Possible to image target with bios not set for netboot?

  • We have many hosts running Ubuntu 12.04 on several customer’s networks. We want to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04. We hope to not need physical access to each target host. Each target host has the same hardware and configured the same. Each target has SSH access. The targets bios is not set up for PXE booting. QUESTION: Is it possible for FOG to reimage our target hosts in this scenario with no need for physical access of the targets?

  • Senior Developer

    @sampsont I guess you could come up with a solution where you add our FOS linux system to your clients and boot from it. I don’t know anyone who’s done this but I reckon it’ can be done. Surely Ubuntu 12.04 had grub installed. So you’d copy bzImage and init.xz to the clients and modify grub.conf to boot exactly that as first boot option. The problem I see is that you only have one go (old Ubuntu and FOS being wiped from disk as soon as imaging starts) and if things do wrong…?!

    And you’d need to prepare all the clients so why not just using clusterssh and do a normal dist-upgrade 12.04 - 14.04 - 16.04 - 18.04? Probably not trouble free either but not much involved to try it out with the first batch.

    What kind of hardware do you have? As George said, some manufacturers like Dell and HP might provide command line tools that let you change boot options.

    Would be real interesting to see if FOG would image properly while wiping itself from the disk. Should work as it is loaded to RAM but I never tried that before.

  • Moderator

    The short answer is no. We need to either netboot or usb boot into the FOS (linux) OS used for imaging. If you don’t have access to the bios via iLo/Drac/RSA/vPro then you are kind of stuck. You can’t image a system from an operating system using the disk you want to image. Once you get by the pxe boot issue then yes with some preconditions.

    If the servers are Dell then you might be able to use the linux version of CCKT to update the bios from command line. I know CCKT works with Dell enterprise class computers.