[SATLUG] Grub Boot Loader and Pushing Linux Images

ed horned0wl93 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 8 00:39:47 CDT 2009

Hello, and...HELP!!  Please?

I'm currently doing a project which requires, among other things, proof 
that an Ubuntu Linux image can be pushed across a network to several 
other machines.   My first tests have failed.   If you would, please 
read the whole situation, and then offer any advice you please...

For the test, I setup the following conditions:

1.  /Master System/: 1- Dell Optiplex GX270, 2GHz Intel P4 processor, 
1GB RAM, 2x80GB WD HDD (one backup); Ubuntu 8.10 fresh install, fully 
updated and working nicely on 32MB nVidia graphics; WINE installed, a 
successful proprietary program running under WINE.  Used Norton Ghost 
8.0 to copy primary drive to backup drive.  Both booted successfully.  
Mirroring not established (held for later).

2.  /Target Clients/: 3 - Dell Optiplex GX270, 2GHz Intel P4 processor, 
512MB RAM, 1x40GB unformatted WD HDD; 32MB nVidia graphics.  Master and 
Clients are all on the same switch.

3. /Test/: Using Novell ZenWorks, setup 3 target systems as clients on 
session /pushtest/, using command /img s pushtest/.  Setup master system 
as master using command /img s pushtest m;/  (verified all)  /Start 

4.  /Problem 1/:  Test appeared to run successfully, albeit quite 
slowly, up through about the 50% point (on progress bar at both master 
and client stations).  However, at about the 50% point, the Master unit 
halted with "unknown error," and reverted to a black screen with a Bash# 
prompt.  All target clients froze, and required a hard (with the button) 

5.  /Problem 2/:  On rebooting the Master unit, with the ZenWorks disk 
removed, I found that the Grub boot loader on the master unit was 
corrupt and would not boot - kept cycling back to the Dell splash 
screen.  However, when I booted to an Ubuntu Live CD, and accessed the 
main drive from it, it appeared that my file system on the main drive 
was intact. Maybe just the Grub boot loader is gone?

6.  /Retest/:  I setup exactly the same conditions as in 1 - 3, but with 
only one target client, and swapped it's 40GB HDD for an 80GB HDD, to 
match the master, and tried the process again --  the same master unit, 
the backup OS HDD, and the single target machine (Client 1) with the new 
80GB HDD.  /_The results were exactly the same as the first test_:/  The 
Master halted at just-over 50% with an unknown error; the client froze 
and required a hard shutdown; and the Master unit's HDD grub boot loader 
would, again, no longer boot.  Again, a review of the master's backup 
HDD shows the file system apparently intact.

/Help needed/:

1.  Is there a good piece of F/OSS software that can handle a push like 
I'm trying to perform in a Debian/Ubuntu-type Linux environment?  If so, 
can someone please point me at it?  If not, what would you recommend?

2.  Does anyone have a clue what happened to my Grub boot loaders?  I 
really don't wanna think that ZenWorks over-wrote them...

3.  Could someone please guide me in restoring my boot loaders -- at 
least one of them?  Admittedly, I'm a bit weak in that area, but I'm a 
pretty quick study...

I have the machine at home with me for the moment, with both drives 
unmodified since testing, but will need to return it to work by 
Thursday.  Any help greatly appreciated...


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