When discussing the use of BDD 2007 with partners I like to introduce the concept of "hydration".
Desktop deployment projects tend to be very similar between customers. The desktop master images tend to contain the same roughly the same set of applications, such as Office, Acrobat Reader and perhaps some plug-ins. On top of these applications partners tend to perform the same set of "tweaks" across all customers. Once the standard stuff has been completed they then tend to add a few customer specific applications and tweaks.
In general the number of tasks to create a master image usually numbers at least 30. Setting up BDD to perform all these tasks can be quite time consuming and prone to errors due to typos or perhaps adding things in the wrong order.
To help alleviate these issues I suggest implementing a hydration process. Here are the steps to create this process:
Setup the De-Hydrated environment.
1. Setup BDD in a lab environment, configure BDD with all the standard settings you would normally use at a client site.
2. Once you are happy with your configuration simply remove product keys and any customer specific media (e.g. OS source files).
3. Make a copy of the BDD Distribution folder.
You now have a de-hydrated BDD installation.
When you arrive at a new customers site you can simply copy the de-hydrated distribution folder over the customers distribution folder, and perform a few tweaks and you have a fully configured BDD, FAST. Here are the steps to rehydrate your BDD installation.
1. Install BDD 2007 and the Window Automated Installation Kit (WAIK)
2. Create a lab distribution point.
3. Copy the files from your dehydrated distribution point over your newly created distribution point.
You then need to “re-hydrate” BDD with the customer specific settings, these include:
4. Update the bootstrap.ini and Customsettings.ini with the correct server values for the customer
5. Update the OS source files with the customers source files (Vista, office etc)
6. Update product keys with the customers keys
7. Add any customer specific applications into your build
Now you have a fully customized BDD installation. This process should save heaps of time setting up BDD at each customer, not to mention avoiding some of the tedious tasks around setting up builds. It also has the advantage of creating consistency across customer sites which makes everyone’s life much easier.