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Author Topic: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...  (Read 3086 times)

barney

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    Folk,

    This one's a bit unusual.  Have a naval buddy on deployment.  He just got two (2) new laptops a couple of days before the deployment.  Both are 64-bit with Win7 Home Premium.

    Acer
    AMD Athlon X2 dual Core L310, 1.2 GHz
    4 GB RAM (3.75 GB usable)
    Atheros AR5B93 Wireless (internal)
    Realtek HD Audio
    ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics

    Gateway (red, btw)
    Intel Core i3 M330 2.13 GHz (4 core)
    4 GB RAM (3.68 GB usable)
    Atheros AR5B93 Wireless (internal)
    Broadcom NetLink Gigabit Ethernet (internal)
    Intel Display Audio
    Realtek HD Audio
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD

    It has fallen to me to config these boxes while he is away.

    The two boxes will be 80% identical insofar as software configuration.

    The other 20% will be
    • his - electronics, diagramming, & database software - he's the radar/electronics maven on his ship, also breadboards stuff as a hobby.
    • hers - AutoCAD & games, prolly World of Warcraft - she's a draftsman and a game junky.

    He'll use the Acer, but he's giving the Gateway to his SO (calls her his
Social Officer  ;D) as a surprise.  He left all the necessaries to install the special stuff, so that's no problem.

However, I don't want to spend a week or two (2) configuring one box, the doing the same thing with the other.

Equally however, I don't think I can do one box, then image it to the other, due to the disparity in CPU and other variations.

So, what do you think would be the best approach?  Is there a fairly reliable way to image dissimilar PCs?  Never ran across this in the corporate world, and I really don't want to learn the hard way if I can avoid it.

I'm using the Gateway right now, and it is [speedy] sweet!  (Although I'm seeing the application whiteout that I thought was just on my desktop - that's prolly another thread, though.)[/list]
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 02:09:13 AM by barney »

f0dder

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 02:04:35 AM »
Paragon Virtualization Manager 2010 might be able to do it via P2P, but you'll very likely run into trouble with windows validation...
- carpe noctem

barney

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 02:14:49 AM »
I'll take a look at Paragon.

Yeah, the validation thing occurred to me, but I think I can dance my way around that one.  Both boxes have already been validated - he had time to do that much, although I kinda wish he hadn't.

3of0

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 03:28:48 PM »
I'd be more interested in this from a business standpoint.  I spend 2-5 hours building a new computer from the OS to all the apps.  Dell likes to change their models constantly so we have a slew of different models.  I've given up on keeping 10 images for each model we have.  We are using WinXP now, but Win7 is looking to be coming around the corner soon.  Even if it means re-installing the drivers, it'd be a huge help.  I need to install the drivers anyway doing it how I am. :)

mouser

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 03:34:41 PM »
great question and issue..

i'm a big fan of automating processes, but knowing when the simpler approach is to document and do it manually.

this may be one of those cases where the most efficient thing is to:
1. setup the one pc by hand as you are planning to do, and keep detailed notes of exactly what you installed and what settings you changed, etc., and keeping a folder of all installed applicatins.
2. then manually reproducing the steps on the second pc.  your notes should make it pretty straightforward.

i just wouldnt trust automating the process on 2 different pieces of hardware.

daddydave

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 03:55:09 PM »
I agree with mouser.

If you do a lot of this, you might look into software that can slipstream drivers and application installs (HFSLIP, nLite, vLite), but for two machines, it's not going to save you any time (but you would learn a lot :) )
If bad things happen to other people, it's karma. If bad things happen to me, it's kismat!

barney

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 04:43:51 PM »
@3of0:  I'm kinda surprised, considering how long 64-bit has been around, and considering your Dell example (whether 32- or 64-bit), that this hasn't been addressed.  Or perhaps it has, but that seems doubtful from conversations I've had with a few IT acquaintances.  Perhaps it's not a doable thing, i.e., not worth the programming effort for the return?

@mouser:  yeah, as much as I like automation, I tend to take a DIY approach to things.  I like to know, as well as possible, what went where and when it went there  :huh:.  I have documented the things I've done so far on the Gateway as a fallback - might even be able to script some of it for the Acer, but not certain my scripting abilities meet the requirements  :-[ ;D.  So I broached the conundrum (?) here in the hopes that the wonderfully inventive, imaginative, and investigative minds of DC could help me to maintain my super lazy image  :P.

@daddydave:  yep, you're right, hardly worth the trouble for two (2) boxes.  And I'm currently working according to mouser's tenets.  But it would be interesting to try such software, an that it existed, and the learning experience could pay off down the road.  Oh ... I disagree about the time savings ... theoretically, considering the other 20% of installs on each machine, it could chop off a week or two (2) when testing is considered. 

Just as an aside,if this quest fails (as now seems likely), I'm thinkin' 'bout using nLite for a majority of the Acer installs, but need to do more reading/checking on that front.

JavaJones

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2010, 05:29:35 PM »
I agree with the other recent posters, using an nLite modified OS install process to get the OS itself exactly how you want it is the best first step. You can make a largely unattended install that will do pretty much all your OS config for you. From there if you can create a disk, shared folder, etc. with unattended install versions of all your software with configs to your liking, you ought to be able to setup a machine in an hour or two at most, exactly the way you want it, and largely unattended, and without having to deal with possible P2P issues, etc. You would of course have to install the correct drivers manually but this should be a small and quick part of the install process.

- Oshyan

40hz

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 02:57:01 AM »
great question and issue..

i'm a big fan of automating processes, but knowing when the simpler approach is to document and do it manually.

this may be one of those cases where the most efficient thing is to:
1. setup the one pc by hand as you are planning to do, and keep detailed notes of exactly what you installed and what settings you changed, etc., and keeping a folder of all installed applicatins.
2. then manually reproducing the steps on the second pc.  your notes should make it pretty straightforward.

i just wouldnt trust automating the process on 2 different pieces of hardware.

+1 with Mouser.

For two machines, the extra overhead involved in automating the process would exceed doing it twice. Especially since the second machine would be much easier provided you kept notes and were organized when you did the first install.

The only thing I might add is to do system recovery images for each machine with Macrium Reflect or Clonezilla once you're finished. Burn them to DVD and store them in a safe place.

These images won't make your initial installation any easier. But they will make any future reinstalls an absolute breeze.

Luck! :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 03:02:47 AM by 40hz »

barney

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Re: Seeking methodology (best practice?) for cloning dissimilar boxes ...
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2010, 11:00:37 PM »
Yah,

I've pretty well reconciled myself to a repetitive install.  However, I'm still pretty much amazed that this, something of this nature, has not yet been developed.  I've been in several situations in the past when this would have been beneficial, mostly moving folk from one machine to the next.  Sounds simple, but after ya think about it, considering drivers & such, it can be a rather complex prospect.

It amazes me that the whole process has not been addressed.  Backups won't do it, at lest the ones I've seen, and imaging doesn't, although, to my mind, it [the process] should have that capability.  Kinda like a straight file copy/transfer, but with driver and OS awareness.

Oh, well, I suspect this quest is over ... tilting at windmills is not one of my fortes  ;D, at least by choice.