Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning - Solaris

This is a discussion on Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning - Solaris ; Hi all, We are looking to run a classroom of 20 or so machines as training for courses in Linux, Solaris and Win XP based applications. Does anybody here know of any applications (commercial or open source) that would allow ...

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Thread: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

  1. Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Hi all,

    We are looking to run a classroom of 20 or so machines as training for
    courses in Linux, Solaris and Win XP based applications.

    Does anybody here know of any applications (commercial or open source)
    that would allow for the cloning and archiving of the machines system
    state between classes?

    I know you used to be able to clone and "snapshot" windows partitions
    many moons ago using DriveImage and Norton Ghost, but is there a more
    recent product/project that will enable all partitions to be cloned?

    Anybody else run classes like this and how do you handle students being
    able to return to their machine each week in the same state? Removable
    hard drive caddies? What sort of backup procedures do you implement.

    TIA,

    P.


  2. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    mr_peter_stevenson@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > We are looking to run a classroom of 20 or so machines as training for
    > courses in Linux, Solaris and Win XP based applications.
    >
    > Does anybody here know of any applications (commercial or open source)
    > that would allow for the cloning and archiving of the machines system
    > state between classes?
    >
    > I know you used to be able to clone and "snapshot" windows partitions
    > many moons ago using DriveImage and Norton Ghost, but is there a more
    > recent product/project that will enable all partitions to be cloned?
    >
    > Anybody else run classes like this and how do you handle students being
    > able to return to their machine each week in the same state? Removable
    > hard drive caddies? What sort of backup procedures do you implement.
    >

    I don't know about windows, but for Solaris and Linux, assuming the
    user's home directories are on an NFS server and they don't have root
    access, what else do you want to preserve?

    --
    Ian Collins.

  3. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    > I don't know about windows, but for Solaris and Linux, assuming the
    > user's home directories are on an NFS server and they don't have root
    > access, what else do you want to preserve?
    >
    > --
    > Ian Collins.


    Thanks Ian,

    Preserve everything! The machines are in a classroom and students will
    be training on the machines for coursework - the linux students will be
    working on different stuff to the Solaris students.

    I'm looking to find out what we can do to "snapshot" the entire
    machine (all partitions, or individually) so that on week 5 of the
    coursework, for example, if one of the machines HD buys the farm we can
    restore the student back to the last save at their last training day.

    It needs to work with Windows, Linux and Solaris, and maybe involve a
    PXE boot to make it hands-off and easy to admin.

    TIA,

    P.


  4. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    I should have maybe said that the lab machines will be triple boot
    machines with a boot menu for solaris, linux or windows, and the
    student can choose the appropriate platform for their course when the
    class starts.


  5. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Thanks in advance to all responses!


  6. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    mr_peter_stevenson@hotmail.com wrote:
    >>I don't know about windows, but for Solaris and Linux, assuming the
    >>user's home directories are on an NFS server and they don't have root
    >>access, what else do you want to preserve?
    >>
    >>--
    >>Ian Collins.

    >
    >
    > Thanks Ian,
    >
    > Preserve everything! The machines are in a classroom and students will
    > be training on the machines for coursework - the linux students will be
    > working on different stuff to the Solaris students.
    >
    > I'm looking to find out what we can do to "snapshot" the entire
    > machine (all partitions, or individually) so that on week 5 of the
    > coursework, for example, if one of the machines HD buys the farm we can
    > restore the student back to the last save at their last training day.
    >

    Well I'm still a bit confused, are the students installing software? Do
    they have root access?

    If they are just learning to run applications, I assume these will be on
    a central server, as will the students home directories, so they could
    use any machine, couldn't they?

    Another alternative would be to use VNC from a single server.

    --
    Ian Collins.

  7. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    In article <1140823588.251778.147840@z34g2000cwc.googlegroups. com>,
    mr_peter_stevenson@hotmail.com says...
    > > I don't know about windows, but for Solaris and Linux, assuming the
    > > user's home directories are on an NFS server and they don't have root
    > > access, what else do you want to preserve?
    > >
    > > --
    > > Ian Collins.

    >
    > Thanks Ian,
    >
    > Preserve everything! The machines are in a classroom and students will
    > be training on the machines for coursework - the linux students will be
    > working on different stuff to the Solaris students.
    >
    > I'm looking to find out what we can do to "snapshot" the entire
    > machine (all partitions, or individually) so that on week 5 of the
    > coursework, for example, if one of the machines HD buys the farm we can
    > restore the student back to the last save at their last training day.


    Ugh. Have you actually built those systems, yet? Brace yourself for
    pain.

    Solaris does not coexist well with NTFS partitions, and it bitches about
    Linux. Solaris will install, but it ****s up the partition table and
    doesn't put Linux in the GRUB menu. When you boot into Windows and run
    a tool like Partition Magic, it will cry about errors -- it will fix
    them, but then it will show your hard drive as having one big "bad"
    partition instead of several good ones.

    But you *can* get all the systems on there, with the partition table
    error free and the bootloaders configured more-or-less properly. It's
    just going to take some doing. A lot of trial, error and recovery,
    mainly. (I did it... If I can do it, then anyone can.)

