Tuesday, March 30 2010 @ 11:13 AM CEST
Contributed by: Wouter Van Meir
Clonezilla is open source backup+restore (cloning) software for making partition or whole disk backups. It only backs up the used parts of the partition for known filesystems and compresses the backups afterwards, thus creating small backups. For a list of supported filesystems see http://www.clonezilla.org/
There is Clonezilla Live and Clonezilla SE (Server Edition). Clonezilla SE acts as a backup+restore server for client pc's, but I haven't used this (yet).
Clonezilla Live is a FOSS debian/ubuntu based liveCD Linux distribution containing a text based menu powered by scripts which in turn use different FOSS cloning and archiving tools. Before every action it takes it prints the command to do this, so you can learn the used tools yourself.
It has 2 modes:
1) backup/restore partition/whole disk to/from image mode
2) clone partition/disk mode
There's also a command line mode, useful for doing advanced stuff not done by the included scripts.
In the first mode the image can be on a local disk, an external USB stick/disk, an ssh network share, a samba network share or an nfs network share. I used clonezilla-live-20100318-karmic.iso to back up 2 ntfs partitions (Windows 7) and 1 ext4 partition (Kubuntu 9.10).
The backup of a 100mb ntfs partition containing 25mb data was 9,6mb.
The backup of a 100gb ntfs partition containing 20gb data was 9gb.
The backup of a 19gb ext4 partition containing 3,7gb data was 1,7gb.
I changed some stuff on these partitions and than restored from these backups and everything was A-OK again!
In the 2nd mode you can clone a partition or disk to another local one, or over network to another PC running Clonezilla Live.
I used this to clone a root Linux filesystem to another PC. The source partition was 10gb and the target was 15gb. After cloning the target ext4 fs could only contain 10gb like in the original one, but I fixed this by resizing the partition to a smaller size and back again using KDE Partition Manager (You're probably screwed if this gets interrupted, e.g. by power outage). After this the restore still worked flawlessly and still had it's original UUID, so no changes to /etc/fstab or the grub2 config needed. I did need to make changes to these configurations because I used another home and swap partition. You may also need to make changes if you have device names in your config files instead of partition UUID or LABEL. I used a Kubuntu 9.10 liveCD for changing the configuration and to run KDE Partition Manager, this might have been possible from the Clonezilla liveCD too using the command line mode (using a command line partitioning tool).
I did encounter a few small bugs in the menu's (and reported them), but backing up and restoring went flawlessly.