dalsoth (22nd February 2012)
SCCM wins every time for me, once I've got my image set up and captured I just sit down, click a few times to target which machines and want and let them get on with it. Complete reporting straight out the box so you know what's done and what isn't with no need to start anything manually on the client. Add that to all the other systems management and software deployment goodies you get with the product and low price on EES you can't lose imo
dalsoth (22nd February 2012)
We do it using external disks as well. We use external SSD drives which are blazingly quick.
Acronis is awesome.
I never really do entire suites just 1 or 2 computers.
No, that's about right! It barely compresses the image, which oddly enough - actually makes it backup and restore faster, since it doesn't have to compress the files on backup, and de-compress on restore. Obviously it depends on the image itself and what it holds, but 20gb for a normal school installation sounds about right (you'd be surprised at how much software can't be deployed via GPO or run from the server...!).
I personally use WinPE 3.1 and Gimagex, creates and restores images fairly quickly and its free.
Fog here too. Was a combination of Fog and Ghost from usb or network and Ghost before that but now totally Fog after a few issue with older laptops have been resolved (related to pxe boot). Dont have problems with drivers given the majority of our computers/laptops are on Win 7 now. We only have different images because different computers/laptops have different software on it so we have groups of software based on location.
I use to find going round each computer/laptop with a network boot disc to kick off imaging (back in the days when we used Ghost) annoying so imaging from USB would be a real PITA IMO given the that theres 500+ devices here. Now all we do for computers is tell Fog they need imaging, and for laptops its a little bit more work in that we have to attach the laptop to a switch and then turn them on but still ALOT less pain the doing them manually/individually from USB.
@BrendanRichman: how long does it take you to do a lab of say 30? and does your company charge for the time you spend there or is there like an annual fee which includes this service and it doesnt matter if you spend a day or a month the annual charge is the same?
Sorry @apeo, only just seen your question! To clone a whole suite (or lab) would take us around 2-3 hours. That's with 3-4 drives, and 2 of us doing it. I'm not certain on how we charge labour, but I do believe when we do new installs of suites etc. it is usually charged at a set rate, based on the job. Most schools we service have a monthly contract with us, ranging from 4 hours a week (which is actually a surprisingly large amount of time to maintain some schools) to 2 hours a month (again, they cope (due to budgets I guess)!), to ad hoc support where we visit only when required. No two schools are the same infrastructure-wise or in the level of support they need, so we have to taylor it specifically to their needs! Hope that's cleared everything up for you!
@BrendanRichman: Its cool, I've been out of the country so didnt see your reply lol. Anyway, its all very interesting and thats not bad time to complete a lab of 30 given that giving you have to do 4 batches i.e. image a set of 8 then move onto the next 8. I would assume each unit is imaged in ~ 30 mins - 45 mins, which includes the time you have to manually start the images. Our images arent that quick but our images are huge, I think our main images are ~ 30 GB. That said I would still say that you could benefit from an imaging solution like Fog and its possible you could get the whole suite of 30 do in the same time but with only 1 techy. The possible issue with Fog is that you will need the MAC addresses of each machine.
Using a usb disk to clone has gotta be classed as very very old school these days. And I doubt its a supported way of deploying the Microsoft OS. Presuming you don't even sysprep your machines if your using USB?
I personally use MDT with WDS - SCCM if the school have a license for it - much simpler than FOG/Ghost and especially easier than wandering around an entire room full of PCs with a few USB disks - i like to save my legs and do everything the easy way!
MDT, WDS and FOG here
Another +1 for WDS here. Was amazed how much time it saved over last the couple of Summer's, it's just sooooo much quicker than using Ghost which was a real PITA.
I can have an ICT Suite (26 Machines) re-imaged ready for software deployment in less than 40 minutes starting each machine off via PXE. Now we've moved our WDS Server onto R2 I'm looking to have a play with the multicast element this Summer to speed things up a bit more.
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