Re: Need to clone machines efficiently - help?
Peter Eckersley wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 25, 2000 at 12:15:50AM -0800, Erik Winn wrote:
> > Here is the first obstacle - not really a big one, but I spent all day
> > digging around and couldn't really find any tools for this one: we want to be
> > able to clone the machines easily over the local net. Mandrake has a tricky
> > boot floppy that asks only for the eth0 config and then runs a bunch of perl
> > to do the rest of the install non-interactively. I haven't started reading
> > the scripts yet (that's plan B), instead I was hoping that someone had come
> > up with something similar for debian. We are looking at hundreds of boxes
> > already and its really just begun.
> This was extremely difficult for us at first, simply because the
> hardware we got was so variable that no "standard install" was really
> possible. There was one small shipment of machines with identical disks
> which we cloned using dd :).
> Things have got much better lately, since we started receiving corporate
> donations of largeish groups of modern PCs with similar hardware. The
> way we've ended up doing it is this:
> * A debian mirror server
> * Customised task packages
> So we start a normal debian install, but then pick
> task-computerbank-whatever and it's done.
I've made the current version of our task packages apt-get'able if you want
to have a look:
deb http://thingy.apana.org.au/computerbank/debian cbv/
deb-src http://thingy.apana.org.au/computerbank/debian cbv/
They are mainly proof-of-concept at the moment and need considerable
development, but they are already making life much easer for us.
> A custom task package might play really well with an automated
> installer, if your hardware is sufficiently uniform to support one.
As someone else pointed out there's the FAI project at
We still have to evaluate it properly but looks like it could be a very
useful package for us.