School : A couple of questions

  • Hi there,

    its my last week internship & i’m writing a bit about the (Image)- solutions I used during this internship.
    I 'm pleasantly surprised after using FOG a couple of weeks. Its user friendly , not to diffucult and especially the community is great. I asked a lot and i always get so much help ;)! So thanks.

    In my Thesis i’m telling a bit about the differences between the mostly-known ImageSoftware.
    Going out from Free software & that the environment got 1 or more windows servers its going between.
    Fog , CloneZilla and ofcourse WDS.

    Because here are many Fog’gies. I want to know why you guys use FOG and for example not WDS?
    What are for you guys the advantages or disadvantages from FOG versus WDS or Clonezilla?
    Developers may answer to! I’ll appreciate it!
    I’m a bit curious 😉


  • One word: WebUI, Does Clonezilla have that? Nope, Does Windows Have that? Nope. Does FOG have it? Yep
    Also i was turned away from clonezilla because it is not very professional with all the foreign writing on it, and WDS is not opensourse and only support Windows.
    And my last point FOG is easy to setup, easier than samba in most cases, unlike clonezilla which is not extremely automated

  • @boeleke said in School : A couple of questions:

    You can’t push .msi -files to the computers with some service in WDS , isn’t it? Similar with Snap-ins?

    Snapins can handle MSI files, batch scripts, powershell scripts, EXEs, and is designed to be highly flexible.

  • @Wayne-Workman

    Ofcourse! But FOG is doing it well do be honest 😉 😛

  • @boeleke Please post a copy of your report for us to read!!!

  • Why do I use fog? Well, for me, it started with me trying to learn more about linux way back in 2007-ish. I saw a posting on and decided, why not. (this was the posting although it was much different looking way back then.)

    I had been playing with Linux (itself) for many years earlier, but found a need for FOG for where I worked. I was in the Army back then. When I first got to my duty station, the team was imaging computers using a CD which contained an image created by GHOST. I had learned about PXE in my own training and decided to try building a PXE Server to image more systems at the same time as in one months time (before I arrived) the number of systems imaged was about 100 out of an estimated 900 that had to be completed. After building the PXE server and setting up a GHOST multicast session we completed about 300 in one day.

    Because of that, I kept forward on PXE booting and the sort of technologies that used it. That’s when I decided to install fog. It was not for the military as we had already had an established system for imaging at that point (through working with our post networking offices). I installed just for my own playing and testing and understanding.

    I didn’t know of other items that ran similarly. I loved the fact that FOG used PXE booting, did not require a CD to host the original image, and was completely web managed. I kept my personal systems updated as things came out and did a lot of reading over the years. I knew of other “similar” software’s and decided none of them were as “cool” as FOG was. So I just kept with fog.

    Where I work currently, I believe the need was because the items they had were very pricy and people were left to “make” their own images. When I started working here, I noticed the shift of technology moving from MBR to EFI based booting (BIOS vs. EFI if you will), and I new 0.33b was being worked on. However it was completely “stuck” if you will. I slowly decided to work on it, and it’s become what you see now (particularly in trunk).

    What is FOG? FOG kind of models itself (now) to what Clonezilla does (albeit with a lot more – I think – improvements). That’s as far as FOG and Clonezilla compare, they use the same type of software to capture the image (now). With enough knowledge and understanding, Clonezilla could easily do what FOG does in whole, but it’s main purpose is to be a disk cloning tool. FOG is primarily designed to be a disk cloning or imaging tool. What does this mean? Clonezilla is great at getting and applying a disk to an equivalent disk (size in specifics) where FOG is designed for imaging in either scenario.

    What is Imaging/Cloning? What I consider the difference between imaging vs. cloning is cloning mean’s a one for one copy. The image will be copied from one drive and must (Maybe should is more appropriate?) be placed on an equivalent drive or larger. I consider imaging meaning it captures the software layers of the device, and replaces it similar to cloning, but they need not be placed on the same drive. FOG enables users to make a choice on how they want the data stored and/or replaced. Most IT personnel will likely put imaging or cloning in the same category.

    Why FOG? Well I enjoy it. I get to help MANY people around the world and see my own experience and knowledge grow as I find/test/see new technologies. I love the coding as it helps me maintain focus rather than dwelling on anxiety that I experience normally. I love seeing people see what FOG has become.

    Why Clonezilla? Can be used for imaging anything so long as the restoration is occurring on matched or larger medium. I personally find Clonezilla cumbersome to initiate, but it does work very well and can be used without requiring network at all. It’s a great software that works well for “disk to disk” clones and scales fairly well if all systems in an organization is the same.

