As I continue in this line of work, I’m constantly faced with the same issue. How do I preserve all the data that I have accumulated? I’m beginning to think that I have the MCT download site sitting in these little USB powered boxes in front of me. I like to add a little value to the classes that I teach. Don’t get me wrong. The people at Microsoft do good work in developing these classes. As the instructor on the front lines though, I know that my students expect more. As a result I have extra labs, handouts, downloads and then some. Well how do you keep all this organized? Imaging.
I know, what are you talking about? Am I supposed to image my computer for each class? Of course not. You can image your files and restore them later. Let me just tell you a big advantage. My 5115A class with all the VMs, books, and my notes comes in at over 8 gigs. After I ran the imagex command with the /compress maximum switch the total file size is 1.8 GB. At that size, I was able to easily fit 5115 and 5116 on a single DVD as a backup. Sealing them up takes time, but deploying them is a breeze.
Rapid deployment can be a life saver when you show up on site and nobody has deployed the VMs for the class. It has happened to me before. I brought several DVDs and passed around my USB hard drive to the students while I started class. It was still 2 hours before everyone had the VMs running. Utilizing the new WIM image format, you can significantly reduce your rollout time in these situations by utilizing the WIM format.
You do not need to zap any hard drives for this. You are merely adding files to the hard drive. Why not zip them? Well, the WIM format takes advantage of single-instance storage. That means if the same file appears 8 times in what you are imaging, it will only be stored once. That saves significant storage space and increases deployment speed. Give it a try.