FOG, what can and can't it do?



  • Hello Forum!

    I’m investigating FOG for use managing a cluster of machines at work.
    After a lot of reading, I decided it’s best to ask some questions directly…

    Q1: Can FOG be scripted?
    I’ve noticed in other threads that FOG lacks APIs and that it doesn’t have a CLI either.
    Is FOG fully GUI based?
    Others have mentioned ‘snapins’ as an answer to this missing feature.
    Is it possible to script FOG actions so I can image a machine on command from a script?

    I’ll just start with that one.

    Thanks for your help,



  • @tom-elliott said in FOG, what can and can't it do?:

    I feel I must add the primary reason you won’t see a “central repository” for OS images lies down with the very simplistic case of licensing.

    If there were a “central” repository, um, can you imagine the legal issues that would no doubt-ably ensue? Managing a repository itself would be extremely difficult, but licensing - especially in commercial OS’s - would be a nightmare.

    Ultimately, while it would - from a purely technical standpoint - be possible to create a (very very very) generic set of OS’s that could be used by many, this would not come with your organizations set of software. (Admittedly vague in that you could automate some of the software layout with snapins.) This again is purely technical. Yes, it “could” be done. No, it most likely will not be done.

    I could, however, understand central repo for OS’s that don’t require licensing (only one I can think of would be linux though) but even then you’re dealing with one person’s preferences for the layout of the OS vs. what might actually be required and/or more suitable to your environment.

    OS-Images - generally available and upgradable with snapins (kinda) is the idea behind docker.com



  • This post is deleted!

  • Developer

    @herb Ha, see what we have here. The partition table shows three partitions but in the directory of the server we only have d1p1.img and d1p2.img. Please run a debug capture task (normal capture but just before clicking the create button in the web GUI there is a checkbox for debug). See if you can figure out where things go wrong - not sure if it’s only sda3 missing or something else going wrong too. If you can’t figure it out you best take pictures of the whole debug capture task process so we can have a look too.

    Wayne is totally right, would you please open a new topic on this so things don’t get mixed up, plus other people will find this more easily. Just create a new one with a brief post and I will move our posts over to the new one…


  • Moderator

    @herb problem solving does not belong in this thread, as it’s off topic. Please create a new thread for the issue.



  • Thanks Sebastian.

    I am running FOG 1.5.0-RC-7
    SVN Revision: 6080

    I am on branch 'dev-branch’
    Head commit:
    commit b1ce6d5dee2e00052358fffa67475b151d7cd22c
    Author: Tom Elliott tommygunsster@gmail.com
    Date: Wed Aug 9 15:49:05 2017 -0400

    Fix issue with inventory not defining host item.
    

    Here is the output of those commands.

    0_1503430002932_FOG_forum_debug.png

    BIOS:
    Two out of three machines are running the same bios version (I need to fix the third).
    All machines are setup to default to Network boot, and then disk.
    I’ve set all available settings to prioritize legacy over UEFI network boot.


  • Developer

    @herb said in FOG, what can and can't it do?:

    Image Successfully deployed. /sda2/ successfully copied. Total time ~3 minutes

    Are you sure the whole deployment process is going fine. It kind of sounds as if maybe the boot partition or the MBR is not being deployed.

    First of all please tell us which version of FOG you use? Then please run ls -al /images/Ubuntu16Clean and cat /images/Ubuntu16Clean/d1.partitions. Post the output here. Are the machines BIOSes all configured similarly - e.g. AHCI setting? Are all legacy BIOS or UEFI or mixed? MBR (classical) or GPT?



  • Hey Forum,

    Back again. I hope you had the chance to catch the eclipse yesterday!
    What a show.

    In the world of FOG…
    I’ve been having lots of problems deploying images over the last couple days. I hope someone can help.

    Here’s the symptom:
    Computers imaged with FOG become ‘stuck’ in a pxe boot cycle and never boot the imaged OS.

    I’ve written lots of detail below, I hope something sticks out.
    It seems really confusing to me…

    By wiping the disks, I was hoping to erase past history on the machines (not new) and partition problems.

    It seems to me that I am capturing only a part of an image, but not the whole thing.
    The result is non-bootable images on my disks.

    Thanks for your help,

    DETAIL::
    Setup:

    • Fully Register a machine(Host1) (HP-600-G2 MT) with FOG.
    • Execute a full disk wipe through FOG. Write zeros to disk.
    • Install Ubuntu 16.04.3 using USB Drive.
    • Capture image from Host1 using FOG (settings below).
      – Image Name: Ubuntu16Clean
      – Operating System: Linux - (50)
      – Image Type: Multiple Partition Image, Single Disk (not resizable) - (2)
      – Partition: Everything
    • Image Successfully captured. /images/ directory has an entry Ubuntu16Clean

    Testing:

    • Create a few extra files/folders on Host1.
    • Execute deployment task through FOG to Host1.
    • Image Successfully deployed. Host1 boots and the added files are not present.
    • Fully Register a new machine (Host2) (HP-600-G2 MT).
    • Execute a full disk wipe through FOG. Write zeros to disk.
    • Execute deployment task (Ubuntu16Clean) through FOG to Host2
    • Image Successfully deployed. /sda2/ successfully copied. Total time ~3 minutes
      X Host2 attempts boot, but never boots from disk. Stuck cycling through FOG Network Boot menu.
    • Fully Register a new machine (Host3) (HP-600-G2 MT).
    • Execute a full disk wipe through FOG.
    • Install Ubuntu16.04.3 with USB drive
    • Capture Image.
      – Image Name: Ubuntu2
      – Operating System: Linux
      – Image Type: Multiple Partition Image, Single Disk (not resizable) - (2)
      – Partition: Everything
    • Image successfully captured.
    • Execute a deployment (Ubuntu2) to Host1
    • Image successfully deployed.
      X Host1 now stuck in PXE loop.

