Capturing a master node with MS HPC Cluster Manager

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Not sure if this post is too deep to be interesting to more than a few of you, but thought I’d at least point to it. If you’ve ever asked yourself “How do I capture an image of a compute node which has been customized so that I can use it as the ‘master’ for deploying to the rest of the nodes?” on a Windows-based system, ask no more. Well you can ask this one last time and I’ll point you here.

My response has been to send an email with a link to the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK), and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT).   While these kits include the necessary tools and techniques, it is very much like looking for a needle in a haystack because of the volume of information which does not pertain to the HPC environment.  The HPC Cluster Manager already leverages most of the tools described in the links above when it is provisioning new nodes from bare metal.  Having sifted through all of the extraneous material, the intent of this post is to describe a simple process for creating a master image and then deploying it using customized Node Templates.

Helpful “how to” post for those just diving in to HPC with Windows.