Data Centers

Review: Clonezilla system imaging

Clonezilla is an efficient, networkable, piece of software that can clone a single machine or up to forty machines simultaneously.

The ability to quickly and reliably image the machines in your company is as precious as gold. You never know when a piece of hardware will go down. And just as there are plenty of machines to image, there are as many tools to image them with. One tool is the open source Clonezilla, which is based on a number of other packages coming together to create an efficient, networkable, piece of software that can clone a single machine or up to forty machines simultaneously.

Specifications

  • Supported file systems:
    • ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux
    • FAT, NTFS of Microsoft Windows'
    • HFS+ of Mac OS
  • Two versions are available:
    • Clonezilla Live: Use a CD/DVD or USB to clone (single machine only)
    • Clonezilla SE: Uses a DRBI server to clone multiple machines
  • Additional vendor information
  • TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

Clonezilla is for any IT pro looking for a reliable, cost-effective tool to enable them to image and restore machines quickly and safely.

What problem does it solve?

Clonezilla not only makes the process of cloning systems easy, it also makes the process more flexible by allowing the user to clone to a local disk, USB-attached device, or networked share. And because Clonezilla is flexible enough to clone either a single machine or up to forty at once, it is a solution that can be used in just about any size environment.

Standout features

  • Free
  • Supports numerous file systems
  • LVM2 support
  • Multicast support
  • Easy to use curses-based interface

What's wrong?

The biggest problem most will encounter with Clonezilla is the interface. Most users aren't accustomed to the curses-based interface, so they might initially be unsure how to use the tool. The next issue is that differential and incremental backup is yet to be included. This is a feature that is planned, but as of now - no luck. And, as usual when dealing with open source software, there is little to no support.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you're looking for a solid, flexible, reliable disk imaging tool, and do not want to spend any of your precious IT budget, Clonezilla might be the perfect tool for you. No, it is not backed by a company that will be there to back you up when something goes wrong, but it is backed up by a huge open source community with plenty of knowledge and skill. This is a tool for anyone who needs solid backup, but isn't concerned about support.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Clonezilla? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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