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VirtualBox and Altiris DS 7.x

Created: 27 Feb 2013 • Updated: 21 Mar 2013 | 18 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

Has anyone had any luck dropping an image an a VirtualBox VM?  I can PXE boot just fine, PE loads, pectagent runs, I see ghost flash, and I get an error about firm.  Basically... Altiris can't see any hard drives.  When I run the command "wmic logicaldisk get caption" it only lists D: and X: drives.  There is no C: despite a 25 GB VDI being attached.

I REALLY want this to work, as my goal is to snapshot before I capture image to allow easy updating of the image (java, flash, etc.).

Thanks!

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andykn101's picture

How about if you run diskpart from WinPE? You might need to crate a partition on the VirtualBox drive first.

Another way to preserve you image for updating is to take a back up image before you sysprep reseal/generalise.

The best way is to totally script your build; your master image shouldn't have had multiple versions of Flash, Java etc installed and uninstalled.

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SaintFrag's picture

Funny, I'd played with DiskPart within the PE environment and never made the connection between creating a partition and the fact that none existed for DS to use.  :)  One of those days!  I'll try that shortly.

I've been doing a scripted install and I'm looking to improve on that process.  There's much more to it than what I mentioned which using VM snapshots would make DS more useful than ever.  A backup is a feasible alternative, but I can't quickly mount that like I can a VM.

SaintFrag's picture

Hmm.... that didn't seem to work.  Any idea how Altiris 'maps' the PROD: drive?  I assume using firm.exe but I can't find any way to do so.

andykn101's picture

I think if you can't see the disk in WinPE then Altiris can't see it.

So you need to use Diskpart to create a partiton, create a volume on that partition and format it first.

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SaintFrag's picture

I have the disk formatted as NTFS and I now have a C: drivein WinPE (per your original thump-on-the-head advice).  I was able to copy a file to it using firm.exe.  However, firm.exe shows the drive as labeled D2P1: instead of PROD:, which seems to be the issue.

andykn101's picture

I don't think you need to use Firm in WinPE, xcopy should work fine. I haven't used Firm for a while now.

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SaintFrag's picture

True, but the commands Altiris uses depend on Firm.exe, which is why I'm using it for my testing of the problem I'm having.  Here is an example of the firm.log error:

 

-begin firm.log---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Error description:
     The specified firm drive was not found.

Possible causes:
     The firm drive specifier points to a non-existant drive.

Possible resolutions:
     Run 'Firm drives' to see the available Firm drive mappings.

==================== Technical details ====================

Logfile = created Wed Feb 27 15:14:04 2013
  Build = firm.exe 6.9 (9373)
Cmdline = \\XXXXXXXXXXXX\Deployment\Task Handler\rdeploy\x64\firm.exe copy X:\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\PECTAgent.ini PROD:\boot\altiris\iso\@inject@\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\PECTAgent.ini

Status = 60 (0x3c)
Source file = apps\firm\firm.cpp
Line number = 610 (0x262)
Stack trace =
Path = PROD:\boot\altiris\iso\@inject@\Program Files\Altiris\Altiris Agent\PECTAgent.ini
Imaging library revision = 9373 (win64-x64-release build, Wed Sep 12 17:22:34 2012)

 

-end firm.log---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I can run the same cmdline successfully if I change PROD: to D2P1: and run it manually.  So I'm trying to figure out either how to change that label or simply why it got changed.

I'm going to start a new VM from scratch and format the drives using a boot disk first, then PXE boot to PE and see if Altiris will take off.  I'll update at that time.

Thanks for your continued interest in helping!

 

SaintFrag's picture

Well, I got the firm error to go away.  I now get an Abort: 40012 error (see attached).  I've also ran firm.exe drives and showdisk -m to verify that the drive was built properly using diskpart (see attached).

I'm at a loss still.  :(

error.PNG firm and showdisk.PNG
yizhifrank's picture

The best way is to totally script your build; your master image shouldn't have had multiple versions of Flash, Java etc installed and uninstalled. 

andykn101's picture

Absolutely. Takes a long time to create but makes maintaining the image far easier.

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SaintFrag's picture

As described before, that's not the route I want to take as it doesn't fit our needs.  I don't have multiple versions of Flash, Java, etc. when all is said and done, I was just using that as an example.

I don't have any experience with fully scripted deployment, but right now I can image any amount of computers in 1.5 hour of total downtime.  I should be able to get it down to 1 hour using VM's.  The extra half hour is post-sysprep 'scripted' installations, many of which require a logged on user, which I'm also trying to avoid.

andykn101's picture

I'm not an expert with Ghost itself, might it be that it can't see disks over a certain size and you need to start with a smaller partition and get sysprep to expand it?

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SaintFrag's picture

No, that wouldn't be the situation here.  It's only a 25 GB virtual disk.  All our physical drives are larger.

andykn101's picture

How big is your image? Is there anything in it expecting a larger hard disk?

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SOLUTION
Tim.Jing's picture

We used Virtual Box exclusively for our images both 32 and 64 bit. Are you trying to deploy an image to Virtual box or pull an image from it?

SaintFrag's picture

Sounds like you are the man I want to talk to!  :)

We are trying to do both.  I want to build a basic image on the VBox, capture it, and deploy it to multiple other VBox's to build about 10 other images.  I then need to capture those final images.  All 11 images (1 basic and 10 customs) would be then deployed to physical client computers.

I do have to follow up on the hard drive size asked above.  I've been allocating a 25 GB hard drive and then partitioning it using diskpart before trying to drop an image on it.  The image shouldn't be larger than 15 GB, but perhaps 25 isn't enough.

Anything you can offer would be fantastic!

Tim.Jing's picture

What all is involved in the customization?

 

Can you not do that in Virtual box and create snap shots to go back to?

 

 

SaintFrag's picture

Okay, I have no idea as to the why, but I created an 80 GB VDI drive instead of 25 GB and it's imaging just fine.  My final image size shouldn't be much larger than 20 GB, but apparently it matters.

Thank you everyone for your input.  I'm excited about the possibilities this will open up for us.