Easiest (and cost effective) way of duplicating 50+ hard drives

KuJaX

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Jan 8, 2001
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What options are there for duplicating 50+ hard drives? I think that those stand-alone machines, which run several thousand dollars, are a bit much, especially if you don't have to do this often.

i've also briefly read about doing restoring from an image file over the network, but figured this would be slow, especially if 10 or even 50 computers are accessing that image on the same network at the same time.

There is also the boring method of using software like g4u or clonezilla of a disk to disk within in the same computer, but this can also take quite a while (several hours) and is slow in terms of having to take out hard drive, put another one plugged in, boot up, etc.

So what options are there or what would you recommend based upon your experience? Pro's/Con's?
 

Trepidati0n

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If these drives are to be installed in machines on your network, just do it over the network with a bootcd
 

jawpaul

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Mar 6, 2007
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The key to duplicating over the network is Multicasting the image out. Same bandwidth used for 1 client or 1000 pretty much.
 

S[H]ady

Gawd
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Mar 15, 2001
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What bootcd software have you had experience with broadcasting over the network?

I haven't had direct experience doing it, but i'm pretty sure Norton Ghost will do exactly what your looking for.
I use ghost at work to image hard drives. We only have one staging computer though, so i don't know about doing multiple at the same time.

Back in high school i played around with Ghost doing multiple images at once. that was back like 7- 8 years ago so i'm sure its much easier now.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2004
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As a sidenote, are they sata disks? If they are, could you use hot-swapping enclosures to put disks in/out without having to reboot. Might speed up time if you have to do disk-disk
 

prostuff1

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Jan 26, 2007
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Norton Ghost will do what you are looking for. We use (a very old version of ghost) were i work and we can do multiple machines as once. I have no idea if there is any limit but we have ghosted about a dozen computers at once before and all went according to plan.
 

unhappy_mage

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005
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Jun 29, 2004
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Operating system is linux (centos)

Kickstart them. You have to run a web server, and write some config files, but then you can install every machine the "official" way quickly, which means you don't need to manually fix the hostname/ip address/etc everywhere. Much nicer than running around with actual media, too ;)

Also, if you set up PXE things get even easier. Boot each machine from network (usually press F12 for that) and it'll boot from your server and pull down everything over the network. I'd recommend setting up Cfengine or something similar, too, so you can make configuration tweaks to all of the machines at once.
 

Trepidati0n

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What bootcd software have you had experience with broadcasting over the network?

I have done it with ghost...however, my favorite way right now is using WHS restore. For the home use, almost a no brainer. May not be that bad for a moderate office size (50 machines or so).
 

Grimmda

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Jul 1, 2003
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I have used SYMANTEC (not Norton) Ghost and have Multicasted an image to over 150 computers at one time... Took about an hour and a half on a slow ass network.

Worked like a champ. Find yourself a BartCD with the right tools on it or go buy a copy of the right stuff.
 
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