how to target disk mode image multiple computers at once ??

tcandela
Valued Contributor II

if I wanted to target disk mode say a half dozen mbpro's at the same time, how would i do that? would i need some sort of firwire, thunderbolt hub ???

currently I just run casper imaging from an iMac, put it in target mode imaging and connect a single mbpro (that is in Target Disk Mode) via firewire, but the imac only has 1 firewire port, so would i need some sort of firewire hub type thing?

what about if i was connecting via thunderbolt, would I need some sort of thunderbolt hub type thing?

not sure if these hub type things exist.
I'm just testing target disk mode imaging, so I can see what imaging options work best for me.

17 REPLIES 17

Chris_Hafner
Valued Contributor II

Well, the hubs do exist but I'm almost positive that neither Casper Imaging or Disk Utility can deal with imaging or restoring multiple volumes at once. I'd grab a gigabit ethernet switch and setup a netboot environment. It's pretty simple and straightforward with the tools available today (AutoCasperNBI and others).

What does your overall imaging need look like on a long term basis?

rderewianko
Valued Contributor II

I'll second netbooting. If its something you'll be doing often, you may want to consider setting up prestage imaging.

That being said, apple did a document at one time exploring options of imaging machines... Netboot was good if you were over "X" (I don't recall what x is) but thunderbolt if you're going from SSD -> SSD you'd get pretty decent speeds. Which you can easily set casper imaging to just image next drive as they are plugged in one by one.

adamcodega
Valued Contributor

Here's the whitepaper Apple released when the MacBook Air came out. Since the Air was so popular for 1:1 and did not have an Ethernet port but supported the new Thunderbolt TDM, it was worth doing the math and seeing if Netboot was still the way to go.

I have only laptops in my environment, if you keep your image lightweight and let the JSS install software post-imaging, you will most likely be able to image each Mac in about 6 or 7 minutes.

Chris_Hafner
Valued Contributor II

I like the white paper but it assumes the worst possible scenario for NetBoot imaging. I'll happy agree that imaging via external thunderbolt HDD is the fastest possible method for direct imaging. Actually, I think it's a perfectly valid and viable means for imaging these units. It is in fact, my emergency backup solution. Still, if you already have a network in place, this could be automated via netboot with Pre-Stage imaging and not take anyones time at all. Again, with all these discussions it heavily depends on your environment. If you have no decent network and no cash then purchasing a few external TB drives might be your best bet. It's certainly cheaper than target mode imaging.

jduvalmtb
Contributor

We use the SSD --> SSD method and haven't found a way for one to many. I create 1 base image, deploy it to a couple imaging devices, and use those for imaging (eg, so I have 5 imaging laptops, and those are used for imaging with Deploy Studio). During the school year, I'm generally imaging only 1-3 at a time as things break, so I get by with just 1 spare imaging laptop at that point. I don't Netboot at all now, but that's also because our network isn't conducive towards it.

sparker
New Contributor II

Target disk mode is going to be one device connected at a time.

As others have mentioned, if you want to deploy them image to multiple computers at the same time, you 'll need to setup the NetInstall service in the Server application on a Mac running as new or newer a release of OS X.

RobertHammen
Valued Contributor II

You can do multiple machines in a row, just not at all at once, via Target Mode Imaging (available from the Target Drive: pop-up in Casper Imaging).

This will let you hook machines up and have them automagically have an imaging config applied. But again, this only happens sequentially.

Might still be faster doing it this way (especially if you have a local DP and all packages cached locally on the host doing the imaging) than NetBoot, but you'd have to test. Really depends on how much stuff you are laying down as part of your image...

Chris_Hafner
Valued Contributor II

Another strange possibility. One can also prestage machines, make an ssd external drive a bootable OS X server (qualified DNS) and use that as a portable, high speed imaging DP via casper. Still one at a time but super automated. I only bring it up because we're debating the highest speed, non-netboot imaging possibilities. Or, at least it seems like it ;-)

P.S> And Mike, if you see this, I am still waiting for someone to try this in production!

P.P.S This is also a test to see if you really do get through all of these threads. I still can't figure out how you can spend so much time here while being helpful and holding your own job.

sparker
New Contributor II

If you have both ends using SSD, target mode imaging can really shine. However, if it is just one individual deploying the image and using spinning drives, it can be worth it to setup a NetInstall server and knock out a lab worth of Macs at a time depending on NetInstall server resources and network speed.

jduvalmtb
Contributor

@Chris_Hafner
I'm setting up DeployStudio to do that now. With a DS Server & Images set up on an External SSD: Boot that SSD on to MBA #1 via USB 3 & image MBCA # 2 via Firewire. 30 gigs is taking 5:00 to copy the entire image.

Chris_Hafner
Valued Contributor II

@jduvalmtb cool. This is one of DeployStudios strengths. Seeing your current 5 imaging Laptop setup, can I ask why aren't you using at least a small NetBoot system? Just curious. I'm sure there are reasons.

jduvalmtb
Contributor

@Chris_Hafner
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by a small NetBoot system? I'd still have to get the Master Image from somewhere, and imaging over the network where I work isn't going to work well (the primary drive behind exploring this). I could still NetBoot and get the image off a local drive, but at that point, I don't see the point of NetBooting at all.

The other reason I've been looking into this method is I work at multiple locations, but only 1 repository. This way, I can carry the DS Server & Images on my external SSD and having a fully functioning laptop with all our apps & configs up and running in a few minutes from anywhere.

ega
Contributor III

I guess I would ask why are you imaging? I get if a drive is replaced or corrupted beyond recognition otherwise a Self-Service policy run by a tech to add/subtract etc software seems like it fits the way you describe working. And even in the case of replaced or nuked hd going light weight with Disk Utility (or casper imaging) should get you farther faster.

Chris_Hafner
Valued Contributor II

Agreed. It seems that you've certainly identified why NetBoot isn't going to work for you. @ega I can't speak for @jduvalmtb but in edu's it's often easier to start or even upgrade with a fresh image after user's have completely harshed the system. It's also a heck of a lot faster when you're a single person handling everything. Besides, you need to have a setup for a bare metal install almost no matter what so a lot of folks stop there.

Chris_Hafner
Valued Contributor II

P.S. That said, this is where I usually start talking about the need to have a lot of discussions with the school district about getting proper equipment and network infrastructure.

mm2270
Legendary Contributor II

@Chris_Hafner - Ok, it took me a full 24 hours before I saw your post, so I guess I'm slipping in my duties as a JAMF dean. :)

Chris_Hafner
Valued Contributor II

@mm2270 Brilliant as usual! I left this one buried... and you still got to it! Still, I have no idea how you have the time and energy to stay on top of these!