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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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

Setting up my Deployment Lab

UPDATE: This post is outdated. Check out the new Lab here.

To get my learning project off to a good start I made a couple of investments to set up a lab at home – a technician computer, a reference computer and a target computer along with the FOG server.

With my limited budget in mind I took the decision to dual boot my HP DC5800 to act both as my ‘Technician Computer’ and ‘Reference Computer’. With the WAIK installed on the technician computer, it’ll be used to build the unattend.xml answer file using the Windows SIM tool as well as using Fog’s web management interface and continuing with my on-going research into the subject, etc.

I was lucky to find a second HP DC5800 on eBay identical to the one I’ve had for over a year to act as my target computer and also bought a 4-port KVM switch allowing me to control 4 computers with a single keyboard, mouse and monitor to minimise the space my deployment lab takes up (in my bedroom :).

Note that I made sure the technician computer and reference computer are both on two separate disks – if you have a single disk with multiple partitions you can’t choose to upload just one of these using Fog, you can only upload the entire disk. Also, when Fog deploys an image to a computer with two disks it does so on the first available disk, which is why I’ve also made sure the reference computer installation is on the first disk.

Now I’m ready to get started!

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).

FOG, A Linux-Based Cloning Solution

” FOG is a Linux-based, free and open source computer imaging solution for Windows XP, Vista and 7 that ties together a few open-source tools with a php-based web interface. The FOG server, by default, provides DHCP, NFS, PXE, FTP, HTTPD, and WOL services to the clients on the network. FOG doesn’t use any boot disks, or CDs; everything is done via TFTP and PXE.”

The above paragraph, taken from the Fog wiki page, pretty much sums up why I like Fog so much –it’s easy to set up, a simple web-based interface, no need for boot disks or CD’s and best of all it’s free clip_image001

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