Will it blend?

  • Not so experienced FOG user here, just looking for an honest answer to a simple question.
    I am contemplating implementing a regular imaging of 3 machines (using FOG) that are used for UI purposes on a few robots used for the manufacturing of circuit boards. These machines run XP and a software developed by the robot manufacturer, custom BIOS (that supports booting via LAN), run on 386’s I believe. We bought the robots second hand and have no install CDs for the software or any drivers associated with the software/hardware :S
    Currently, I use another imaging software that runs within XP and takes live images (shadow). I’ve run into issues on one of the machines where it locks up partially through the imaging process, which overwrites my last image taken and I am left with an unusable file… forced to revert to an ancient image taken of the drive that is kept in dry storage.
    I’m looking for an imaging solution that will regularly take images of the HDs connected to our robots, along with a few other machines on our subnet for production machines. Recently I set up FOG on a virtual machine and was able to take/deploy images from/to other virtual machines and it seems to be working correctly. Being that these machines have and are connected to uncommon hardware, (and some things I’ve read about FOG in regards to drivers installation issues) I’m a little weary to make it live on our production subnet.
    Is this a safe and reasonable use for FOG? Should I be worried about any hardware or driver issues? Is the best option to just take an image, deploy to a spare HD and test it?

  • @george1421 I did briefly, but it doesn’t appear that Veeam Endpoint would be compatible. Target requirements.

  • Moderator

    @wanderbread I agree the network route is probably the best solution as long as you have pxe booting capabilities on those network cards. Do check into see if veeam is XP compatible. It does work really well. It also has the ability to create a DR boot disk. So that if the harddisk dies, you replace the hard drive boot from the CD and then restore from the network. This will let you do a bare metal restore as long as you have the boot drive and network access to the backup repository.

  • @george1421 I’ve looked into clonezilla, but some of these machines have very limited hardware, no USB, no available IDE, etc. But they all have network cards. This is why FOG seemed like a viable solution. As far as DR goes, I have a separate solution, NTBackup to FTP via .bat and Scheduled Tasks, that runs more regularly but I’m only backing up our board programs that we run in the software on our pick-and-place machines.
    I’ll check out Veeam though for DR and its compatibility with XP, as the NTBackup to FTP I set up is a fairly new system that I’m not completely satisfied with.

  • @Wayne-Workman Thanks
    I figured everything would be fine. Just figured I’d ask a crowd with more experience. I’ve attached a link to the datasheet for the motherboard, not really sure how (un)common it is. DATASHEET.

    What is different about the RC8 version? Is the setup just the same? I was just going to move the virtual machine I’ve created and installed FOG with to our server. But if it’s really worth it, I’ll just start from square one with RC8.

  • Moderator

    If you are only concerned about a handful of systems and your only intention is to back them up, I might be inclined to use something like clonezilla running of a boot drive and then backup to a usb hard drive. That way you don’t need a fog server, or pxe booting to speak of. We use clonezilla (here) to make point in time backups of specific industrial computers, some have network adapters and some don’t. The clonezilla approach works well for this.

    As for some kind of DR purposes, you can check to see if Veeam end point backup (free) will run on XP. If it does that is a great tool for making DR backups and then incremental backups on a timed interval. The Veeam endpoint can backup to a Veeam B&R server or just a network NAS.

    Is FOG safe to use on your network, yes. Might I look for a different tool to do what you want, maybe yes. But with that said, fog will work for what you need.

  • It’s of course safe and reasonable to use FOG. It’s safe(er), faster, and probably more successful to use FOG 1.3.0 Release Candidate 8.

    For the hardware - the only parts that matter to fog are the HDD, the motherboard/chipset/processor, and NIC. These won’t be uncommon, most likely - especially since they are older. FOG doesn’t need a driver for your attached robotics equipment to work I think.

    The only way to know is just to try it. Try to capture an image using RC-8, see how it goes.

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