In a previous life, I worked for a university that was broke. Not broke in the sense that it was falling apart, but broke in the sense that we had to make a lot of our own tools. This meant no SCCM, no Ghost (does anyone even still use it?), etc. There are dozens of labs and had a clunky imaging solution that we rolled ourselves based on SQL Express, VBScript, and WinPE distributed by PXE Linux on a CentOS box. Certainly a very clunky scenario. When I was made the lead on the campus-wide Windows 7 rollout, I knew I needed to get a fresh start on this.
To capture or not to capture?
One of the great religious battles of our day (as far as desktop imaging goes) is whether or not capturing a reference image and sysprepping, or deploying a standard "thin" image and installing the necessary applications through another means is the best way to go.