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Selecting the Automated Deployment Method

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Begin the deployment of your Network Load Balancing solution by determining how to automate your Network Load Balancing deployment. Automate the deployment of your Network Load Balancing solution to ensure the consistency of installation, to reduce the time required to deploy your solution, and to assist in restoring failed Network Load Balancing cluster hosts. Manually deploy your Network Load Balancing solution only if creating and testing the automation files and scripts would take more time than manually configuring the cluster. Figure 9.2 shows the process for determining the best method to automate the deployment of your Network Load Balancing solution.

Figure 9.2   Selecting the Automated Deployment Method

Selecting the Automated Deployment Method

You can automate the deployment of Windows Server 2003 and Network Load Balancing cluster hosts by using one of the following methods:

  • Unattended installation

  • Sysprep

    • Remote Installation Services (RIS)

Table 9.2 compares the characteristics of the various automated deployment methods.

Table 9.2   Comparing Automated Deployment Methods


Deployment Characteristics Unattended Installation Sysprep RIS

Uses images to deploy installation


Table Bullet Table Bullet

Uses scripts to customize installation

Table Bullet Table Bullet


Supports post installation scripts to install applications

Table Bullet Table Bullet Table Bullet

Deployed by using local drives on the target server

Table Bullet Table Bullet


Initiated by remotely administered servers



Table Bullet

Deployed from a network share

Table Bullet Table Bullet


Depending on the requirements of each cluster, more than one method might be required to deploy all your Network Load Balancing clusters. For more information about these methods, see "Designing Unattended Installations" "Designing Image-based Installations with Sysprep" and "Designing RIS Installations" in Automating and Customizing Installations of this kit.

The unattended installation and Sysprep methods require that you create script files to automate the deployment. The Network Load Balancing–specific installation and configuration information is required in two sections of the unattended and Sysprep script files: the [MS_WLBS parameters] and [MS_TCPIP parameters] sections.

For more information about the process for configuring the script files, see the Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003 Corporate Deployment Tools User’s Guide (Deploy.chm). Deploy.chm is included in the file in the Support folder on the Windows Server 2003 operating system CD. For more information about the parameters used by the script files, see the Windows Preinstallation Environment link on the Web Resources page at There are no special considerations for automating Network Load Balancing deployment by using the RIS method.

For Network Load Balancing, you need to perform specific tasks when creating the unattended installation and Sysprep script files:

  • Review the content in the Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Reference that relates to the [MS_WLBS parameters] section.

    WLBS stands for "Windows NT Load Balancing Service," the name of the load balancing service used in Microsoft® Windows NT® Server version 4.0. For reasons of backward compatibility, WLBS continues to be used in certain instances.

  • Ensure that the IP addresses for the cluster and all virtual clusters are entered in the IPAddress parameter under the [MS_TCPIP parameters] section.

    Typically, Network Load Balancing Manager automatically adds the cluster and virtual cluster IP addresses to the list of IP addresses. Both unattended installation and Sysprep require that you add the addresses to the IPAddress parameter under the [MS_TCPIP parameters] section of the script.

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