Just ordered a dozen new computers and never used imaging. Will using FOG make deploying easier or is there a steep learning curve?
For the most part we rarely get more than one new machine at a time. Everything we buy is Dell and so all I’m doing is scrubbing off the bloatware with Revo and installing a few things here and there, then connecting to the domain so that group policy will install printers and map drives.
However we got hit by lightning recently and we’re buying 12 new Optiplex 7040 desktops with nearly identical hardware that I’ll need to set up. So I’m looking at ways to make the process simpler and came across FOG.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time learning something that I will rarely use and will need to re-learn next time, but I also like the functionality I’ve seen and maybe the time it saves on deploying hardware (even if it’s only one machine a month) will be worth it!
What’s the learning curve like and what would I have to do to get all twelve of these computers looking/working the same? I’m looking at using MDT/WDS and while it’s something I want to learn at some point, there’s kind of a time crunch with users limping along and it seems like it would take a while to learn and deploy properly. Hoping FOG might be a better option!
With 12 systems it may be simpler to setup an MDT server to deploy with. To do this right you should have a MS Volume License key and then create your reference image (master, golden, mother, etc) with MDT. For 12 systems I would stop there. If you were going to deploy more than 50 systems per year then I would take the next step and setup a FOG server. Capture your golden image with FOG and then deploy from there. If you setup FOG and your golden image properly you can use a single golden image for all of your hardware fleet. Since you are using Dell hardware, they (Dell) made the driver collection part pretty easy for you.
Don’t let the MS VL key scare you off. You only need one per OS type you are deploying. That will give you reimaging rights that the OEM license doesn’t. Meaning if you purchase 1 VL Key for Windows 10 Pro you can deploy an unlimited number of Windows 10 Pro where Windows 10 Pro was already installed on the target hardware via a preexisting OEM license. To purchase into the MS Volume license program you need 5 points. The Windows 10 Pro VLK counts as 1 point, just add 4 other items to get to your 5 points (Like server client access licenses, you can never have too many of those and they are pretty cheap).
don’t forget to get the proper licensing. you can’t capture an OEM image and redeploy it to other computers and be in compliance with Microsoft’s licensing. you’ll need a volume license.
once you have an imaging server, you’ll find yourself using it a lot more than you think. user has a virus? a few hours to repair, or a few minutes to reimage, etc.
@Wayne-Workman Thanks for the great reply! I got a few days until the new computers show up. Maybe I’ll throw it on the server and test it with something before they get here and see how it all works. Seems actually pretty straight forward from those links.
Appreciate the quick response!
We have tutorials on setting up FOG trunk on CentOS 7, guides you step by step. FOG Trunk works on Optiplex 7040 - at my work we imaged over 1k 7040s this summer in about 1.5 weeks - among other imaging tasks for other models.
The learning curve - there is one. But I feel there’s a learning curve too with WDS - and WDS isn’t as functional or fast - and Microsoft does not have nowhere near as good of support as FOG has - and that’s the honest truth.
For building the server, I recommend following this:
For help with uploading your first image, follow this:
I would recommend using the new fog client to allow automatic domain joining, among other things it can do.
Our wiki is just bursting with information - You’ll find about everything you would ever need in there. Of course you are more than welcome to create a thread about any problems you have - no matter how simple the question is. Generally, you’ll get a reply pretty fast (like now).