The best network imaging solution?

  • I’ve recently been introduced as a network technician who likes to steer well clear of M$ products (but doesnt hate them), when its possible to do it with open source. I’m the only one here that feels this way due to the support angle, but try as I might to convince my manager of the incredible level of support you can get from forums like this one from experts and like minded folk, he’s just not interested.

    Luckily for me part of my job entails the running of a small network for our ICT and computer science students and Cisco academy students, for which I use FOG as the distribution system. Now we’re in the process of merging with another large college around the same size as us I am told that SCCM is the best solution for any network distribution of OS’s, packages, updates etc… having looked at it as I am required in part by the department head, I have found the “best solution” comments to be in my own opinion… complete rubbish. It is a quirky annoying pesky little server that I dont like one bit.

    I’m just curious more than anything of other peoples beliefs and views on this and other network based OS distribution software techniques. In fact, I know of a few people that have actually ditched SCCM in favour of FOG.

  • Yeah, its feature rich, and to be honest, its not slow at imaging or anything, its just very quirky. We’re running the new version and one of the guys is about to run the service pack on it. I’m just really not sold on it. It feels so uncomfortable to use and things seem to take forever to update and propagate down to the site servers. For instance, adding a machine to a deployment list takes hours to update sometimes, and other times only 10-15 minutes. As far as I am concerned, if its not there almost instantly, what use is it.

    Fog is just stripped down and lightening fast. I’m wondering if there are any plans in future versions to add many more features to the project? How many of the suggested features actually make it into production copys of new FOG versions?

  • Let me try an analogy here… SCCM is like a cargo van while FOG is a sports car. FOG does one thing really fast (imaging), while SCCM is bulkier but has more to it (remote control, software inventory, etc). One aspect to compare would be software deployment; SCCM is a lot more sophisticated in it’s ability to schedule and deploy software than what FOG has to offer via Snapins; So if software deployment plays a large role in determining which system to use then you really need to be sure that the simple options FOG offers in this area can handle what you’re trying to accomplish. A comprehensive comparison of the two systems would be heavily weighted by what your environment looks like and what your needs are. You might even find it best to run them both, though this can get messy.