Home > Computer Hardware, Software > FOG 0.31, BIOS updates and other fun

FOG 0.31, BIOS updates and other fun

Version 0.31 of the free FOG computer cloning software came out about 2-3 weeks ago. The major benefit of this version is that the web GUI has been revamped to be lighter and faster, compared to the previous GUI which has been around for ages. With holidays upon us, my colleague and I backed up the images we had made previously and nuked our existing server. A fresh copy of Ubuntu 11.04 Server was installed, FOG installed and images copied back over.

The installation went smoothly and the new GUI is much faster than the old one. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s much more pleasant to work with. There are many areas that could be improved on, but that will probably only be possible with a total rethink and rewrite of the GUI.

Performance when cloning down to a machine isn’t great unfortunately, probably due to the fact that we are running it on XenServer. Ubuntu 11.04 is not an officially supported distro, and trying to get the optimised drivers for Xen working is beyond our skills. As such, speeds are about half they were when FOG was running on a dedicated server, which in reality was simply a repurposed desktop computer. We’ve yet to test multicast as well, which is the real deal breaker for us. If we can get that working properly again, I’ll be relieved.

As a side effect, I set out to reregister every computer I could back into the FOG database. When I tried to register 3 of the computers based on Intel DP55WG motherboards in our staff work room, I picked up some issues with the computers. They loaded the kernel extremely slowly and refused to register. This was very odd, as these machines had registered with FOG a few versions back, and were in fact cloned from FOG. Taking a chance, I went to Intel’s website to see if there was an updated BIOS available. Luckily there was, and we proceeded to flash the 3 troublesome computers. After the procedure, not only did the computers register with FOG, the whole booting up sequence was much faster as well. That was a nice bonus.

Of all the devices I’ve flashed, I would say that Intel’s flashing method is the nicest. Provided you have a relatively recent board, the procedure is as simple as running the file in Windows. It reboots, flashes the BIOS and reboots back into Windows. Simple, straightforward and near painless. Other motherboards I’ve worked with required a floppy disk (!) or the file on a memory stick. Others have flashing programs that are very fickle under Windows. 

Now that I’m off for a week, I can hopefully get around to writing some posts that have been in the back of my head for a while now. Thank goodness for holidays!

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