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Old 10-14-2005, 11:18 PM   #1
williamwbishop
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How to deploy a couple thousand images for free.


This will be the start of hopefully a short info about how to deploy images in your enterprise.

You need several items.

A network with a dhcp and dns server
A server to run the deployment system on
A bit of brain(but not much)


First you need to look at G4U(ghost for unix). Free, but donations welcome for the guy. This basically lets you save a bit image and deploy a bit image via an ftp server. This part isn't even difficult. But it plays into the next bit, which the author of said software even points too.

MIDS. This is a frontend for G4U(basically a gui type shell) that connects to the ftp server and lets you choose a server, then an image.

Now, this arrangement is not exactly polished, it doesn't have all the features...But if your company is paying 30 dollars or so for images to be put on it's pc's, then this might just be the ticket. I've tested full XP builds that deploy in under 3 minutes. The system DOES work, but it doesn't seem to get much air time. Sure it takes a bit of tinkering, but it's awesome in it's simplicity and it's capabilities.

Two cautionary notes: Use a REAL disk image to create your builds, this program has some few problems putting the image back where you can repeatedly use it. It's more like a disposable thing, you put images out...period. I'm sure it can be tweaked, modified, or whatever, but you can go from nothing to an enterprise wide deployment system in hours. So do a search, save your company some money, or just play. It's a great product, and I'm plugging away.

G4U--
http://fbim.fh-regensburg.de/~feyrer/g4u/

MIDS--
http://g4u-mids.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/main.html
 
Old 10-15-2005, 04:21 PM   #2
acid_kewpie
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if you're keen on writing these guides to help others in the long run, i'd strongly suggest submitting them as LinuxAnswers, guides submitted here tend to sink without trace other than a lucky google hit once in a while.
 
Old 10-15-2005, 04:24 PM   #3
williamwbishop
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Quote:
Originally posted by acid_kewpie
if you're keen on writing these guides to help others in the long run, i'd strongly suggest submitting them as LinuxAnswers, guides submitted here tend to sink without trace other than a lucky google hit once in a while.
Nope, not interested. That's not a guide above, more a review. I haven't the time for a guide....merely a signpost.
 
Old 10-15-2005, 04:34 PM   #4
acid_kewpie
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whatever floats your boat i guess
 
Old 10-16-2005, 12:00 AM   #5
williamwbishop
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Quote:
Originally posted by acid_kewpie
whatever floats your boat i guess
Look, the web sites do a better job than I can with write ups, I'm just passing on info. If I had the time to do a full write up I'd have enough time to do more than a 30 second surf sites between tasks...This is not a tragically busy forum, so it will remain several days and people may or may not get anything out of it. The guys that need it will search the internet, at which point it will show up either in this forum archive or somewhere else out on google. The people who don't need it won't be bothered to read it anyway. Between my main job, my side jobs, studying for tests, and a wife and kids I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend what free time I do have writing a 10 page howto on something that can easily be understood by visiting the noted sites.

Bloody hell, that free time is buggered now.
 
Old 10-31-2005, 03:55 AM   #6
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Addendum:

We were given a few servers to create a load balancing cluster for this system.

To make the most of it we are working towards the following:

We have built a universal XP image, which is sysprepped and runs via script almost everything the techs generally do on a new installation.

We copy new images up to the server with G4U

We download the images via MIDS to the boxes

We plan to keep them patched and updated via Samba and WPKG(look on freshmeat).

We're thinking we have a pretty functional goal, and we're about 90% done. I just imaged 4 new pc's in about 10 minutes for a test area.

Looking back on it, I think when we are nearly completed, we will both sit down and write up a long how-to so anyone can get this thing running. It's not overly complicated, but it would prevent having to beat your head against a wall. Hell, we might even make an RPM that does the linux side stuff if we get the extra time. Might interfere with my 70 hour work weeks though.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 07:51 PM   #7
williamwbishop
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Added to the mix, we have added a wiki style page, that password links most of our autoinstallers. It also has a forum where we can leave notes about trouble areas, tips...etc. News and info, a dedicated page to each tech, upload ability, executables and admin tools repository, it's got a lot.

We'll have a write up on the system this following weekend, when we're done we'll post it here. The whole package of all things together makes for a VERY useful solution, we're building it into self extracting scripts and zips now.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 11:08 PM   #8
Capt_Caveman
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Quote:
Originally posted by williamwbishop
We'll have a write up on the system this following weekend, when we're done we'll post it here.
Cool. I've monkeyed around with image servers for HPC clusters (like OSCAR), but they were pretty minimal. I'll be looking forward to checking it out.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 11:43 PM   #9
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It works well, I've added in the idea of using a workstation at remote sites with low bandwidth connections, putting a small windows ftp server on it, and then I can have them connect low speed to home office, and the mids server will redirect them back to their local lan, and authenticate them onto the workstation and start the new image download. I did two last night on systems that were down, 1 dead harddrive that I replaced, and the other was just hosed. Put in the cd, and 10 minutes later you're up and running with a domain joined xp build, updated and service packed to the latest. I'm trying to convince them that it's easier than updating an older build to new standards right now. We have a corporate license, so licensing isn't an issue.
 
Old 11-30-2005, 04:24 AM   #10
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Well, a bit of stumbling block. The powers that be decided they didn't want the image portion of the solution on the network, so I have to build a private network in the install area for it. The rest of it stays(wiki site, forum, package deployment, script and registry fix deployment, etc)..Bit of a bummer.

Since it runs over FTP, and is unicast, I had trouble seeing their side of it. But at least they are giving me some decent hardware to build a new rack in the install area. Silver linings just aren't that great are they?
 
  


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