    Attempt recovery on Host1

    • Execute a deployment (Ubuntu16Clean) to Host1
    • Image successfully deployed.
      X Host1 still stuck in PXE loop


  • Got it,

    My perspective is skewed since the vast majority of OS’s I work with are all Linux distributions.
    I imagined there would be images for Ubuntu, RHEL, and others to play with and try.

    A ‘fresh’ image of Ubuntu 14.04 (for example) would have been a great place for me to start imaging blank machines.
    I could then build off of that ‘fresh’ image and customize my own.

    As is, I will download and install an OS using a separate machine and a USB drive to get started.

    Just an idea,
    Thanks for clarifying!


  • Senior Developer

    I feel I must add the primary reason you won’t see a “central repository” for OS images lies down with the very simplistic case of licensing.

    If there were a “central” repository, um, can you imagine the legal issues that would no doubt-ably ensue? Managing a repository itself would be extremely difficult, but licensing - especially in commercial OS’s - would be a nightmare.

    Ultimately, while it would - from a purely technical standpoint - be possible to create a (very very very) generic set of OS’s that could be used by many, this would not come with your organizations set of software. (Admittedly vague in that you could automate some of the software layout with snapins.) This again is purely technical. Yes, it “could” be done. No, it most likely will not be done.

    I could, however, understand central repo for OS’s that don’t require licensing (only one I can think of would be linux though) but even then you’re dealing with one person’s preferences for the layout of the OS vs. what might actually be required and/or more suitable to your environment.


  • Moderator

    @herb said in FOG, what can and can't it do?:

    Q2: Can Images be deployed that I did not capture?

    The short answer is No. You must capture the image from FOG to deploy it.

    There is no central repository for OS images. You must create your own, based on your own requirements from DVD. In my company’s case we use MDT to build our golden image then capture and deploy with FOG. A hardware agnostic design is surely possible. We have a single image that we deploy to 15 different models in our fleet of computers. The key/trick is to use a FOG post install script to copy the correct drivers to a defined location on the target computer just after deployment, but before the first OS boot. Once the drivers are at the precise location then windows will detect them and load them. Sometimes we find that we need to use dism in the the setupcomplete.cmd to finish injecting the drivers after oobe but before first login. It does take time to setup your environment but once done you can regenerate your golden image at any time with the latest windows updates if you use MDT.



  • Thanks all for the responses.
    I appreciate your help!

    I have now setup a very basic network with 2 hosts and 1 FOG/DHCP server.
    I have successfully registered the 2 hosts and have performed a simple task: fast wipe

    Things can take a long time at work : )

    This has led to my next question!

    Q2: Can Images be deployed that I did not capture?
    This may be a core misunderstanding I have with how FOG and disk cloning works.
    Is it possible to download an image for a new OS from the internet, and deploy to my hosts?
    Is there a repository of ‘golden images’ that I can use?
    It seems from the docs that I have to setup a ‘patient zero’ machine first, to capture its image.
    But since Hardware Agnostic images seem to be possible, an online store of them seems like it could exist.
    This seems roundabout, so I thought I would ask.

    If we find FOG to be just what we need, I hope we can contribute something useful to the project.



  • well fog saves you a lot of time therefore it may saves you from divorcement from your wife ;)

    Is FOG fully GUI based?

    yes it is today all the actions are done via the webif and some basic stuff can be done by the client itself when booting into the pxe menu.

    Others have mentioned ‘snapins’ as an answer to this missing feature.

    Snapins can for example used to deploy software to a client but you can use the snapin for whatever you want, its doing remote actions to the clients.

    Is it possible to script FOG actions so I can image a machine on command from a script?

    Today you will install the fog client to a host, if you then like to image that host you can start this via fogs web interface, then the client will be rebooted to boot from network and for example create an image.

    I’ll just start with that one.

    I would recommend to just install and start usage you will grow with that.

    Thanks for your help

    you are welcome :)

    @Wayne-Workman i am thinking of making some videos of fogs basic actions so newbies always have a quicker look of what fog is intended to do.

    Regards X23


  • Moderator

    I’m working on CLI for fog - I’m using the API as the backend. It’s nowhere near done, probably some several months out.


  • Developer

    @herb As you seem to want to use FOG at your working place, think about contributing some working hours to help improve and develop the API? Good for you and the community! :-)



  • Thanks Tom,

    Totally understand.
    Just excited to see what’s coming.


  • Senior Developer

    @herb There really isn’t a “feature list” or schedule persay.

    This being a 100% free (as in free food) software product, we developers work on FOG on our free time. Because of this, most features requested are added as feasible/suitable. There isn’t a specific list we’re striving to incorporate as FOG thrives from the community input/feedback. The schedule, due to this being 100% free, is kind of as we see things progressing. There may be years that go by without an update, or it might be days depending on needs.

    I know this isn’t an answer most people like to hear, but it’s the truth, and I personally think it’s ultimately better this way. (As long as active development is ongoing.) – (I don’t plan on cutting from the development anytime soon.)



  • Thanks for the link.
    Looks like the API development is still very fresh.

    I’ll read some more.

    Has anyone released a feature list or schedule?
    I’m wondering what things may be available when we’re ready to start using FOG.


  • Developer

    @herb You might wanna check out the forum search as well… https://forums.fogproject.org/topic/10088/static-documentation-for-api


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