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Old 11-15-2006, 09:49 AM   #1
tlarkin
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network imaging solution


So,

In my office is our network operations center, every employees desk/office, and a stock room with parts, benches, etc. Our space is real limited. I was thinking about getting a small mobile cart and tossing a 8 port switch and a desktop on it. Then toss all of our images on this desktop and have the ability to move this cart around our office area to image systems that need updates, or need imaging for deployment.

I have a enterprise site license for windows xp pro, suse enterprise desktop/server, wink 2k3 server, etc. So I could go any route here. I have no idea exactly how I want to do this, so this post is mainly asking for suggestions.

I do need compatability with ghost and driveimage image files since all of our systems had images created with those apps.

I would like to wheel the cart around to an area where there is space, give it power, toss all the systems on the switch to network them, and netboot them or boot into like a live or preinstall enviroment, and then pull the images off the desktop dedicated to imaging. This would save us space since its limited and give us the option of wheeling it around where we can find space. Many times I have been in a situation where I had to image 200 laptops and it was a HUGE pain because of our space restraints.

I would like to keep cost as cheap as possible so I thought perhaps a Linux solution would be a great idea.

TIA for any advice,

Tom
 
Old 11-16-2006, 07:20 PM   #2
farslayer
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http://us1.download.acronis.com/pdf/...tasheet.en.pdf

Dunno bout cheap, but it will image everything you requested.

As for compatability with existing images I don't see any information about that.
 
Old 11-16-2006, 07:26 PM   #3
matthewg42
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Wow, well it's a nice challenge. I'm afraid I don't have experience in this area, but I wanted to say that I'd love to hear about a solution if you find one.

Many years ago I used to use ghost on rollouts we did at my then employer. Imaging drives is a nice way to go, config, licenses and wotnot permitting. It's a long time since those days however, and I have to say that I've never done it under Linux.

A quick google revealed g4u, which might be up to the task - there is mention of netbooting from there, although it seems like the original process was designed with booting from floppy/cd media and then pulling images down from an FTP server. It appears to be NetBSD based, not Linux, but it's the same price.

A link from the g4u page led to YAGI which looks even more like it's what you want.

Just to satify my personal curiosity, what speed switch/NICs do you have, and what size images do you use?

Lastly, my guess is that using images created by ghost isn't going to be easy... proprietary formats etc. I dunno, that's just a hunch, maybe all these imaging things know how to use them... You might have to convert or re-create your image files. Still, if it saves your department expensive licenses, it might well be worth it.
 
Old 11-17-2006, 02:11 PM   #4
tlarkin
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Right now we are using PE disks so we can have true SATA controller support. I like the idea of making a custom PE disk using mainly barts PE builder so far and it works.

However, I am open to other methods. I do use live linux distros based on knoppix and what not, so I am familar with them, and wouldn't mind using them if they work better. Effeciency is key here, fast, reliable, and simple once implemented. I realize there will be work involved in the initial set up, but that is okay.

Thanks for the suggestions.
 
Old 11-17-2006, 04:36 PM   #5
homey
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I use a linux sollution called clonezilla. You can use pxe , cdrom or boot floppies to access the server. It uses partimage images so, you will likely need to make a new set of images. The server set is done by installing the drbl package onto an existing Linux system. This is rather easy and painless IMHO and works pretty slick.
Check it out at http://drbl.sourceforge.net/
 
Old 11-17-2006, 04:42 PM   #6
tlarkin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homey
I use a linux sollution called clonezilla. You can use pxe , cdrom or boot floppies to access the server. It uses partimage images so, you will likely need to make a new set of images. The server set is done by installing the drbl package onto an existing Linux system. This is rather easy and painless IMHO and works pretty slick.
Check it out at http://drbl.sourceforge.net/

Interesting, do you have any driver issues? I find most of our issues are due to lack of driver support for newer nics and SATA controllers and such. Our current imaging solution is, well lets say, end of life type of situation.

We are also going to be possibly rolling some of our netware servers into linux servers.

Thanks for all the info from everyone, I appreciate it.
 
Old 11-17-2006, 04:52 PM   #7
homey
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No, the setup creates a whole directory full of boot images and even a generic one.
If your company is like any I've worked for, they tend to stick with one or two brands of nic. Otherwise, you just can't beat pxe for easy to use.
 
Old 11-17-2006, 04:56 PM   #8
tlarkin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homey
No, the setup creates a whole directory full of boot images and even a generic one.
If your company is like any I've worked for, they tend to stick with one or two brands of nic. Otherwise, you just can't beat pxe for easy to use.

Cool, I am going to check this out very soon! What platforms have you imaged with it (linux, novell, windows, mac, etc), and how smooth does it actually run?

Thanks.
 
Old 11-17-2006, 05:08 PM   #9
homey
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Mostly Linux, I did try it on Windows just to see it work and it does. I don't have a site license like you so I'll stick with Linux.
Smooth as a baby's behind.
 
Old 11-17-2006, 05:17 PM   #10
tlarkin
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My main concern is, that we have around 10,000 or so computers at my work which is a 95% windows enviroment (rough guess). We do have a few things running linux, but the users don't use that, and we have several hundred macintoshes.

So, I would have to have it support the windows platform...


How was your windows imaging experience?
 
Old 11-17-2006, 05:32 PM   #11
homey
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I didn't do enough Windows to be a good example. There must be several people who do as they have a product for advancing the hostname and sid called drbl-winRoll. You could probably get a better idea by checking out the forum and faq sections of their site.
 
Old 11-18-2006, 05:57 PM   #12
tlarkin
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well I am looking into it currently....

Thanks for your suggestions. YAGI looks interesting too, but I don't know if it supports multi casting and what not.

Also, you have your DRBL server acting as a DHCP server? I am not sure if the head of our network would want to change anything....

Either way this is going to be a hard task
 
Old 11-28-2006, 08:47 PM   #13
tlarkin
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well i have my test DRBL server up and running and I imaged my first windows machine with it today. I pulled a 4.8 gig image from the server through a switch in 3.8 minutes......

Not too shabby!

Now, if this thing really ends up being the best solution out there, maybe I may try to get the bosses to implement it on a larger scale.
 
Old 11-29-2006, 07:13 AM   #14
matthewg42
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Thanks for the feedback tlarkin - it's really good to hear what happened. Good luck!
 
Old 12-08-2006, 02:07 PM   #15
tlarkin
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Okay, this DRBL thing is pretty sweet. I have several images set up already, and systems can net boot to server and pull off any image I choose. It is pretty fast for the most part too. Some machines randomly image slow, but that could be due to faulty or glitchy hardware of some sort.

Here is the big kicker though, if I were to toss a box in every building at my work (we have like 50 buildings city wide) and run imaging off of it, I would need to have it act as a DHCP gateway, instead of a DHCP server.

Now, I know DRBL parses the DHCP.conf file for its info, so I can only assume I can edit that file to make the sever a gateway to our current DHCP servers so no extra configuration is needed other than the box itself. Plus once I set up one, I will just clone it out to the other DRBL servers.

So, anyone have any suggestions on the best way to configure a DHCP gateway? I posted the same question on the DRBL forums as well, just trying to get as much feed back as possible.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions I apprecite it, and I would like to say I am so impressed with DRBL that I am going to use it at home for my own personal images of my systems at home.
 
  


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