Remote Imaging -- Will FOG Work?



  • Hello,

    I recently was given the task of setting up remote imaging for an organization that has locations in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. We have about 70 locations spread out among these states.

    The locations in these states are >50 miles apart, and we cannot have a storage node in each location (too costly).

    My question is: will FOG imaging be possible? The only connection the stores have to each other is the internet (no direct connections). There is a DHCP server at each location (router), but nothing besides that except for the target machines (1 to 3 target machines per location).

    I understand how to set PXE as the first boot priority, but I am unsure as to how the computers will connect to the FOG master in our corporate location. It is my understanding that PXE likes to work over a local network instead of the internet.

    If FOG will work, what sort of setup would I need?

    [B]We understand that it will be very slow over the internet, but we do not care because it is saving us from driving 50-1000 miles every time a computer goes down.[/B]

    I loosely worked with FOG during an internship and understand how to use it over a LAN, but not so much over the internet in such a broad area.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    EDIT: To clarify, we have a corporate office where the FOG master will be, and ~70 remote locations which will have 1-3 target machines each. These locations cannot have a local storage node but do have DHCP servers. They are only connected to the corporate office over the internet (not on the same network, VPN, anything).


  • Senior Developer

    How are replication tasks working? Nothing changed directly in how things transfer. The speed or lack of it sounds environmental more than something fog is doing or did.



  • Hi, I’ve had this working since 2012. Basically I have 3 Fogservers, the master where I am based, and 2 others, one about 1/2 hour away and the other an hour away. The 3 sites are connected with IPSec tunnel.
    I upload an image to the local FOgserver and it replicates slowly across the tunnel to the remote sites. Once transferred, I can \ then create an image task for a remote PC. From there I can run a script on the remote PC which forces it to PXE boot and it gets reimaged.
    Maks a couple of customisations and its good to go. HOWEVER, since FOG 1.2 the transfers across the IPSec tunnel have been slower and occasionally stop, which is very frustrating especially since the transfers take over a day to complete!


  • Developer

    This post is deleted!

  • Developer

    And there’s still the “connection” problem. Either you use dyn-DNS and port forwarding (all unencrypted) to connect the FOG servers located at different sites or you go the “long way” of setting up vpn gateways everywhere…


  • Senior Developer

    You could also look into the Banana Pi (has a GIG network on it)


  • Developer

    as much as i like playing with Raspberry Pi’s, i don’t think they’re a good solution to this problem. a refurbished desktop can be had for a little more then the cost of the Pi, and it will have gigabit Ethernet and can take a real hard drive.


  • Moderator

    Raspberry Pi. This could be a cheap solution for you. As of now we have only tested and checked that it has installed correctly on a Pi. But the investment is around $50 a Pi and could possibly be a solution for you. The Pi can sit right next to the router and plugin to the same power strip.

    Of course we would be willing to help you at every turn.[/quote]

    Now that’s a solution!

    I vote for this one.

    Clearly, you should just buy 1 at first, and we can get that working and go from there.


  • Developer

    Raspberry Pi. This could be a cheap solution for you. As of now we have only tested and checked that it has installed correctly on a Pi. But the investment is around $50 a Pi and could possibly be a solution for you. The Pi can sit right next to the router and plugin to the same power strip.

    Of course we would be willing to help you at every turn.


  • Senior Developer

    yes



  • This post is deleted!

  • Senior Developer

    Don’t forget, what you’re talking about is completely capable (multiple nodes at separate locations, but managed by a central “server”) is 100% possible using location plugin. This is EXACTLY what it was designed for.


  • Moderator

    @Junkhacker, post: 42375, member: 21583 said:

    there are ways you could make fog work for your situation, but it would take some work. I’ve done something along these lines as an experiment on a feature in development, but you honestly might want to look at different solutions unless you’re convinced fog is the way to go.

