that will be used within the WinPE session only.
    - Account: Enter the ID and password of the account we gave permissions to in step 1. This account will connect to our CloudReady deployment share, run the tools and write your organization’s CloudReady image to the disk of the machines.

    Edit Task Sequence


  2. Customize the Deploy CloudReady Image task by editing the filename to match the downloaded name of the .bin file we downloaded and extracted in Step 2. 

    Filename Edit


  3. Assign a boot image: Assign a working WinPE boot image to this task sequence by right-clicking on the task sequence, choosing Properties, then clicking on the Advanced tab. Once on the Advanced tab, check the box for 'Use a boot image' and choose an appropriate boot image for your environment.

    Note: This step assumes you already have a tested and working boot image that contains the necessary drivers for your targeted hardware for network, disk and basic operation within the WinPE environment. 

    Referencing our example, it should look like this: 

    Edit boot image



04. Deployment 


Follow the steps of your organization’s normal SCCM task deployment process. These steps typically include the following:


  1. Distribute your finalize task sequence: Update your distribution points so that they contain our updated task sequence.
  2. Create a device collection: Carefully create a device collection for the target devices you’d like to be eligible for CloudReady deployment.
  3. Deploy your task sequence to the target device collection!

Once the task sequence is made available, eligible workstations can be rebooted and booted using the network or PXE option, and boot to this task sequence.


Note: Due to the variety of permutations and the availability of different configurations of SCCM, the detail in this deployment step has been purposely kept light. If you have questions or you are stuck at any point, please don’t hesitate to contact support. 



Other Deployment Methods

Other tools that facilitate whole/raw disk imaging and PXE-based network deployment of those images to disks may be usable as deployment methods for CloudReady. Altiris, Symantec Ghost, FOG, and others are examples. 

Although Neverware is unable to officially support these alternative deployment methods, they may work. 

For all instances of mass-deployment, it is critical that you follow these general guidelines:

  1. The image you deploy should not be a CloudReady Installer image (~6 GB size) - those images are meant only for USB installation.
    You can capture an image from a device after installing to it via USB, or use deployment images provided by Neverware. 
  2. If you capture an image for deployment, make sure to capture the image immediately after USB install completes, but before that device has been powered on for the first time. Capturing an image that has already been turned on once will lead to problems with both Neverware and Google licensing and management.
  3. Make sure you account for disk capacity and boot mode (legacy vs uefi) - you may need to deploy a different image to different devices based on these variations.