Big thank you

  • Since this is general chat and there is a lack of thanks, then a big set of thank you to the devs and helpers on here, in particular Tom Elliot, CML and Wayne Workman.

    I have just finished multicasting 2 rooms of 25 PCs each simultaneously with another 50 ongoing now and another 100 to do this afternoon and a final 100 on Monday (these are harder as they have supplementary software to install afterwards). No issues and no stress (3GbMin multicast speed for those who are interested switches are cascaded netgear GS748TS, I can unicast at 9GbMin). Culmination of a months worth of on-off upgrading!

    All automated from PXE first boot with fog sending the WOL too. Image goes straight to CTRL-ALT-DEL after image, OOBE, driver install, rename, join domain. No keypresses whatsoever.

    FOG trunk 5370 (not the latest I know)
    Centos 6.7 guest on a clustered 2k12R2 host. Guest has 2gb Ram, 2 cores assigned (htop shows the cores are not stressed)
    Image is a windows 8.1 sysprepped with snappydriver driver script on OOBE - 35gb real size.
    Golden image created as a VM
    Network core cisco 3750 cascaded into netgear 748TS into 724TS. Jumbo frames enabled, QOS disabled temporarily to allow full multicast (to hell with normal traffic!).
    (edit - storage for images is from a synology RS815+ running in pure iscsi block mode, vm host has a VHDX saved on it. Drives are standard sata 7200 3Tb drives in Raid6 so not the fastest but good enough to use Gb lan. Connection is multilink but for redundancy not speed - not that a single image pull would use MPIO anyway)

    25minutes from switch on to usable CTRL-ALT-DEL

  • Moderator

    For the reference image build out, I have our setup configured to build the reference image completely using a single set of task sequences. That task sequence lays down the image (on the reference image) runs the windows udpates, installs office, vc runtime libs, and all of the other applications then runs a final windows update. Without the windows updates I can build the reference image in about 20 minutes. With the windows updates it takes about 14 hours (no problem I just start before I go home). Then once that is done I sysprep the image and capture with FOG.

    Now I didn’t mention the drivers. In our case when we setup the reference image, we tell windows to look in the c:\drivers folder for any drivers. Then during OSD (OS Deployment) after FOG lays the image down on the target machine we run a fog postinstall script that picks up the model of computer and then copies the right drivers onto the target computer (c:\drivers). That saves us from having 15GB of drivers (12 Dell models worth) inside our captured image. Our golden image is about 15GB in size using this process. Also we can add new models without having to recapture the reference image. We do rebuild the reference image once a quarter to pick up the latest windows updates and to include updated add on applications (i.e. flashplayer, java, etc.) when required. But with a fully automated reference image build there is no heavy lifting to rebuild the reference image.

  • Moderator

    @KKTwenty101 said:

    WSUS Offline Update

    I used to use that really heavily.

  • We have a lot of “site wide” software that is quicker to add to the image than GPO install afterwards -Office, Serif software suite, interactive whiteboard software with lots of resources (easier to put on the image than strain the network on a central install believe it or not!). Snappydriver adds 10Gb of drivers too (which is deleted afterwards). I also don’t bother removing the swapfile (hibernation is disabled so no hiberfil.sys); The swapfile compresses anyway (anecdotal testing).

    Snappydriver is what speeds things up though. Imaging is 10-15 mins (less on unicast), I used to use “driverpacks” in windows 7 and the driverpacks stage alone would take 20 to 30 minutes on a decent system. Snappydriver is 5 minutes flat and ive yet to find a machine that HASNT had a driver picked up.

    The system was geared purely on speed not size - I don’t mind having a huge image if it means the client gets from dead to CTRL-ALT-DEL faster. WSUS will obviously put a few updates on there but I do try to keep on top of the golden image where I can (office updates are the worst as you need to remove/reinstall office with the updates in the “update” folder on an AuditMode PC)

    WSUS Offline Update is a good way to grab office updates for inclusion in the installation/updates folder (make sure your OCT file is the FIRST one alphabetically though or you wont get the customisation)

  • Moderator

    Bravo, well done. It sounds like you have a grate setup. It sounds like you hit the right combination of networking gear and configuration. I’m a bit surprised that your golden image is 35GB in size. But if you can get that all installed in 25 minutes you have the perfect setup.

    Once you main push is over, it would be interesting (take a snapshot first) for you to upgrade to the latest trunk version to see if your performance is comparable. There has been a number of tweaks in the last weeks. Since you have solid baseline it would be interesting to know a side by side comparison.

    Either way well done.

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