In MDT 2012, we added support for DaRT integration into an MDT Lite Touch boot image, as well as a new monitoring feature that integrated with DaRT to make remote control into Windows PE easy.  See http://blogs.technet.com/b/mniehaus/archive/2011/11/28/mdt-2012-new-feature-dart-integration.aspx and http://blogs.technet.com/b/mniehaus/archive/2012/07/27/mdt-2012-update-1-dart-8-support.aspx for more information.

In MDT 2012 Update 1, we now can use the MDT monitoring feature with ConfigMgr deployments, which also means we can simplify the process of using DaRT remote control with ConfigMgr.  DaRT isn’t required to enable monitoring, but without it obviously you won’t have the DaRT remote control integration.

Here are the steps that you need to go through to implement this:

  1. In Deployment Workbench, create a deployment share (if you don’t already have one), then in the properties enable monitoring:
    image
    The ConfigMgr clients will eventually talk to this monitoring service, and you can see their progress by looking at the “Monitoring” node.
  2. (OPTIONAL)  Get the necessary DaRT files where MDT can find them.  If using DaRT 7, copy the appropriate “tools.cab” files into C:\Program Files\Microsoft Deployment Toolkit\Templates\Distribution\<Platform>.  If using DaRT 8, copy the “toolsx86.cab” or “toolsx64.cab” to the correct place. 
  3. (OPTIONAL)  Create a new boot image using one of the MDT wizards integrated into the ConfigMgr console (to create just a boot image or to create a new task sequence with a new boot image).  On the “optional components” wizard screen, select “DaRT” from the bottom of the list:
    image
  4. Modify the CustomSettings.ini in the Settings package to add a new line to tell the clients to report status to the monitoring service:
    EventService=http://server:9800
  5. Deploy.

There are some limitations with this implementation worth pointing out:

  • The monitoring service will only see status reports from the MDT steps in the ConfigMgr task sequence.  For the built-in ConfigMgr steps (e.g. “Apply Operating System”), there won’t be any updates.  So as a result, the percent complete will bounce around a bit and the current step won’t be 100% accurate.
  • The monitoring implementation hasn’t been tested with huge numbers of clients being deployed at once.  If there are any errors (due to timeouts, full databases, etc.) it won’t affect the deployment process, but pay attention to the BDD.LOG to see if you are running into any errors.