    Why MDT/WDS? These paired (from what I hear) are awesome together in that you can do as @george1421 stated about making images from an unattended model with ease as well as capturing and applying that image to many systems. These are also free, but there are limitations.

    As with all software, there’s going to be pro’s and con’s. I’m not trying to dish those things out at all.

    Of course I’m going to be biased (now) to FOG as it’s more or less been my baby for the last 3 years. What a person uses is totally up to them. You’re going to get biased answers no matter what forum you go to. Especially if you ask on the relative software forum pages. Asking a community like Spiceworks may give less biased information (or maybe multiple biased points of view).

  • @boeleke I tried to get WDS working here - never could. Now here I am a year later helping people around the world through forums, chat, and remote assistance with FOG. I’ve got a formal and large informal education in I.T. - and Computer stuff is a great majority of what I do outside of work as well, for fun and learning and excitement.

    I was able to pick up FOG and Linux together simultaneously - far easier than I could with WDS. But that’s just me.

    And I’ve been a windows kid all my life until a year ago. FOG opened my eyes to this massive world of openness, the Linux community. Now I’m all Linux. I opt for Linux when I can, and run only Linux at home, and am now developing happily using Linux. I find that it’s far easier to develop in Linux that Windows simply because of the unrestricted nature of Linux tools, the plethora of Linux tools, and the openness of the Linux OSs out there.

    Again - that’s just me.

  • Moderator

    @boeleke I can say if you want a bit more exposure to WDS/SCCM and some clonezilla for your paper, you might want to make a post on spiceworks, in the community there. Most of the people on this forum have migrated to FOG for one reason or another. For contrasting views I would surely ask you main question again over on spiceworks. You might want to make your OP there not FOG centric.

  • This is nice discussion :).

    Aside that FOG is faster. What do you think are the advantages of WDS? Or FOG against WDS?
    I mean … You can’t push .msi -files to the computers with some service in WDS , isn’t it? Similar with Snap-ins?

  • Moderator

    @ITSolutions said

    Disadvantages in my personal opinion are few:

    • Need to have Linux knowledge(although having Linux knowledge is a advantage in the industry)
      The other disadvantages I used to see, when I first found FOG in the .3x days have been corrected/added. I would like to see what others feel are disadvantages.

    I can see the linux knowledge thing being a big issue for those that grew up in the MS Windows era. Once the system is setup you don’t need to step into linux at all. But every once an a while you need access to the linux command shell, so you will need someone in your company with some familiarity with linux.

    Other things I can see that are limitations…
    Access control. Right now there isn’t a real good way to limit what IT techs can do in the system. Like certain IT techs can only deploy images 1,2,3 to location C only.

    Having a centralized login authentication system with either AD/LDAP.

    Linux hardware drivers lag a bit behind windows drivers. The fact is that most hardware vendors develop hardware for the windows folks and then it seems like linux is either an after thought or some really smart linux people hack into the hardware and come up with their own linux drivers. (thinking about the surface pro 4 as I write this).

  • I come from Semantic Ghost background.

    Fog is MUCH faster, supports queuing, renaming, joining to the domain, and there is ample support and high-responsiveness on the forums, with ample materials available in the wiki as well.

    FOG images in general compress very well. 40GB compresses down usually to about 19GB on the server’s disk.

    It’s free - not free like free beer, but free as in you may freely examine the code, freely make copies, freely make changes to your copies, freely distribute it under the GNU GPLv3 License, free to charge for it even, if you can (although I doubt you’d be successful)! The GNU GPLv3 allows for all of these things, as long as the License is respected and provided with copies and changes, and as long as all changes are completely open source and available to the public.

    FOG can serve as a reliable DHCP server for you, offering more control and more options than Windows Server 2008 and below did (see our article on BIOS and UEFI Co-Existence).

    FOG bridges the imaging gap for OSX, Linux, and Windows, and provides a management client for all three that can name them, join them to the domain, and run snapins on - all from a common web interface.

    FOG can manage printers for you, allowing you to avoid cluttering up your domain controllers and group policy.

    I use WOL to wake computers up on a schedule easily, and during breaks like spring break and winter break, I can easily disable it.

    I use the fog client to push out Chrome updates regularly - with absolute ease. Using snapins also keeps group policy on computers and domain controllers less cluttered.

    FOG logs logins for me, which I was previously logging using advanced scripting techniques that only I understood in my organization. Now, just using the web interface technicians can see login history for a computer or individual.

