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vikas027 08-26-2010 01:07 AM

Disk Imaging for Unix (Linux) Systems
Dear All,

I am new to imaging (or cloning) of Unix Disks.

I just wanted to know which Imaging Software is best to use in terms of easiness, reliability and some support (HowTOs, Forums, etc) .
I googled out and found these :-
1) Clonezilla
2) Partimage
3) Gparted

Based on your valuable suggestions, I will learn any of these on my test servers. And then, I will suggest it to be used in my organization.

scott_R 08-26-2010 01:36 AM

Depends on your needs. You can always dd your partition/disk and pipe it through tar and a compressor, if all you need is to archive it onto another medium for off-site storage/retrieval. rsync is another (more?) popular option, allowing incremental backups and some networking capability.

Those are probably the easiest and most well-documented options, but there are plenty of other options, mostly adding more features, such as integrated networking options (vpn and so on), "easy to use" GUIs, and various verification, duplication, and encryption schemes, and possibly boot/restoration capabilities.

Almost all of which can be done via command line, if you google a bit and don't mind reading a little. So it might be better not to think in terms of "best", but more in terms of what's most comfortable for you to the underlying actions are all pretty much the same, from a command-line perspective.

Oh, and perhaps I'm wrong, but gparted is more a partitioning program, not so much a backup solution for regular use. Also, it's important to keep in mind that there have been A LOT of disk imaging solutions for Linux, but most barely last a few years before they become unmaintained, so you're going to want something with a robust history and a strong community.

predrag 08-26-2010 01:52 AM

I can tell you from my experience that I have used Clonezilla extensively with various linux distros, as well as with various editions of Windows workstations, and it has always worked like a charm. That being said, it is text-based, but you will be guided through the process linearly, question by question, so if you don't mind reading the few questions asked carefully, i.e. what is your source drive, what is your target drive and such, it is a solid solution. I have used it to backup and restore to disks of equal size, as well as restore backed up disk images do larger drives (and adjust the partitions with gparted or similar later on). The only thing you cannot do is restore a disk image to the drive smaller than the original drive.

Apart from these one man band operations, it also allows you to setup a central server in your LAN which will hold the images for all your workstations (space providing), from which you can then restore, to which you can backup, and so on. It has some options which are even more advance, and a website which is rather friendly and useful, so you might take a look there.

vikas027 08-26-2010 11:59 AM

Thanks Predrag, I am trying out Clonezilla.

It needs DRBL (Diskless Remote Boot in Linux) to be configured but RHEL 5.4 is NOT supported by DRBL :(


[root@ser ~]# /opt/drbl/sbin/drblsrv -i
Hint! When a "yes or no" option is available, the default value is uppercase. E.g. (y/N) the default is "N", so when you press "Enter" without typing "Y or N" it will be as if you typed "N" and then "Enter". If you are not sure which option to choose just press "Enter" key.
Installing DRBL for RedHat/Fedora Linux...
This version is not supported: RH5.4
If you are sure this GNU/Linux distribution is compatible with those distributions which DRBL supports, you can try to use /opt/drbl/sbin/drblsrv-offline. For more details, check DRBL website or run "/opt/drbl/sbin/drblsrv-offline -h"
Press Ctrl-C to stop the program!!

Which distro were you using ? Any other idea ?

predrag 08-26-2010 12:30 PM

I used it with Ubuntu.

That is weird though, because the website states:

DRBL provides a diskless or systemless environment for client machines. It works on Debian, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS and SuSE. DRBL uses distributed hardware resources and makes it possible for clients to fully access local hardware

Perhaps if you contacted them directly?


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