Integrating Clonezilla Live into FOG’s PXE Menu

I came across a number of potential solutions while looking into some way of backing up my FOG server but what I’ve settled with is using Clonezilla to clone the Ubuntu box itself to safeguard the entire FOG server for disaster recovery purposes (the FOG server is installed on Ubuntu).

I’ve been experimenting with it a couple of times and I like it so much I decided to add it to FOG’s PXE menu just for fun.

I understand that with this setup I cant use Clonezilla from the FOG PXE menu to backup the same machine running FOG but I think I can live with using the live CD for that. In fact I’ve left the disk in the drive so I don’t have to scramble for it when I need it.

That’s enough background information. Let’s get on with the actual instructions which is what this post is supposed to be about…

Launch terminal and type the following command

sudo chown emeneye /tftpboot

This changes the owner of the /tftpboot directory to emeneye. Replace ‘emeneye’ with the your own username

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Mounting Windows Shares in Ubuntu

Having an Ubuntu box running the FOG server gives me the opportunity to learn about Linux along the way while I carry on with my trial of the imaging server. I didn’t plan it this way but I am going to make the most of this prime opportunity.

There’s a lot I can do in Windows with my eyes closed but I’d have no idea how to do the same in Linux (without the help of Google of course). So what I want to do is document anything and everything I learn about Linux, however big or small. This also bodes well with my decision to take practical steps towards career progression – having Linux skills will do me good on my CV.

I’ve been tinkering with the FOG PXE menu and found myself wanting to share some files between Ubuntu and Windows 7 which gave birth to this post. These instructions do not cover how to create shared folders in Windows 7, instead I’m concentrating on the Linux side of things – how to mount an existing Windows 7 shared folder in Ubuntu 10.04.

A couple of steps here can be done outside the Terminal but there’s something about using the Terminal thats I find more satisfying than using the GUI.

OK, so here goes.

Launch the Terminal from the Applications | Accessories menu and follow these instructions:

sudo apt-get install smbfs

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enter password

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Enter y to continue

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mkdir ~/Windows-Share-on-HP1

Note: this creates a folder in your home directory called “Windows-Share-on-HP1”. I named it as such to make it easier for me to identify where the shared folder is. You can change the name of this folder to suit your liking.

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sudo gedit /etc/fstab

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This will launch a text document in edit mode. Add the following line at the bottom of the file. Replace everything in capitals with your own details.

//WINDOWS_ IP/NAME_OF_SHARED_FOLDER /home/EMENEYE/WINDOWS-SHARE-ON-HP1 cifs uid=UBUNTU_USERNAME,user=WINDOWS_USERNAME,password=WINDOWS_PASSWORD 0 0

Save and close the document.

The folder should be mounted on your Desktop after a restart. To mount without having to restart launch Terminal and type “sudo mount –a”

Getting VM’s to Play Nice With Fog

I had an interesting experience trying to get virtual machines in VMWare Player to work with FOG – there was a trial and error process trying to get the VMs to PXE-boot into FOG and image the hard disk, etc.

This is a quick post just to note down some pointers to bear in mind when attempting the above:

  • Use ‘bridged’ network type
  • Use a static MAC address
  • Change the disk type to IDE
  • Allocate all disk space to begin with
  • Update the fog kernel image (I used 2.2.4)

I’m coming up with a companion video to demonstrate the above on YouTube soon – It’s about time I dug out my screen capture software, Snagit, somewhere from my backups.

UPDATE: The video is now up on YouTube

Shortcomings with FOG

Just a quick note to mention a couple of shortcomings with FOG:

  • If you have multiple partitions you can’t choose to clone just one of these, you have to clone the entire disk
  • Same goes for when restoring images – have to restore the image spanning the entire disk, you can’t restore it to just one partition
  • If you have more than one hard disk there’s no way of choosing which disk to clone or restore an image to – FOG always chooses the first disk by default

I just need to get in the habit of making sure the OS is always on the first disk. Also I rarely have multiple partitions on the same disk as the OS – I have my OS on one disk and my data on a second disk whenever possible so I don’t think these shortcomings will affect me much.

FOG – Restoring an image to a client PC [VIDEO]

Following on from my previous post, this is the second video to demonstrate Fog on my home network. The video demonstrates how to deploy an image to a client, which again I have broken down into three simple steps:

1) Make sure the correct image is associated with the client
2) Create a Deployment task
3) PXE-boot the client into Fog to start the automatic restore process

Not having spent much time on editing, the video is a bit rushed as I don’t want to get distracted from working with Fog itself. As I explained before, the video is a demo for my own reference and not intended as a tutorial. With the videos out of the way I can concentrate on deploying applications remotely using Fog snap-ins.

FOG – Registering a client and Uploading an image [VIDEO]

I wanted to come up with a couple of videos to demonstrate Fog in action at  home – with the first video recorded I didn’t want to spend too much time editing and get distracted from experimenting with Fog itself. The videos are only a demo and not intended as a tutorial – in fact they’re more for my own reference.

This video demonstrates the steps needed to register a client and Uploading an image, which I’ve broken down into four steps:

1) Registering a client with Fog
2) Creating an image object and associating it with the client
3) Creating an Upload task for the client in Fog
4) PXE-booting the client to capture the image and upload it to the Fog server

For my own HP I have two Windows 7 images uploaded onto the Fog Server – a Windows 7 image with all plugins and applications, and the other without any applications to deploy software such as Office 2007 as snap-ins.

I’ll be back soon with the second video demonstrating deploying an image to a client (still under production).