Swimage Fundamentals – Roles & Templates


A Swimage template is a unique configuration part.  A template can contain a few or many configuration components as needed.  They represent the settings that make a computer unique and when used in combination, provide tremendous flexibility.  It is easiest to think of templates as “transparency sheets” for configuration data.  By stacking a set of templates together, the resulting set of configuration items represents the finished configuration for a resource.

Contained within a template are two primary types of data, Configuration Items and Array Data.

  1. Configuration Items are attributes of which a machine can only have one. For example, a computer can have only one assigned location, domain, or computer name.  When multiple templates are stacked together for a single system that have conflicting configuration items, the last one (or lowest in the scope) will take precedence.  For this reason, when designing templates, pay close attention to the scope as the priority you want to place on a particular configuration item.
  2. Array Data includes items which a PC can contain – either singular or multiple values. Applications, Registry Scripts, Custom Actions, and Windows Components fall into this category.  Unlike configuration items, array data scope does not come into play when multiple templates are applied to a PC with various sets of array data.  Instead, the data becomes additive.


A Role is a predefined stack of templates.  A Role will contain all the necessary information, or instruction to build a computer.  The purpose is to minimize variables and to make it easier for deployment technicians to define how to configure a computer.  For example, you could give the technician a select number of roles to use for deployments such as Windows 7 and Windows 10.  The actual deployments will configure themselves based on the templates that make up these roles.  This way the technician does not need to fully understand the nature of templates to deploy a system; only that a few deployment role options are available.

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