    As for cloning, I can assure you that Norton Ghost won't get the job
    done. Even "image disk" which allegedly makes a sector-by-sector copy
    of the whole drive, doesn't work. Oh, it will make a GHO image just
    fine. And it will appear to restore just fine. But good luck getting
    your system to boot afterward. It seems to **** up either the MBR or
    the partition boot blocks, or maybe both, and I was never able to figure
    out a way to fix them. I couldn't even get GRUB to reinstall. Tried to
    backup/restore them using dd, but all that did was make the problem
    worse. Tried to reload Linux, and it complained that my hard drive was
    too ****ed up to use. What a frigging mess.

    ....Sigh. What I wound up doing was loading Solaris and creating a FLAR
    file, after copying all the system identification files to some other
    directory. Then I wiped the system, and installed Windows and Linux and
    left a "hole" for Solaris. I used Ghost to image that. To
    restore/clone, I use Ghost to apply the GHO image and then I run the
    Solaris installer to apply the flash archive. Reboot, restore all the
    system id files. Then I boot off a Linux disk to go in and fix GRUB so
    I can boot from any one of the three operating systems.

    Go buy yourself a bottle of whiskey before you start, because you're
    going to want a stiff drink when you're done. Or maybe even before you
    start.

    (end rant)

  8. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    > Well I'm still a bit confused, are the students installing software? Do
    > they have root access?
    >
    > If they are just learning to run applications, I assume these will be on
    > a central server, as will the students home directories, so they could
    > use any machine, couldn't they?


    Ian, the courses are for SCSA, RHCE, and CCNA with classes on monday
    evening for solaris, tuesday evening linux etc.

    The students need to be able to install software and cover the basics
    of admin, patching, config etc. VNC is not really and option.

    Thanks anyway.


  9. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Thanks mein!

    I know, I know, it's a world of pain but what can you do!

    I'm thinking we invest in removable IDE hard drive caddies and spare
    drives and we give the students their drives when they come in the door
    and we keep it at the end of the class so they can return to the same
    point next week.

    A caddy for Solaris, one for Linux and the internal drive double boots
    two versions of Win XP for daily use and one for CCNA materials at
    night.

    A bit of wonga spent, but a damn sight easier to admin for the chaps
    running the labs.

    Cheers,

    P.


  10. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Pete wrote:
    > Thanks mein!
    >
    > I know, I know, it's a world of pain but what can you do!
    >
    > I'm thinking we invest in removable IDE hard drive caddies and spare
    > drives and we give the students their drives when they come in the door
    > and we keep it at the end of the class so they can return to the same
    > point next week.
    >
    > A caddy for Solaris, one for Linux and the internal drive double boots
    > two versions of Win XP for daily use and one for CCNA materials at
    > night.
    >
    > A bit of wonga spent, but a damn sight easier to admin for the chaps
    > running the labs.
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > P.
    >


    How can issuing hard drives be convenient? I've also known quite a few
    fans fail on small caddies, which can tend to wreck disks.


    --
    Dave K

    Minefield Consultant and Solitaire Expert (MCSE).

    Please note my email address changes periodically to avoid spam.
    It is always of the form: month-year@domain. Hitting reply will work
    for a couple of months only. Later set it manually.

  11. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    In article <1140871900.998727.53090@z34g2000cwc.googlegroups.c om>,
    mr_peter_stevenson@hotmail.com says...
    > Thanks mein!
    >
    > I know, I know, it's a world of pain but what can you do!


    That's why we get paid the big bucks, right? LOL

    > I'm thinking we invest in removable IDE hard drive caddies and spare
    > drives and we give the students their drives when they come in the door
    > and we keep it at the end of the class so they can return to the same
    > point next week.
    >
    > A caddy for Solaris, one for Linux and the internal drive double boots
    > two versions of Win XP for daily use and one for CCNA materials at
    > night.


    Easily swappable drives sound like the easiest plan.

    Then again, maybe there's some other drive cloner out there that can
    successfully clone Windows/Linux/Solaris tri-boot systems. I'm thinking
    along the lines of forensics software designed to make a very precise
    replica...

    /ME shrugs

    Just thinking out loud. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  12. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    mein wrote:

    > In article <1140871900.998727.53090@z34g2000cwc.googlegroups.c om>,
    > mr_peter_stevenson@hotmail.com says...
    >
    >>Thanks mein!
    >>
    >>I know, I know, it's a world of pain but what can you do!

    >
    >
    > That's why we get paid the big bucks, right? LOL
    >
    >
    >>I'm thinking we invest in removable IDE hard drive caddies and spare
    >>drives and we give the students their drives when they come in the door
    >>and we keep it at the end of the class so they can return to the same
    >>point next week.
    >>
    >>A caddy for Solaris, one for Linux and the internal drive double boots
    >>two versions of Win XP for daily use and one for CCNA materials at
    >>night.

