Update: MDT 2012 Beta 1

I recently posted about the release of MDT 2012 Beta 1 and wasn't too impressed with it. I have to say that my feelings are starting to change with two new blog posts from Michael Niehaus.

The cross-platform support means that instead of having to use two separate boot methods (x86 vs x64) to deploy your operating systems, you can now just use the x86 CD or USB and your x64 task sequences will be available.  Two items to note:

  • Booting to an x64 environment and deploying x86 is still not supported.
  • Booting to an x86 environment to deploy an x64 image means that you will need to upload setup files for both instances of that OS (e.g. Win 7 SP1 - 6.1.7601.17514) x86 and x64.

Now on the the good stuff...UEFI support. We've all grown to know and love the BIOS and have used it since the dawn of time (or so it seems).  UEFI is about to change all of that.  The BIOS has certain limitations that UEFI has been designed to eliminate.

  • 16-bit code (where most OSes are now 32-bit or 64-bit)
  • 1MB of addressable memory (regardless of how much the computer actually has)
  • Slower option ROM initialization
  • 2.2TB boot disk limitation (an MBR limitation)

UEFI has been deployed in many of the newer hardware models, but has been set to 'Legacy BIOS' mode for backwards compatibility.  MDT 2012 will allow you to take advantage of 'native' UEFI, which addresses the issues listed above.  The first two changes that most IT pros will notice are the removal of the 2.2TB boot disk limitation and the improved boot times.  As the UEFI standard matures, we should see an even larger improvement in boot times, especially when matched with SSDs.

For more information of the UEFI standards, visit http://www.uefi.org/specs/esp_registry.

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