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  1. #1

    Remotely ghosting linux machines


    I'm fairly new to linux but I assume from various bits n pieces
    i've read that there is a way to set up my machines so that
    when they get messed up I can restore the original image remotely.

    ie: remotely boot a machine, point it to an image on server
    and have that image install itself, all from the comfort of the
    shack we call the staff lounge.

    There are 40 machines in a school environment and the kids
    tend to muck them up fairly bad on a regular basis. I doubt I've
    got the necessary skills yet to pull this off but I'll try if i can get
    the right info or at the very least I want to be able to ask the right
    questions of someone we hire to do it.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru sarumont's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Well, you can image the hard drives...that's no problem.

    As far as booting remotely and pointing to an image...You really couldn't do anything there unless you had control over the machine physically. You'd have to have the box boot from a CD, then copy the image. Or something like that.

    Off the top of my head:

    1) Partition the drives with a /boot, swap, / and a 4th partition.
    2) Make this 4th partition a very minimal Linux install (just what you would need to copy the image - fdisk, dd, ssh, etc.)
    3) When you need to restore the backup, ssh to the machine, edit the bootloader config to boot to the hidden partition as /
    4) Copy the image over the real /
    5) Edit the bootloader config back.

    That's just the first idea that popped into my head...may not be the most efficient, but there's no reason why it won't work.
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  3. #3
    Linux Guru kkubasik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Lat: 39:03:51N Lon: 77:14:37W
    unless you have another machine on the network that you can make a boot server, ie whenever it is activated, any computer on the network configured to boot from a network card will boot into the data it broadcast... you could ssh into that, activate it, then reboot the faulty one and use that as your recovery.
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    Formerly Known as qub333

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4

    Cheers for the help but?

    Don't suppose anyone has experience with this tool:

    How good is it?

    There is a server on the network and what I hope to have
    in place is the ability to issue a cmd specifying a particular
    machine and have scripts run and reimage that machine pulling
    the image of the server.
    I like that idea of having the network boot re-image a machine

    On a slightly different note have you any pointers on
    where to start with learning scripting. I'd love to be
    able to write scripts for this kind of thing and a whole
    bunch of other stuff like creating user accounts, deleting
    them automaticly at end of term etc.

    thanks again

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