    Fog supports wiping HDDs, and I can integrate ISOs into fog without much trouble.

    Used to be, imaging a lab was a two to three person job for several hours with Ghost, and now it takes one single technician under 30 minutes - all of which are spent standing around and making sure things go smoothly. For example, we don’t have to name computers because fog does this. We don’t have to join to the domain because fog does this.

    Please don’t disrespect CloneZilla in your report. 🙂 Comparing it to FOG is unfair. It’s comparing apples to oranges. CloneZilla has strengths where FOG has weaknesses, and vice versa. For instance, if there are strict regulations on a network that a individual technician is not allowed to change, CloneZilla could be the winner in that scenario. If the network performs poorly, has problems, is slow, or non-existent, CloneZilla is the clear winner. If a technician does not have a server or old computer to dedicate as a FOG server, then CloneZilla is the winner. Also, CloneZilla is the most simple way to clone a FOG server! Where CloneZilla has weaknesses, FOG far excels. And where FOG excells is using your network to get work done - and fast. Bottom line is - CloneZilla is free open source software and has it’s place in the computer imaging industry and it should be respected for what it is.

  • Moderator

    First let me say that I’ve only used clonezilla for DR purposes (image->archive and then archive->bare metal on DR). So I can’t speak too much on using clonezilla for image deployment. I believe that if you use a clonezilla server you can do multicasting as well as unicast deployments. But again my use of clonezilla is very narrow and specific. How we use clonezilla would be more closely equivalent to how we use Ghost back in the day.

    With WDS I’ve used it many years ago and it worked but quickly moved beyond it to just using ghost and then FOG in the early days of FOG circa 0.29-0.31 and now 1.2.0++. I do use MDT today to create the reference images that we capture with FOG. With MDT I can create the same exact image each time in an unattended manner and then capture with FOG for image testing and deployment. In our current environment we recreated our reference image each quarter with the latest OS updates and application patches. This is all done by MDT.

    For FOG, the developers are trying to expand a bit beyond just image deployment to more of image management. I would equate where I see (from the outside) where FOG is going to be a bit more like what Altiris is (use to be). FOG is moving more towards system management not only for deployment but post deployment with snapins (application installs) and workstation inventorying (FOG 2.0).

    I can say that FOG is much faster at target image deployment than WDS/MDT. FOG uses a block level disk copy where WDS/MDT uses a file level image copy. This makes FOG much faster to first target image boot than WDS/MDT. FOG also supports multiple operating systems (much, much more than WDS).

    FOG is also extendable in that is open source software that can be used out of the box or functions can be added by the end users or 3rd party developer because the source code that makes up FOG is always available.

    With FOG you can setup a pretty complex master node, storage node schema for your entire organization. Where you will have to go to SCCM to get a similar deployment environment with Microsoft products. You have to also realize the management/skill set overhead with going with SCCM vs WDS vs FOG.

    With FOG you don’t need a MS Windows ecosystem in place to use it. For example if you are 100% Mac shop, why would you set WDS to deploy your Mac images (even if that is possible). For FOG image deployment you don’t need to burn a windows server license too to install your imaging management software.

    You touched on one of the great points about FOSS software, the support community. Think about it, through the fog forum you could have immediate contact with one of the developers of the software. If you are running into issues deploying to a specific hardware you have someone you can reach out to for assistance. With the big software company you have no chance to talk with the developers of the software. The FOSS developers aren’t building wonderful things for money (it would be nice if they could at least pay the light bill through donations) they create this software because they love to code, to do something better and faster than someone else, or because it hasn’t been done before.

  • Testers

    I see many advantages to FOG and the reason I chose it over the other 2 you listed are as follows:

    • It’s free, so no license issues and in a non-profit that is a great thing
    • It can run on nearly any hardware, so I have it running on a PC that we were retiring anyway.
    • I can select a PC tell it to image and have it WOL anywhere in the building and PXE and image it. I never have to touch it and it is up in less than 20 min.
    • I can push software and scripts that may not be easily pushed via GPO
    • I can build in other utilities into the PXE menu easily for troubleshooting
    • I have a rudimentary inventory system
    • I feel that I get better support than some of the paid solutions, and comparing to clonevilla or WDS definitely better support in the community.

    Disadvantages in my personal opinion are few:

    • Need to have Linux knowledge(although having Linux knowledge is a advantage in the industry)
      The other disadvantages I used to see, when I first found FOG in the .3x days have been corrected/added. I would like to see what others feel are disadvantages.

    Hopefully that helps you and glad you had the ability to learn and see what FOG is capable of.