    He hit on the “Cost” factor pretty hard…


  • Developer

    there are ways you could make fog work for your situation, but it would take some work. I’ve done something along these lines as an experiment on a feature in development, but you honestly might want to look at different solutions unless you’re convinced fog is the way to go.


  • Moderator

    @Alex Elkins, post: 42373, member: 28621 said:

    Okay, I understand your suggestion. Wouldn’t moving the images from the master to the storage node still use up the same amount of bandwidth, but only one time (or however many times you push a new image to the storage node)?

    E: Site-to-site VPN or what?

    I was figuring that since he must go to each site anyways to set up the storage nodes, might as well take a copy of the needed images with him on a flash drive, and copy them where they should be, and make the necessary changes for it to work.

    Also, if a transfer from master to storage node is necessary, this can be scheduled during off-peak hours… like over the weekend, overnight on Sunday night… whatever works best. This still has tremendous benefit.



  • @Wayne Workman, post: 42371, member: 28155 said:

    I updated my first post to point out some other issues.

    Others would have to help you with the storage node questions, as I only use one FOG machine at one location currently.
    But, I still think your best bet is putting in older machines at each location.

    Okay, I understand your suggestion. Wouldn’t moving the images from the master to the storage node still use up the same amount of bandwidth, but only one time (or however many times you push a new image to the storage node)?

    E: Site-to-site VPN or what?


  • Moderator

    And,

    No matter what route you choose, I think you’re going to have to get some sort of VPN going (as asked about) just for the systems to communicate properly.

    Unless, all the machines you put in at the 70 locations are completely independent. This would mean having some sort of remote-desktop software running on them all the time, that works across the internet. TeamViewer wouldn’t be ideal as you need an access code from the target machine for each instance.


  • Moderator

    @Alex Elkins, post: 42365, member: 28621 said:

    The only equipment we have laying around (mostly) are computers that we use for backup in bad situations. I will speak with my manager about purchasing smaller stations to use for this.

    I guess my biggest misunderstanding is how will I get those computers to connect to my FOG master to get an image? How will everything be connected?

    Here’s what I’m thinking:

    Master connects to storage nodes
    Workstations talk with storage nodes
    Master sends reimage request to storage node
    Storage node reimages workstations

    So, in essence, the storage node handles the PXE/TFTP portion on their end. The master and storage nodes just connect somehow to transfer their information, and I think that is where it gets muddy in my head.

    Do the storage nodes handle the PXE/TFTP, or would that need pushed somewhere else? Also, the DHCP server at each location has no knowledge of the FOG master’s network…is that an issue?

    I updated my first post to point out some other issues.

    Others would have to help you with the storage node questions, as I only use one FOG machine at one location currently.
    But, I still think your best bet is putting in older machines at each location.



  • @Uncle Frank, post: 42366, member: 28116 said:

    Possibly one of the most uncommon scenarios to use an imaging software like FOG over the internet but hey, up to you!

    Do all the locations use private (e.g. 192.168.x.y or 10.x.y.z) or public IP adresses and do you have VPN tunnels set up between the sites?

    Depending on what your answers are it would be just a piece of cake to use FOG within your organization OR you will have to go a very long way and first learn about a lot of others things before FOG will happen for you.

    The locations all use private IP addresses via NAT through the router…VPN tunnels are not set up between the sites.

    E: Additionally, are there any better methods of doing this BESIDES putting a storage node at every location? Doing it over the internet is the only way I [I]thought[/I] there was, but if you know of something better, please advise!!


  • Developer

    Possibly one of the most uncommon scenarios to use an imaging software like FOG over the internet but hey, up to you!

    Do all the locations use private (e.g. 192.168.x.y or 10.x.y.z) or public IP adresses and do you have VPN tunnels set up between the sites?

    Depending on what your answers are it would be just a piece of cake to use FOG within your organization OR you will have to go a very long way and first learn about a lot of others things before FOG will happen for you.


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