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Why do IT pros not use clonezilla for imaging?

br1ckhouse 339 50 October 7, 2015 at 02:33 PM
What do IT pros use for system imaging? For my personal use, I have used clonezilla and have had great success with it on small numbers of new systems. However, when asking IT pros about it, no one seems to want to do anything with it or have any experience with it.

There is some existing documentation on clonezilla's site on how to set up a PXE boot for mass imaging but I have no idea how labor or difficult it is to set up clonezilla on a server. I wanted to see if I could hire someone to help me but it seems to be a lost cause. I can only assume that It pros use something like norton ghost in-house but shouldn't a freelancer also be able to help set something like that up for a business or is that not cost-effective?

Could anyone help share some insights here?

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#2
Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
What do IT pros use for system imaging? For my personal use, I have used clonezilla and have had great success with it on small numbers of new systems. However, when asking IT pros about it, no one seems to want to do anything with it or have any experience with it.

There is some existing documentation on clonezilla's site on how to set up a PXE boot for mass imaging but I have no idea how labor or difficult it is to set up clonezilla on a server. I wanted to see if I could hire someone to help me but it seems to be a lost cause. I can only assume that It pros use something like norton ghost in-house but shouldn't a freelancer also be able to help set something like that up for a business or is that not cost-effective?

Could anyone help share some insights here?
Why?
Because I use Acronis instead. [acronis.com] Disk Director & True Image. Acronis is also what is widely used amongst HD manufacturers when including a disc for formatting and else.
It's never failed me and it's saved my a$$ a few times.
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Quote from Aitrus View Post :
Why?
Because I use Acronis instead. [acronis.com] Disk Director & True Image. Acronis is also what is widely used amongst HD manufacturers when including a disc for formatting and else.
It's never failed me and it's saved my a$$ a few times.
If I wanted to just deploy one image across, let's say, 60 laptops, would I just need one license key?
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Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
If I wanted to just deploy one image across, let's say, 60 laptops, would I just need one license key?
I am not sure. It varies on which software.

You will need a separate license (or enterprise) for the OS being deployed per machine deployed to (depending on OS).

I actually thought you were referring to personal backups and imaging. I use SCCM for imaging at work. If I had a need for imaging that many pc's at home I'd most certainly look into your software.

I would also look into
http://www.acronis.com/en-us/busi...eployment/

Of course their pricing is a bit confusing to me. Charge $ per deploy seems dumb. Especially when it's really about the OS licensing.
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Most IT Pro's will not use open source software (or free software) because the company has policies that require trusted/tested software per private policy and/or FDIC or some form of Government policy. Depending on company.

That's why I'd assume in a business environment you could not just use any software to complete build tasks.

Edit: If it's only 60 machines. You could pull it off with a few USB drives. Would cost you less than these fees I see.
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#6
If you're trying to use PXE and doing it over a network, I'd choose FOG over clonezilla. There are companies, public school districts, universities, and non profits that use FOG. Commercial solutions are often favored for a few reasons: support/contracts - if it doesn't work right there's somebody else to blame or contract terms to enforce, often the commercial software has a lower learning curve and easier setup and may have better documentation.

https://fogproject.org/

For optimal performance if large pools of machines are frequently imaged, you need a managed switch and to get multicasting working. A big factor to consider when imaging many machines is what you do after it's been imaged as far as resetting uuids, local credentials, machine names, software licenses domain joining, etc. Some pieces of software offer a lot of options in this area, clonezilla doesn't, but FOG does.

If it's a smaller organization or business and you're in a position to make the choice after verifying you aren't violating any company policies, I'd try FOG.
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Last edited by jkee October 7, 2015 at 05:42 PM
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Quote from jkee View Post :
If you're trying to use PXE and doing it over a network, I'd choose FOG over clonezilla. There are companies, public school districts, universities, and non profits that use FOG. Commercial solutions are often favored for a few reasons: support/contracts - if it doesn't work right there's somebody else to blame or contract terms to enforce, often the commercial software has a lower learning curve and easier setup and may have better documentation.

https://fogproject.org/

For optimal performance if large pools of machines are frequently imaged, you need a managed switch and to get multicasting working. A big factor to consider when imaging many machines is what you do after it's been imaged as far as resetting uuids, local credentials, machine names, software licenses domain joining, etc. Some pieces of software offer a lot of options in this area, clonezilla doesn't, but FOG does.

If it's a smaller organization or business and you're in a position to make the choice after verifying you aren't violating any company policies, I'd try FOG.
Do you have any hands on experience with FOG? We're a nonprofit and I actually had a volunteer that was going to help with using it but he backed out last minute. We're willing to spend some money for me to hire a freelancer to show me how to to use it, assuming the hardware requirements aren't much (we would likely just use existing equipment.) I'd be interested in hearing more about what I should consider in both labor and materials needed.
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Quote from Aitrus View Post :
Most IT Pro's will not use open source software (or free software) because the company has policies that require trusted/tested software per private policy and/or FDIC or some form of Government policy. Depending on company.
I think 'most IT Pros will not use open source' is a little strong.
You can purchase support for lots of opensource directly from Oracle (formerly Sun Microsystems) who ship it as part of the Solaris O/S and have done so for years (perl/bash/gcc/make/openssh etc)

The only restriction I saw when working for one of the largest stock exchanges (who had what seemed like 50 million Govt-imposed policies) was that it needed support from an approved vendor.
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Quote from vivahate View Post :
I think 'most IT Pros will not use open source' is a little strong.
You can purchase support for lots of opensource directly from Oracle (formerly Sun Microsystems) who ship it as part of the Solaris O/S and have done so for years (perl/bash/gcc/make/openssh etc)

