Apologies if this has been answered, tried searching but didn't find exactly what I was looking for. I have 5-10 Raspberry PI's coming in at a time that I need to load Rasbian (jessie) on. Currently I am just loading every SD card with NOOBS and downloading/installing the latest version, then updating the configs with an ansible playbook. Has anyone found a way to image multiple pi's at once with something like FOG via PXE? Any suggestions would be super appreciated. At the end of the day I am just looking for the best and most efficient way to image multiple units.

  • Why would you still be using Jessie? NOOBS is only designed for single setup, and is slow and inefficient even then. Network Boot may be what you are looking for. – Milliways Jun 20 '19 at 1:07
  • Thanks for the info. Let me rephrase, I use whatever is on NOOBS, I guess It doesn't really matter Stretch or Jessie now that I am reading/. For the network boot, does it need to remain online constantly like a traditional terminal, or is it downloading the config and storing it on the SD card? – Parakoopa Jun 20 '19 at 1:53
  • Ahh just read it WLAN isn't support, so would not work in this case. – Parakoopa Jun 20 '19 at 2:04

I don't know what version of the Pi you use, but from version 3 onward it may be possible to boot from network:

But it seems like it requires a bit of preparation and configuration.

At work, we just configured one PI that fits our needs (base configuration, SSH Keys, preinstallation of packages etc). After everything is set up, we simply create an image with dd which we flash on all new Raspberry PIs. After that process you can finish the configuration with Puppet/Ansible/Chef/Salt etc. (for example change hostname and add static IPs)

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  • I think the PXE boot sounds good for stationary hard wired PI's, however these are connected to fork lifts that run in and out of wifi service zones. – Parakoopa Jun 20 '19 at 14:04

Using PXE means net booting, that is, the RasPi is loading the kernel and operating system from a master server on the network, but not from the SD Card. Because PXE is only working on wired ethernet connections I assume your RasPis are all connected with an ethernet cable. For this scenario I have made a configuration for Raspberry Pi. How to do it you can look at Netbooting multiple “workers” RPi from a “master” RPi.

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  • Thanks but I am not looking to run off of PXE, just use it to apply an image to an SD card from a central server. – Parakoopa Jun 20 '19 at 19:47
  • @Parakoopa Can you please elaborate it a bit in your question how do you think it could work? To copy an image from a central server to the SD Card you need an operating system. How do you get the operating system if it isn't on the SD Card? – Ingo Jun 21 '19 at 7:16

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