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How do you do....it? Thread, A FREE way to image workstations. in Technical; Just a quick link to this Very handy Linux utility that I've just implemented in school I started work at ...
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    maniac's Avatar
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    A FREE way to image workstations.

    Just a quick link to this Very handy Linux utility that I've just implemented in school I started work at this week, as they had no way of imaging workstations (They rebuilt them all from scratch when they went wrong, very time consuming!)

    PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost)

    It uses the partimage program, which I know a few people use, but it is packaged up nicely with a linux build that will boot very quickly from a USB stick or CD-ROM (or PXE boot if you've got time to set it up) and will link to a windows or linux file share for storing or retrieving the images from. It has an easy to follow menu driven system to create or retrieve an image, so minimal input needed fro the user. It also recognises most network cards with no problems, so no need to have to find and load network drivers like you might have to for WDS or ghost.

    It works very well so I thought I'd share it with you all. Only took me an afternoon to get it working properly. Worth reading to documentation as it also tells you how you can program some information in e.g the IP address of the server your storing the images on so you only have to respond to a few prompts to image each machine.

    Apologies if it's already been mentioned somewhere, I did do a search first! Hope someone finds it useful.

    Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    Just a quick link to this Very handy Linux utility
    In a similar vein: Version 1 of System Rescue CD is (finally) out:

    Main Page - SystemRescueCd

    Same kind of thing as above, but perhaps a bit more general-use. I install it on a partition on each workstation and have it run a script to automatically reimage the workstation when it's booted. Works well, but is a bit fiddly to set up, so I'll definitely have a look at PING.

    --
    David Hicks

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    maniac's Avatar
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    I looked at the system rescue CD (I have used this before) and also RIP linux which is another simelar linux build http://ftp.leg.uct.ac.za/pub/linux/rip/ I then found PING accidently, mainly because I wasn't having much luck with getting network cards working under RIP linux or the SystemRescueCD, and had no luck at all at getting the PartImage client to talk to the Partimage Server application, so I looked at a way of getting it to read from a network share, and PING popped up in my google search.

    The things that impressed me with this is it's menu driven, no need to issue commands to the linux shell directly (although you can if you want to) and it boots amazingly fast as the Linux build is only 20MB. I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to linux, so it was nice to find something that didn't need much messing around to get working.

    Mike.
    Last edited by maniac; 20th June 2008 at 09:40 PM.

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    richard.thomas's Avatar
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    I've used PING before... FOG is based apon PING but makes much better use of it and I find it a very very good imaging solution!

    SourceForge.net: FOG - Free, Ghost-like Cloning Solution

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    monkeyx (23rd June 2008)

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Funny you should mention FOG, I was just reading about it on another site. lol

    It does look good, but is it as easy to set up as it appears, and will it run on an older server? The only spare server I have that I could use for it is about 4 years old.

    Mike.

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    Yeh it'll run on an older server (obviously depending on spec) and is very easy to use and install!
    I've used linux before, but i'm by no means an expert!!
    The installation was amazingly easy! Installed Fedora and set it up with an IP etc. Then ran the install file and it was almost window's like with it's ease!! The setup asked a few questions and away it went. Before I knew it I was imaging stations with it!

    The best bit is that it also audits stuff. Ooo another best bit it can do all sorts of funky stuff via the PXE. Virus scan, disk wipes, memory checks.. Ooo another best bit! The FOG client can do all sorts of amazing stuff. Shutdown / Log off workstations after certain idle times, rename hosts (allowing for fully automated imaging/minisetup), track user logins, and it's always being updated. If you find a computer it doesn't work on you post on the forum and the guy that runs the project (sourceforge name: microleaks) normally replies with godlike speed and fixes it... The support I recieved when I highlighted a NIC driver that I needed wasn't there was amazing. He asked me what the make/model is and it was included in the next patch (which he released an hour after telling me he'd fixed it). We've been dishing ALOT of money out to Symantec for ghost and they'd reply with "So what? You should have bought a NIC we support" sort of attitude- and we PAY for that support!!


    As you can see from my ranting I have nothing but praise for this!! The ONLY bad side of it (and it's actually fedora's fault i believe!) is that it decided one day that it wanted to be a DHCP server, but that was easily fixed!!

    Give it a try.. I dare you! :P

  8. Thanks to richard.thomas from:

    monkeyx (23rd June 2008)

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    chrbb's Avatar
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    I looked at this the other day, do you have to have a dedicated machine with fedora on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    I looked at this the other day, do you have to have a dedicated machine with fedora on?
    If you've not got a spare box to run it on, you could always use the free VMWare server and install a server linux distro - we've got Ubuntu 8.04 LTS running in a virtual machine on our 2008 server without any issues at all.

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    Sorry should have also asked if it's possible to dual boot fedora with xp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    Sorry should have also asked if it's possible to dual boot fedora with xp.
    Yep, - I'm not sure of the exact procedure for Fedora, but essentially you'll need to resize your XP partition to leave space for a Fedora install. Some distributions can resize the partition for you during the installation procedure. At the end of the install, the linux bootloader (probably Grub) will be installed, giving you the choice of OS to load at boot time.

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    Having a dual boot would be useful, I have spare workstations but no spare network points or any spare spaces in schools to set one up.

    My WSUS is going to be dual boot xp/server 2003 as well on a suite computer, 2 hour spare slot mon am and during staff meeting wed after school will hopefully suffice!

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    Do not suppose this PING offers away of just altering the differences?

    We've used RIS/WDS for years now for image deployment, and i do like it, but i've always thought it would be good that when you update an image, then redeploy it, if you did not have to re-deploy the whole 20-30GB image, it would just alter what has changed between the orginal image and the new one.I can live in hope

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    Do not suppose this PING offers away of just altering the differences?

    We've used RIS/WDS for years now for image deployment, and i do like it, but i've always thought it would be good that when you update an image, then redeploy it, if you did not have to re-deploy the whole 20-30GB image, it would just alter what has changed between the orginal image and the new one.I can live in hope
    Unfortunitely not, it is very basic just allowing for the imaging of complete partitions, but it works as well as ghost/WDS/RIS in my opinion and is much easier to setup than WDS/RIS can be as it only requires a windows file share to store the images on, no server side programs at all to support it so for a basic imaging system, it works very well.

    Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    Do not suppose this PING offers away of just altering the differences?

    We've used RIS/WDS for years now for image deployment, and i do like it, but i've always thought it would be good that when you update an image, then redeploy it, if you did not have to re-deploy the whole 20-30GB image, it would just alter what has changed between the orginal image and the new one.I can live in hope

    I don't know of any way of doing this at the moment but WDS should be able to do it. ImageX is a file based deployment method (unlike Ghost and the other partition based systems) so I'm sure it could be altered so that it only writes files which have changed.

    No idea if this is anywhere in Microsoft's plans. If it's not yet there and they read this and implement it then please can I claim royalties :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard.thomas View Post
    I've used PING before... FOG is based apon PING but makes much better use of it and I find it a very very good imaging solution!

    SourceForge.net: FOG - Free, Ghost-like Cloning Solution

    This is looking very good. Been looking for a ghost replacement for a while. I tried PING but it seemed to be very slow when we tested it.

    Managed to get it up and running on a Ubuntu server without any difficulties. Testing uploading and deploying our Windows XP SP3 sysprep builds and so far so good. Love the extras thrown in ie disk wipe, recover etc.

    Not even had chance to test the client/server etc yet!

    Deployed a 1.7GB images in under 10 mins from A virtual server with 256mb of ram and 100mb ethernet connection

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