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.