Imaging – Ghost?

Traditionally everyone’s used Ghost for imaging PCs. We have a copy of Ghost 8.2 and Ghost 9 at my new job. Apparently after Ghost 8.x the traditional network imaging tools went into the ‘Ghost Solution Suite’ for enterprise and Ghost 9.x is more designed for a single PC, for the average joe to easily image their own machine for backup purposes. I’ve been digging around for the Ghost 8.x CD, and in the interm checked out the Ghost Solution Suite. It’s a bunch of tools, and all I want is imaging. It’s fairly cheap, I think something like $30-40, but you have to buy ten licenses to start. “Why?”, I thought.

I found Ghost 8.x and went to install it on my desktop and after the standard EULA is a licensing warning, an excerpt:

Symantec wants to be certain its customers understand the Symantec Ghost license agreement so they can be sure they are operating within the law. Here are a few points from Symantec about Ghost’s license:

Each machine that is cloned with Ghost needs a license, regardless if Ghost software is removed after the PC is cloned

Serious?! Every site I know that uses Ghost for image deployment only has one license. Crap. So maybe this is why people use Microsoft RIS.

All this is because the current ghost configuration has been locking on an upload at “Adding MFT Table File”. When I say locking, it predicts something like 8000 hours to complete and just sits there.

I’m trying the ghostcast server which seems to be hanging up now on “Adding MFT Logfile File”.

Symantec unhelpfully suggests using a third party program to defrag the MFT, which are all windows programs with no simple path to a bootable cdrom.

I got looking at Acronis’ deployment system “snap deploy”, but it’s still $20/cloned device, whereas Symantecs Ghost Solution Suite starts at $40/computer and you have to start with 10 licenses.

There’s a handfull of dd-ish hacks like this and this, but they aren’t solutions. There’s ghost4linux which has interesting origins from a package called ghost4unix. There’s Partimage and then PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost).

Honestly, I’m just tired of this. Why must it be so hard?

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