Disaster Recovery

Review: Clonezilla system imaging

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

Boot Screen

This is the last graphic you will see in Clonezilla. This is the boot screen for the Live version of the tool.

Choose language

Clonezilla supports multiple languages. In this screen you must choose which language you want to continue in.

Choose image

Which type of imaging do you want to do? Device-image takes your drive and makes and image of it to store. Device-device takes the images of your device and loads it onto another device - cloning if you will.

Target

From this screen you can decide how to store the image. In this example, I am saving the images on a Samba share.

Select mode

From this screen you select the mode you want to use Clonezilla for. You can create an image (or parts of an image), restore an image (or parts of an image), create a recovery disk, or exit.

Snapshot

This screen shows Clonezilla reporting what disk space is used. Here you see Clonezilla loaded on a VirtualBox virtual image (hence the small size).

Domain

Password

Session

IP Address

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.

24 comments
irprogrammer
irprogrammer

I use clonezilla exclusively for my imaging needs. The DRBL server does take a bit of research to get going, but once it's going, it's been very dependable for me. I have a 64 bit Ubuntu running DRBL on an HP Z400 workstation. I have a small standalone network in my lab with a Netgear switch and an Avocent 16 port KVM. I can do a batch of 16 at a time and then switch the uplink on my switch and connect to the live network join our domain and get updates if needed. My record using this method has been 208 machines in a single work week. I also put clonezilla on bootable usb drives and gave them to my field techs. They can have a user working again in about 30 minutes.

Sharyathi
Sharyathi

Hei Tools looks great, I remember working with another cloning tool - systemimager. One major problem I faced with using that tool was - 'support to ecryptfs'. Cloning encrypted partition used to fail. Interested to know how Clonezilla handls it

santeewelding
santeewelding

I like the curses-based interface. List curses, please.

seanferd
seanferd

I think you need to look at that one again.

seanferd
seanferd

curses pcurses pdcurses ncurses xcurses tinycurses Pick yer poison.

tightconcepts
tightconcepts

Ghost Solution Suite 2.5 Pro: many, very featureful Con: constantly have to refresh inventory, becuase it ties computers to their mac address and it can be easy to clone wrong computer. Also integrity can be a pain. say you want to delete a computer so you go to try and do so.. oops cant do becase it is part of a task... so you go to try to delete the task... oops cant do becuase it uses an image file. So you have to delete and add things in a very particular order.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I would probably only use it on test boxes or for very small deployments. The reality is that Acronis gives you far more robust features. With that being said, in this day and age there is no reason to use imaging, save for backing up, over unattended installs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

My only complaint is its default behavior of breaking larger images into 2 gig files. I can't figure out how to override it, but it doesn't bother me enough to research it.

StealthWiFi
StealthWiFi

I spent months trying to find a good tool about a year ago for images, and stumbled on CloneZilla. So far it has been great for us (small shop) I image all boxes onto a nice terra USB drive, it labels and dates to keep sorted. Restoring works well too, I have only had to restored 2x but both ocasions were smooth.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

I have also used Novell Imaging as well as Altiris. I find that as a rule of thumb, Acronis and Ghost worked well. The biggest issue I have seen is ease of use. In this area, I liked Acronis. Altiris offers the most potential especially regarding the ability to remotely image machines but the initial set up is a bear.

daniel3168
daniel3168

I use Symantac Ghost client the corporate version here at work to support our 400+ workstations works lovely when we have to retool the entire floor. But i think i will try clonezilla for work i do on the side looks like a handy app to have.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

They all look like overkill for the 250-system environment where I work. I may image six or eight systems a month; often less. Some of my systems will run four years or more without re-imaging. I've tried to wade through MS configuration instructions for unattended installs, but it just looks like too much of a pain in the can. I'm slogging through the WAIK for W7 and it looks like I have to do a complete reinstallation from scratch before I can capture an update of an existing image. Why build a server and load up a bunch of tools to do what I can do with a Bart-PE CD and Ghost?

Angel_Tech
Angel_Tech

We use Ghost.. and I use Ghostcast server to get/push the images.. to have only 1 big file and not files divided every 2GB.. use the switch '-split=0' and you will be fine.. some of my biggest images are around 7GB.. if you use the console, also include the switch. One thing I had to do was to reformat my external hard drive that would not take files over 4GB.. but that's another story.. Cheers :)

Jackmagurn
Jackmagurn

Hi, when you restore will it resize to accomodate a newer drive replacent?

lastchip
lastchip

Will it compress the file, similar to how Ghost does, or do you need an equivalent sized space to write to?

playyourcards
playyourcards

GHOST pros - ability to browse image, support cons - cost, boot/network driver problems CLONEZILLA pros - free, cd network boot works, speed cons - server not easy to config, can't browse image without mounting Jack, may i suggest putting a clonezilla server tutorial together? i could not get it to work for the life of me.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

If you have a lot of machines you need to maintain, it's easier to do unattended installs. With a few number of machines, it's easier to image. With that being said, the tool my company makes is far superior to SCCM when it comes to unattended install of operating systems (and even msi packaging). You only need to modify the unattend.xml once and then bam, you're on your way. The AIK build is just clicking next, which is nice. Not to mention that Acronis is built right in, so you can snapshot and go...woo! Anyway the point being not all unattended tools are equally evil. :-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've made occasional attempts to find this switch. I suspected it existed but was never able find it documented. Thanks again!

lastchip
lastchip

I'm looking to clone a RAID 5, which is why I was asking.

yakupm
yakupm

Without compression, the cloned image will only be as large as the used space of the disk being imaged. If you choose compression, the default compression works just fine. I use clonezilla for cloning simple disks and hardware raid volumes.

daniel3168
daniel3168

I have never had any issues with the boot/network drivers for ghost. We can boot from a USB drive or push the a image remotely from the server. I use sysprep to rename and join the pc to our domain automatically. I also like AI snapshot that comes with ghost to create unattended installs. I do admit though ghost can be a bit of a pain to setup if you are not to familiar with it.