The only restriction I saw when working for one of the largest stock exchanges (who had what seemed like 50 million Govt-imposed policies) was that it needed support from an approved vendor.
I do concur. That's why I put the (free) in there because most people think of Open Source as freebie but that's not actually what it means. You are fully correct.
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Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
Do you have any hands on experience with FOG? We're a nonprofit and I actually had a volunteer that was going to help with using it but he backed out last minute. We're willing to spend some money for me to hire a freelancer to show me how to to use it, assuming the hardware requirements aren't much (we would likely just use existing equipment.) I'd be interested in hearing more about what I should consider in both labor and materials needed.
I worked for a computer refurbisher around 5 years ago and set up a fog server to do all the imaging. I had very little Unix experience but was able to get it working using a guide. I don't remember hardware requirements being anything special though you'll need something to handle the networking aspect. I had issues getting the pxe set up on a ddwrt router and ended up using a Windows server for dhcp. When I worked with it we had to make sure to create the image from the computer with the smallest hard drive, it couldn't shrink images.
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Very small organizations don't typically look at SCCM. But, you can check out Microsoft Deployment Toolkit [microsoft.com]. It's basically a free version of SCCM as far as Operating System Deployment is concerned. You only maintain a single image that can be used across all models. You can install apps and drivers after dropping the image as well as joining the domain. You can also use it to migrate users to a new OS or a new computer using USMT. You don't get much support from Microsoft. But, there is a TON of help from the community. Probably better support than Clonezilla or FOG.
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I don't quite think this is accurate. Clonezilla comes up frequently over at spiceworks. Without any data proving most its hard to make that assumption. I have used it in industry and it works.
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Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
Do you have any hands on experience with FOG? We're a nonprofit and I actually had a volunteer that was going to help with using it but he backed out last minute. We're willing to spend some money for me to hire a freelancer to show me how to to use it, assuming the hardware requirements aren't much (we would likely just use existing equipment.) I'd be interested in hearing more about what I should consider in both labor and materials needed.
Fog is very easy to set up. I have set up multiple servers and it takes just a couple hours. If you need help, I am willing to answer questions. PM me.
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Quote from br1ckhouse View Post :
Do you have any hands on experience with FOG? We're a nonprofit and I actually had a volunteer that was going to help with using it but he backed out last minute. We're willing to spend some money for me to hire a freelancer to show me how to to use it, assuming the hardware requirements aren't much (we would likely just use existing equipment.) I'd be interested in hearing more about what I should consider in both labor and materials needed.
I do, but I haven't used it recently. Existing hardware could be used as the server, doing it from a VM is probably the simplest. Network infrastructure will determine how quickly you can image the machines. With a 24 port or larger gigabit switch and multicasting it would go pretty fast, you could probably image 60 machines in less than 2 hours. Less robust network hardware will work too, it will just take longer.

Perfecting your machine image is the most labor intensive part of the process, installing everything, getting all settings just right, installing software updates, configuring security policies if you aren't domain managed, and prepping the image for deployment including automation of setting machine specific parameters/inventory post installation. From things you've said in other threads, you may want/need to consider things like full disk encryption.

Are these machines all the same or are they a mix of different hardware?

Quote from Mavtech View Post :
Very small organizations don't typically look at SCCM. But, you can check out Microsoft Deployment Toolkit [microsoft.com]. It's basically a free version of SCCM as far as Operating System Deployment is concerned. You only maintain a single image that can be used across all models. You can install apps and drivers after dropping the image as well as joining the domain. You can also use it to migrate users to a new OS or a new computer using USMT. You don't get much support from Microsoft. But, there is a TON of help from the community. Probably better support than Clonezilla or FOG.
I haven't actually used a recent version of MDT, but I have a vague recollection of a similar albeit clunkier process that was around in the days of windows xp. I've got a few questions about MDT that you can probably answer:
-From what I read MDT is a bit more of an automated installation platform than a cloning / imaging platform, is that a valid assessment?
-Is MTD slower at actually installing the image than tools like fog, clonezilla, ghost, or arconis? It seems like it could be, especially in large deployments.
-Does MTD require a server edition of Windows to function or can an ordinary desktop be used to distribute the image?

I think MDT shares a strength of SCCM, which is simplified image development and maintenance (adding software updates to the images). Is that a fair assessment?
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Last edited by jkee October 8, 2015 at 02:59 PM
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Quote from jkee View Post :

I haven't actually used a recent version of MDT, but I have a vague recollection of a similar albeit clunkier process that was around in the days of windows xp. I've got a few questions about MDT that you can probably answer:
-From what I read MDT is a bit more of an automated installation platform than a cloning / imaging platform, is that a valid assessment?
-Is MTD slower at actually installing the image than tools like fog, clonezilla, ghost, or arconis? It seems like it could be, especially in large deployments.
-Does MTD require a server edition of Windows to function or can an ordinary desktop be used to distribute the image?

I think MDT shares a strength of SCCM, which is simplified image development and maintenance (adding software updates to the images). Is that a fair assessment?
MDT isn't meant to be a cloning tool. However, it can be done using ImageX which is the underlying imaging tool in MDT and SCCM. There is also a GUI you can use along with ImageX called GImageX. I've used this numerous times to clone computers.

In an MDT task sequence, you can use the installation source from a Windows ISO or a .wim (image) captured with a build and capture task sequence.

The only thing that would make MDT slower would be a network bottleneck since it is a network imaging tool. So, when imaging on a tech bench, it's best to use a Gb switch. This way, you can image multiple computers at one time.

You can use MDT on a workstation OS. The only thing that would require a server OS would be if you want to PXE boot since that is a desire of the WDS role on the Server OS. Without it, you can make USB bootable thumb drives.

The reason I recommend MDT is because the capabilities are so vast and it scales well from small companies to large enterprises.
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