From time to time you have probably run into situations when you have unfortunately lost your data or simply needed to set up copies of operating systems on various systems with additional software. While disk-cloning utilities shouldn’t really be considered as backup utilities, they undoubtedly can be used for that purpose too. But the real beauty and niche purpose of disk-cloning tools comes from the ease of mass disk-cloning. Today we’ll briefly review Clonezilla.
In case you have been living under a rock, Symantec's Norton Ghost is the most popular and widely recognized commercial disk-cloning and backup software suite in the marketplace. Now there are various editions of the commercial Ghost tool, some dedicated for enterprise usage, others for home use only. Regardless of the version, however, they cost a fair chunk of cash. Yes, they are expensive.
However, let's not be misunderstood here. We don't want to hint that Ghost, or any other commercial disk-cloning utility for that matter, isn't worth its price. They certainly are. The purpose of this article is to expand your horizons by presenting a nifty free utility that is based on a variety of also open-source tools such as DRBL, Partimage, ntfsclone, udpcast, drbl-winroll, dd command, and so forth.
Clonezilla is a fine mix, or we may call it a synergy, of numerous free *NIX utilities, making it one of the most powerful open-source clone system solutions. It works on the basis of backing up and restoring only used blocks, so unnecessary empty blocks are ignored. It sports multicasting, meaning that dozens of computers can be cloned simultaneously, increasing the overall efficiency of this task.
There are two editions of Clonezilla: Clonezilla Live and Clonezilla Server Edition. We are going to present each of them in the upcoming pages. But in a nutshell, the former is suitable for single system cloning (backing up and restoring), while the latter is dedicated to massive cloning (simultaneous deployment on various computers). Based on DRBL, it's so efficient thanks to multitasking that on 41 computers, 5.6 GB of data was deployed in under 10 minutes. Now that's what we call speedy.