Clone Linux, Windows disks with Clonezilla
Most users know about proprietary software packages such as Norton Ghost that can be used for cloning hard disks for backup or distribution purposes. And a few may know about Partition Image, an open source alternative for saving partition images. But how many users know about Clonezilla, an all-in-one cloning tool that promises both speed and power?
Clonezilla is free and you can download one of two editions: Clonezilla Live which is best for single machine backup and restore, and Clonezilla Server Edition which is designed for large scale backup and cloning and can clone as many as 40 computers simultaneously.
Clonezilla supports ext2, ext3, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux, and FAT, NTFS of MS Windows filesystems. For these file systems, only used blocks in partition are saved and restored. For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla.
One of the challenges that often faces users needing to clone disk drives to multiple machines is the time it takes to do this. One way around this is to use multicasting and Clonezilla does both unicasting and multicasting. Multicast is only supported in Clonezilla Server Edition.
Getting Clonezilla up and running is painless. Getting it to do what you want it to do is a little more of a challenge ( but reasonably well documented here). The Clonezilla Live download is just 90MB in size and can be burned to a CD for booting or a USB stick.
If you’re not ready to clone multiple disks and just want a simple backup tool for Linux then have a look at BackerUpper which we wrote about last week.