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Farewell to a friend: NetRestore goes EOL

Go on, I dare you -- name an individual who has done more to improve the lot of Mac OS X system administrators than Mr. Mike Bombich. Over the course of the past six years, while working both at educational institutions and as an Apple SE, Mike has given of his time and energy in an effort to deliver some deeply useful tools: Carbon Copy Cloner, BootPicker, NetRestore and more. CCC was one of the first effective & free drive cloning tools for Mac OS X; NetRestore set the standard for deployment frameworks and led the way in Boot Camp compatibility for restoring Windows partitions on the Mac.

CCC continues on, but we have to say goodbye to the other half of the dynamic duo: Mike announced that he has end-of-life'd the NetRestore utility, citing a lack of time for the necessary work to bring it forward to current standards and future functionality. It's true that the basic capabilities of NetRestore have been replicated elsewhere (particularly Winclone for Boot Camp partitions, and Apple's NetBoot services in Leopard Server for machine imaging over the LAN), but many have built very capable and complex deployment strategies on top of NetRestore's PHP and database support. It's a shame to see it go.

If you're shedding a tear at the departure of NetRestore, you might take Mike's advice and give DeployStudio a look -- many of the deployment approaches he had planned for "NetRestore 4" can be found in that free and actively-developed system. DeployStudio will allow you to image machines from a local boot drive or from a NetBoot repository; you can even create an image server for your Windows machines and wipe them remotely. Another option, and one that permits very rapid customization of your image config, is the InstaDMG project.

For the latest help and tips on deployment strategies, be sure to visit afp548.com and macenterprise.org.

Thanks to Josh Z for the tip.

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