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HFS support needed ASAP!!!!

Created: 06 Sep 2011 | 6 comments

I have been working with Ghost Corporate now for a while and now I need to incorporate dual boot Macbooks into our system (Mac & Windows OS).  I've been able to do a raw drive/image copy and re-deploy it with minor success.  The major problem that exists is the time and image size.  But really just the time.  I've gotten the boot disks/cd's to work well with the Macbooks (No PXE yet), and connect to the ghost cast server with 100% success.  But the speed to copy a 300GB drive for only 30-40 GB is just ridiculous.  The time it takes to do this ranges from 3-4 hours.  Another open source cloning software is currently being used VIA disc to disc, and takes 20 min or so to do a complete restore.  The reason obviously is it can handle the HFS formatting.  But their multicast is nowhere as capable at Symantecs, so doing a large number of them is still out. Not to mention all of our images are currently in .ghs format.

Could I get a possible date as to when Symantec is planning on supporting HFS format? Or volunteer to pilot a beta version with HFS support?

Thank you

Comments 6 CommentsJump to latest comment

EdT's picture

I assume in the absence of any contrary information that you are running the latest GSS 2.5.1 at build 2266.

Apart from a small number of patches which have been released, there are no plans to provide anything other than maintenance fixes, as the development team was laid off some time ago and there is no budget for anything other than very limited maintenance out of India. Just search on past postings by Nigel Bree, one of the laid off developers, for a fuller picture.

You may be able to get performance improvements using GSS on a disk to disk basis, perhaps booting WinPE from a USB-2 or USB-3 external hard disk and imaging to/from that, as you are currently doing with your third party solution, but if you need to do it over a network then I don't see any way of making significant performance gains over what you are doing now.

Which open source cloning software are you using BTW?

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

Joe Don's picture

So is Symantec Corp Ghost going away?  We are using Clonezilla currently to do the local disc to disc. It sees the HFS, and NTFS, and speeds through the imaging process once you actually get it started.  But looking to other solutions for mass deployment, as clonezilla isn't that user freindly, and somewhat of a pain to try to get to multicast if you're not a Linux guru.

EdT's picture

I don't think Ghost is "going away" as Symantec will continue to leverage revenue from this product as long as it can, but once Windows 8 is out, I don't see how they can continue to support a new O/S without a dev team and without putting money into it.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

Nigel Bree's picture

As I've explained in the past Ghost Solution Suite has been scheduled to "go away" in favour of Deployment Solution for a long, long time, as that's a part of our roadmap that we laid out to customers at ManageFusion '07 in Orlando.

The classic Ghost cloning tool (which also has RDeploy-style multicast as an option since RDeploy was deprecated back in '07) and DeployAnywhere (but NOT the Ghost Boot Wizard, except for the small subset of it which manages drivers for DeployAnywhere) were internally bundled together as the primary cloning toolset for Deployment Solution, and those pieces have a longer lifetime. The team who currently maintains GSS primary focuses on that subset, and if freed of the need to maintain GSS proper they ought to be able to keep that subset viable for use in DS - they are good developers, just ludicrously underfunded just as we were.

While we at Ghost HQ had always wanted to tackle HFS+, we had done all the necessary research and knew exactly what it would cost to build, but we simply weren't going to get that funding. In particular, since Deployment Solution has some (very, very, lame) support for MacOS management using the Apple toolchain, that's evidently been considered sufficiently adequate that the modest funding for a native HFS+ imaging tool was not going to be forthcoming.

As for PXE, MacOS X firmware supports something different called NetBoot, and you can't use a PXE toolchain for NetBoot (at least not without it being specifically designed for that). As it happens, the last thing I did before being laid off by Symantec was work on SBS (which is what is bundled in with DS), which I started to tackle by completely rewriting brand new PXE and TFTP servers that ran over 10x faster and supported at least 10x more clients than existing SBS, and my intention with that was to also include NetBoot support. Unfortunately I was laid off before I could finish the DS integration for that, and so I don't believe any of that work has or will ship - the likely scenario for DS is that it will continue to support NetBoot the same way it supports HFS+ by requiring customers to use the Apple toolchain.

Joe Don's picture

Getting the Mac's to netboot from something that could have been broadcasted from the Ghost server would have been nice and streamlined.  But all I really wanted was for it to be able to recognize that HFS+ formatting when creating or deploying an image.  You can't imagine my surprise/joy/elation when I got the Ghost Boot CD to work with the new unibody Macbooks.  I couldn't believe it. Network and SATA drivers all working like they should.  But it was short lived once I found that Ghost was unable to see the apple HFS partition/ formatting.  I could see the second partition of NTFS, so I figured I was at least half way there, and If I just held on there may have been some update or new release that had that support I needed.  So no dice on that.

Pardon my asking for a little more clarification but does any Symantec cloning product work with the HFS+ formatting directly.  I saw you had mentioned Symantec/Altiris Deployment solutions.  I looked online but again looks like no support for mac at all.

Nigel Bree's picture

No, no HFS work is being done. As I said, we on the original Ghost team has researched this and we knew what it would cost to make, but since 2004 Symantec basically didn't reinvest more than an insignificant fraction of Ghost's revenue in R&D. After 2007 when Deployment Solution became the intended successor platform to Ghost, management had even less interest in HFS+ since DS customers were being forced to use the Apple toolchains for deployment and that was evidently "good enough", and in early 2009 Ghost development was cancelled and the original development team laid off.

Ultimately, even for a company which is actively interested in creating quality disk imaging and client management platforms, investing in an HFS+ solution is risky. It would have been a no-brainer for Ghost since it had so much of the imaging market and the necessarily reinvestment level to add HFS+ was very small in relation to the size of the market and Ghost's revenues, but with Symantec's management disinvesting in Ghost, it's difficult for other providers to justify the investment given that to recoup it you need to attract commensurate licensing revenue. Paying  customers are hard to gain with the low end of the market taken up with "free" tools, leaving the only potential paying customers as larger corporates (who expect to wield purchasing power and pay much less per-seat than SMB customers do, and prefer providers with the ability to provide gold-plated support on demand).