Introduction to UDI With MDT 2010

Since the release of MDT 2010 Update 1 a new deployment method called User Driven Installation or UDI for short is available for your deployments. In this post we take a look at installing and configuring your systems to use UDI.

UDI combines the best of both LTI and ZTI installations, think of both of these deployment methods. What do you think about when someone mentions LTI to you? Well, we can describe LTI using the following graphic.

What is LTI?

Here we have what I think is the four major points when we talk about a LTI deployment. A few words is ok but let’s go into a little more detail:

  • Little Administrative Control – By this we mean it is easy for the user who initiated the deployment to type in their own things, select their own OS from a list and many other things
  • No Preflight Checking – Deployments fail, this is natural and it happens everywhere. However some of these failures can be resolved by preflight checks. LTI doesn’t have the ability to perform preflight checking. For instance a laptop may run out of power before the task sequence completes. This can be prevented with a preflight check for AC power
  • No Feedback on Deployment Progress – How is that deployment doing? From your desk you have no idea, you have to visit the machine which is running the deployment, we also don’t know if the deployment failed or completed without been in front of the machine
  • Client Driven Installation Process – Useful in some situations but what if we don’t want users to deploy a new operating system to their machine? What if we don’t want them to install Photoshop CS5 for instance? LTI provides limited options for controlling application selection

Now what about ZTI? Well let’s have a look…

What is ZTI?

When we look at ZTI we see almost the complete opposite:

  • Strict Administrative Control – We get this because of the fact it is zero touch. We have to define what is happening and when, this leads to a very tight, strict sense of control
  • Extensive Preflight Checking – From checking AC power to the amount of disk space, memory and processor power, ZTI has it all
  • Extensive Feedback on Deployment Progress – Thanks to the power of status messages and reporting in SCCM we have a huge number of ways at our disposal to determine the progress, success or failure of the deployment
  • Server Driven Installation Process – ZTI allows control over when the deployment will start, who can start it (via password protection) and when it is available to

So in summary, UDI gives us the best of both worlds. We have greater administrative control because we can control the image which is deployed for instance, preflight checks to ensure we have the correct environment to run our deployment. We also have extensive feedback still because we are running in SCCM for instance and we still have control over the deployment process via a password for example on our task sequence media.

My next article on this subject will look at how we configure UDI in MDT 2010 Update 1, then further ahead looking at designing the wizard.

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About Martyn

Martyn is one of the Senior Cloud Architects and DevOps Team Leader at one of the worlds leading Cloud Transformation Specialists Inframon. Martyn is responsible for the architecture of some of the largest Azure deployments in EMEA and is a advisor to a many businesses on their strategies. Martyn is a regular speaker at Microsoft events and community events on Azure and DevOps, giving his insight to a growing number of audiences.

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