While I prefer not to live my life in command line, I am comfortable enough to do what is needed when the time comes up. When I first heard of SystemImager being featured at Linux.com, I found myself counting my blessings that my command shell skills (although not perfect) are not totally forgotten.

Installing and recovering systems is one of the most time-consuming tasks for any IT department. Imaging software, commercial and open source, creates compressed images of a client’s hard drive data and stores them on a central server. These images can then be used to restore systems or roll out new ones. One useful open source imaging applications is SystemImager.

SystemImager has many advantages over traditional imaging methods. It uses rsync to store the image remotely, and can do a backup or full install in just three to five minutes. Images are complete copies of a filesystem, and their files can be edited. Images on a server can be updated when a change is made to a client, and only the changes need be copied over to the image. You can also make changes to the image on the server and push it out to clients; once again, only the changes are copied. SystemImager also supports auto-installation; clients can receive an image based on their MAC addresses.

One potential disadvantage of SystemImager compared to commercial products is that no commercial support is available. This might not matter to you, but if your organization insists on it, you’re out of luck.

SystemImager installation is time-consuming but simple. Download and extract the code, then run make all in the newly created directory. This downloads a whole bunch of stuff. It seems like SystemImager needs its own version of just about everything out there. Expect to use about 650MB of disk space for everything that SystemImager will download, but you can delete this all as soon as you are done with building the application…. Source: Linux.com

[tags]linux,automate,installation,systemimager,commercial support[/tags]