Customizing the ViaMonstra Hydration Kit

Back in December, the ViaMonstra hydration kit was updated to support Server (and SQL) 2016.  You can follow the post here to set it up.  We get a lot of questions offline about customizing the kit, so here is a summary of customization.

Server room interior

Tip: Remember that we are placing all the content in a different location (typically D or E, and it’s really shiny if it can be on a separate disk) and using mklink to create a symbolic link on the root of C. 

  • The four CustomSettings.ini files for each server in C:\HydrationCMWS2016\ISO\Content\Deploy\Control need to be changed to reflect your custom info.
  • ConfigMgr Current Branch
    • "C:\HydrationCMWS2016\DS\Applications\Install – ConfigMgr\ConfigMgrUnattend.ini" will allow you to change your Site Code/DB/Install Dir and much more.  If you’re planning to change the domain info to match your own, you need to edit this file too.
    • "C:\HydrationCMWS2016\DS\Applications\Install – SQL Server 2016\ConfigurationFileConfigurationManager.ini"
  • ConfigMgr Technical Preview
    • "C:\HydrationCMWS2016\DS\Applications\Install – ConfigMgr Technical Preview\ConfigMgrUnattend.ini"
    • "C:\HydrationCMWS2016\DS\Applications\Install – SQL Server 2016\ConfigurationFileConfigurationManager.ini" (If you are updating for Current Branch, you wont need to repeat this step for Technical Preview, since it uses the same file)
  • In Deployment Workbench, open the HydrationCMWS2016 share and navigate to the sequence for DC01, you'll need to change the domain name in the Authorize DHCP step in the State Restore node – it needs to match your own domain.  If you're using a password other than P@ssw0rd, make sure you change it here too.
  • TimeZone/Other Sequence Settings
    • Take a look at the CustomSettings.ini in C:\HydrationCMWS2016\ISO\Content\Deploy\Control – you'll be able to change TimeZone, SMSTSOrgname, etc from here.  Remember that any property that isn’t specified in the individual settings file will be forced by CustomSettings.ini.  If you want something to apply to everybody, put it in [Default] and leave the server specific configs in the server specific ini files.
  • Accounts
    • Your service accounts and user accounts, their passwords, and properties are created in the Configure-CreateADStructure.wsf script.  You can find it in "C:\HydrationCMWS2016\DS\Applications\Configure – Create AD Structure".  They are set to never expire, but you can change that when you’re in there.  If you want to get really granular with the UserAccountControl values, check here.
  • Adapter properties
    • In Server2016, NAT got awesome and now you don’t need to setup a virtual switch quite as complex as we’ve instructed in books in the past.  Check out my post about it here.
  • Your home network
    • You might run into a problem when setting up the hydration kit because the IP ranges are common for many routers.  To fix that you’ll need to either:
      • Change the IP ranges in the hydration kit in "C:\HydrationCMWS2016\DS\Applications\Configure – Create AD SubnetsConfigure-CreateADSubnets.ps1"
      • Change the configuration on your router via its configuration site / ssh etc.

When you are done with all your changes, simply open the Deployment Workbench and update media content in the Advanced – Media node.

What hardware should I use?
As always, we recommend i7, 32GB RAM, and a minimum 500GB SSD if you’re using deduplication.  16GB RAM systems will be limited to MDT only environments.

If you have any further questions about customizing the kit, please ping us and we will add it to the post.

Happy Deployments

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Ami Casto

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[…] you're already completed all of your other customizations as defined here, then you are now ready to generate the ISO from the Advanced Configuration > Media […]

Johan Arwidmark
3 years ago

Cool, thanks for the post