Microsoft Automates Server Deployment

Beta release of Microsoft's Automated Deployment Services for Windows Server 2003 promises to dramatically cut the time it takes to deploy Windows Server system images.

LAS VEGAS—Microsoft shipped the first deliverable in its new Dynamic Systems Initiative with the beta release of Automated Deployment Services for Windows Server 2003, but the companys vision for reducing complexity in the data center wont be realized for years to come.

Microsoft announced at the second annual Microsoft Management Summit the beta release of ADS, which promises to reduce the amount of time it takes to deploy hundreds of Windows Server system images to minutes from days or weeks. ADS is capable of remotely deploying operating system software to "bare metal" machines, according to Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Server Division in Redmond, Wash.

The streamlined server system image distribution tool, in addition to automating server deployment, also provides image creation, editing and scripting, a script-based administration framework and the ability to encode operational standards.

Its general release is due in the second quarter.

Windows Server 2003 will also lead the way in the Dynamic Systems Initiative with other manageability features, including automated patch management, improved usability of remote administration and scripting, and simplified connections to storage area networks, Valentine said.

More promising and ambitious in the data center automation initiative is Microsofts System Definition Model, an XML-based schema for easily instrumenting systems, applications and other infrastructure components during the development of those elements.

SDM, intended to foster instrumentation that allows the operational requirements of applications to be captured and combined with data center policies, is intended to allow data center operators to automatically provision and modify applications and their resources on the fly as business requirements change.