$5.12 @ Monoprice. http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1024009&p_id=4959&seq=1&format=2 . But the Amazon one has better color quality.
With a top speed of 5 cm per second, it won't be throwing much of a cloud of dust.
The System Image Utility in 10.5 Server has built-in Automator workflows, and works with the server's NetBoot service. I use it to deploy 35 GB images over the network in in about 18 min. But the big kids use DeployStudio: http://www.deploystudio.com/Home.html
Assimilator? That's cute, I used it too, but: People recalling their experiences from the 90's really prevents serious discussion for this platform. Those were the days, they are long gone now, NONE of that code remains, several times over, it has NOTHING to do with the computers as they stand now. Furthermore, nobody cares. I will give three months and then I will not want to hear about anything prior to 10.6. I bid you good day.
DeployStudio looks fantastic with it's multicasting capabilities, but the System Image Utility in Leopard Server is just so trusty I have a hard time looking at anything else. http://www.deploystudio.com/Home.html You don't hear much about Leopard Server but it is by far the most promising aspect of the platform. It is the key to any large scale OSX network. I am a one man shop for 400 users. I'm sure that with a staff of three It could scale way up.
This is part of life at a private high school. The parents have to consent to cameras in the computers, otherwise they are removed. In the current MacBooks you would kill the screen if you unplugged the camera, so we opted for a launchd script that makes sure the camera stays off. The parents are more agreeable to this than the drill-press option. I would be very proud of any grade 9 student that could beat the script.
I've changed my longer backbone runs to fibreoptic and it wasn't to hard to do. The small form factor sockets on the larger switches made it mostly painless. Now I'm looking for ways to use them for 10 gigabit, and it should all be cost effective by next summer.
Read up: OS X Server http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/ Yes, it's called Open directory, it works in a big way. Most enterprises that run OS X server don't want you to know about them. You have no business there.