Whilst working for ICS, as there SysAdmin I faced the same challenges as all SysAdmins do when the company starts to expand how do I maintain a standard software deployment when purchasing new computers.
Lookilly I had come across this problem before working for another company so I knew what to look for when choosing the right software to image the new computers, being as I was the only Sysadmin I had some flexibility when it came to the software I choose too, I looked at the following:
Although all of the above where good solutions I wanted something a little OpenSourcey and that I could change and add to etc.
Enter fogproject.org they have a open source PXE booting image software that pushing a image over the network to the computer via PXE booting.
How it works is that the computers are all set to PXE boot first then the hard drive, when the computer boots it loads the PXE firmware connects to the server and if there is a “Flag” set on the server to tell the computer to image, the software points the computer at the right image for the computer and imaging of the new or crashed computer begins.
When I had to deal with a newly purchased computer or a computer that had crashed such as a Hard drive failure and this was replaced, I could simply “FOG” the computer and it was restored back to its old self, this took around 15 to 20 minuets.