stories of war between boy and machine

FOG Update – Part 1

Looking to install FOG 1.2.0 from scratch? Check out my more updated post.

The end of the academic year has just happened, meaning that the start of a new term is fast approaching. Around this same time last year, I had my first experience with FOG by picking up where the previous networking technician left off. A quick foreword about what FOG is – its basically a system that lets you replicate and deploy an installation of a computer to many other computers. And, when you have several hundred computers to install or update, something like this is great. Plus its free! Now, although my role doesn’t really have anything to do with networking, I had previous experience (albeit nearly 10 years ago) of working with Cisco switches and routers. I quickly picked up where this guy had left off and over the next couple of months I set to work with ironing out issues and getting to use FOG.

So, FOG has been stuck at version 0.32 since 2011 and, due to other staff leaving, there hasn’t really been much happening on the deployment front this year. Like, at all, in nearly 8 months! Then, last week, I decided to check out the installation of Matlab we had on one of our virtual machine templates for FOG images and realised I couldn’t connect to the server we use to store these images (This is still something I need to figure out)

However, I decided to check out IRC to ask a question about this and realised that, for the first time in nearly 3 years, FOG has been updated! So now, I think, is a good time to dust off and check out the FOG server and delve a little deeper; because, although I have some good experience with networks and routing/switching, my experience of Linux server is patchy. Installing FOG from scratch should give me a much better understanding of Linux – as well as finding out what exactly has stopped the template server from responding!

First things first:

  • Make a backup of the existing FOG server
  • Wipe the server
  • Reinstall Linux (Ubuntu I guess, for the X-UI later on)
  • Install FOG (which automatically installes the apache/sql/php alongside)

From the notes left to me by the previous guy, I was told:

“Install Linux, preferably Ubuntu. During the installation make sure you create a partition dedicated for storing the images. The partition needs to be mounted in “/images”. If you do this from the installation process you save yourself a massive headache. If you don’t you need to change several things and permissions.”

I guess I should do that. Ideally in time for next Wednesday, which is my next visit to Milton Keynes. Our department recently branched out from Luton into Milton Keynes at our new campus, UCMK. This actually presents a logistical nightmare in some ways for us, because none of the technical team are at MK at all, but FOG can be initiated to deploy to remote machines all the way over there (over a 1gbps link, which so far had proved to work!). However, it helps greatly if someone is actually over there to kick it all off and see if anything goes wrong. Is it too ambitious doing all of this in a week? It’ll be fine!


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