BDD Lite Touch and Zero Touch Lab Recommendations

So - I get asked a lot about how to set up a test lab or Proof of Concept environment for Lite Touch and Zero Touch. Working with my colleages in the MCS UK desktop team, specifically Mark Aslett and Adam Shepherd, we have developed a rough guide to a lab design that works for us that I thought I would share for discussion...The lab environment looks like this -

Recommended Lab Environment 

Infrastructure Server



Windows Server 2003 R2

To fully support Windows Vista, in particular some group policy functionality and to test the DFS-R replication of images, domain controllers should be Windows Server 2003 R2.

Active Directory

Required to authenticate users accessing the Windows DS, RIS, SMS and BDD 2007 servers. Additionally Windows DS servers must be a member of an Active Directory domain.


DNS name resolution must be possible in the lab environment for Active Directory to function and for clients to locate network resources.


During the development process clients will boot to the network to load Windows PE, this will not work without DHCP.

Build Server



Windows Server 2003 R2

Recommended to host the other server applications, specifically Windows DS and RIS.


Prerequisite to installing Windows DS and used for legacy testing and OSD boot image delivery.

Windows Deployment Services

Should be installed in mixed mode to support legacy images such as the SMS OSD boot CDs as well a Windows PE 2.0 boot images used by BDD 2007 and Windows Vista deployments.

Windows Automated Installation Kit

Provides a number of tools required by BDD 2007 including System Image Manager, ImageX and Package Manager.

BDD 2007

Used as a repository for all build components, the generation of the reference build and the configuration of the ZTI scripts.

SQL 2005 Express

Used to test role based deployments and configurations that are moved to the deployment server

Deployment Server



Windows Server 2003 R2

Recommended to host the other server applications.

SQL Server 2005 SP1

SQL is required by SMS 2003 and role based deployments using the BDD 2007 database. Can also be used for ACT database support. SQL 2005 SP1 should be the minimum service pack used.

SMS 2003 SP3

SMS is required to support OSD captures and deployments; it is also used as the mechanism for managing the replication of images and applications. Service Pack 3 is the update for SMS that supports Windows Vista and the latest OSD Feature Pack Update.

SMS OSD Feature Pack Update

Required to allow for operating system images to be captured and deployed via the SMS infrastructure.

The three server installation can be consolidated to two servers if Zero Touch is not required, but we find that this design works well when developing build and deployment designs in many customer environments.

Comments (4)
  1. Anonymous says:

    What’s not clear to me is whether you can run BDD on multiple workstations and point them at the same distribution share so that different staff can work on different builds at the same time. Can you shed any light there?

  2. Chad Ingles says:

    This is a nice, simple big-picture view of a build/test environment. We’re currently beginning a large BDD project, it would be great to get more detailed prescriptive guidance on creating a build/test environment based on the diagram above. Our fully isolated test lab doesn’t have an Internet connection, is there an easy way to build this environment with Virtual PC on my own workstation but still connect to the Internet easily/safely without impacting the production network?

  3. ricsmith says:

    In answer to your question – you can build this environment as one or two Virtual Servers or as a single physical server if hardware is in short supply…this is what I do – I have a laptop (AMD 64 – 2.2 Ghz, 2GB Ram) on which I have installed Windows Server 2003 R2, SMS 2003 SP2, Windows AIK, BDD 2007, WDS and Virtual PC 2007. I have made it a domain controller for my domain (BUILDDOMAIN) so it also runs DHCP and DNS. I then run virtual client machines to test my build processes – I find that this works better than trying to run a complete virtual environment.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mon collègue anglais Richard SMITH a publié un article sur son blog dans lequel il décrit une infrastructure

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