    >
    >
    > Easily swappable drives sound like the easiest plan.
    >
    > Then again, maybe there's some other drive cloner out there that can
    > successfully clone Windows/Linux/Solaris tri-boot systems. I'm thinking
    > along the lines of forensics software designed to make a very precise
    > replica...
    >
    > /ME shrugs
    >
    > Just thinking out loud. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Hmmm, just noticed this thread - what about "Ghost 4 UNIX", at


    I've used to save and restore the S10 and Windows (FAT16, FAT32, and
    NTFS) partitions on my laptop, it seems to work fine, if a tad slow.

    Cheers,
    Gary B-)

    --
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________
    Armful of chairs: Something some people would not know
    whether you were up them with or not
    - Barry Humphries

  13. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Thanks Guys!

    I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but VMWare is the ticket!

    We have an educational license for VMWare on WinXP so I think this is
    the way to go, then it's just a matter of copying the image file across
    onto the fileserver at the end of the class and copying it back at the
    start.


  14. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    .... and if I remember correctly there is now a free VMWare player as
    well.

    I think I'll buy that bottle of whisky after all ... to celebrate!

    Thanks all,

    P.


  15. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning


    "Pete" wrote in message
    news:1140951869.728404.71960@e56g2000cwe.googlegro ups.com...
    > ... and if I remember correctly there is now a free VMWare player as
    > well.
    >
    > I think I'll buy that bottle of whisky after all ... to celebrate!
    >
    > Thanks all,
    >
    > P.
    >

    don't want to rain on your parade, Pete, but i'd get solaris onto vmware
    first then crack the bottle!
    vmware inc describe solaris x86 support as 'experimental', so i'd have a
    look round the vmware forums and see just how far it goes.
    it used to be necessary to download a driver from here:
    http://chitchat.at.infoseek.co.jp/vm...lsvga.html#top if you wanted to
    get anything better than 640 x 480 resolution.
    i had CDE 1024 x 768 working with this driver but the cursor always looked a
    little bit strange (although it worked properly).
    no other problems with this as far as i can recall, but it's been a while.
    bob



  16. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    "Bob Lawn" writes:

    >vmware inc describe solaris x86 support as 'experimental', so i'd have a
    >look round the vmware forums and see just how far it goes.


    It works just fine; main reason why it is experimental is the fact
    that it doesn't have native VMware tools.

    Solaris 10 does come with the appropriate VMware graphcis driver as
    part of Xorg.


    Casper
    --
    Expressed in this posting are my opinions. They are in no way related
    to opinions held by my employer, Sun Microsystems.
    Statements on Sun products included here are not gospel and may
    be fiction rather than truth.

  17. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Pete wrote...

    >I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but VMWare is the ticket!
    >
    >We have an educational license for VMWare on WinXP so I think this is
    >the way to go, then it's just a matter of copying the image file across
    >onto the fileserver at the end of the class and copying it back at the
    >start.


    Copying VMWare images back and forth is tedious and time consuming.
    Here is a scheme that you can avoid it.

    1. Connect external 300GB hard drives to a file server.
    2. On all PC'es that the students are using:
    - disable write access to all local drives
    - allow write access only to the network folders holding
    their VMEare images

    So, no student is allowed to screw up the local PC HDD partitions.
    They can plug in USB keys to upload/download their stuffs on
    their virtal OS.


    IMHO, VMWare is better than MS Virtual PC in that the later has
    difficulies working with USB devices.

    Both VMWare and MS Virtual PC are no good for playing games.
    For example, Sims 2 installed on virtual OS'es cannot run because
    they need video card hardware to work with.






  18. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Harry331 wrote:
    > Pete wrote...
    >
    >
    >>I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but VMWare is the ticket!
    >>
    >>We have an educational license for VMWare on WinXP so I think this is
    >>the way to go, then it's just a matter of copying the image file across
    >>onto the fileserver at the end of the class and copying it back at the
    >>start.

    >
    >
    > Copying VMWare images back and forth is tedious and time consuming.
    > Here is a scheme that you can avoid it.
    >
    > 1. Connect external 300GB hard drives to a file server.


    Why external? Make it internal and fast, RAID or ZFS. This drive will
    take a pounding with a class running VMWare virtual file systems off it.

    --
    Ian Collins.

  19. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Ian Collins wrote...
    >
    >Harry331 wrote:


    >> 1. Connect external 300GB hard drives to a file server.

    >
    >Why external?
    >Make it internal and fast, RAID or ZFS. This drive will
    >take a pounding with a class running VMWare virtual file systems off it.


    If you have 10 classes, you need 10 Internal HDDs.
    Well, you're right, external HDDs have their disadvantages.
    Maybe hot swappable internal HDDs would be the solution.


  20. Re: Training Classroom Multiboot Cloning

    Harry331 wrote:
    > Ian Collins wrote...
    >
    >>Harry331 wrote:

    >
    >
    >>>1. Connect external 300GB hard drives to a file server.

    >>
    >>Why external?
    >>Make it internal and fast, RAID or ZFS. This drive will
    >>take a pounding with a class running VMWare virtual file systems off it.

    >
    >
    > If you have 10 classes, you need 10 Internal HDDs.
    > Well, you're right, external HDDs have their disadvantages.
    > Maybe hot swappable internal HDDs would be the solution.
    >

    Why not 10 subdirectories?

    --
    Ian Collins.

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