Cloning is nothing but the copying of the contents of a server hard disk to a storage medium (another disk) or to an image file. Disk cloning is quite useful in modern data centers for:
- Full system backup.
- System recovery.
- Reboot and restore.
- Hard drive upgrade.
- Converting a physical server to virtual machine and more.
In this post, I am going to list the Free and Open Source Cloning Software for Disk Imaging and Cloning that you can use for GNU/Linux, *BSD and Mac OS X desktop operating systems.
1. Clonezilla – One Partition and disk cloning program to rule them all
Clonezilla is a partition and disk imaging/cloning program similar to True Image and Norton Ghost. I frequently use Clonezilla software to do system deployment, bare metal backup and recovery. Clonezilla live is good for single machine backup and restore at home. Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment in data center, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the harddisk. This increases the clone efficiency. It supports the following file systems
- ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux
- FAT, NTFS of MS Windows
- HFS+ of Mac OS
- UFS of BSD
- minix of Minix and VMFS of VMWare ESX.
2. Redo Backup – Easy to use GUI based backup, recovery and restore for new users
Redo Backup and Recovery is a bootable Linux CD image, with a GUI. It is capable of bare-metal backup and recovery of disk partitions. It can use external hard drives and network shares (NFS/CIFS) for storing images. Major feature includes:
- It can save and restore MS-Windows and Linux based servers/desktop systems.
- No installation needed; runs from a CD-ROM or a USB stick.
- Automatically finds local network shares.
- Access your files even if you can’t log in.
- >Recover deleted pictures, documents, and other files.
- Internet access with a full-featured browser to download drivers.
3. Fog – Perfect cloning solution for Microsoft shop
FOG is a Linux-based, free and open source computer imaging solution for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Linux (limited) that ties together a few open-source tools with a php-based web interface. FOG doesn’t use any boot disks, or CDs; everything is done via TFTP and PXE. Your PC boots via PXE and automatically downloads a small Linux client. From there you can select many activities on the PC, including imaging the hard drive. FOG supports multi-casting, meaning that you can image many PCs from the same stream. So it should be as fast whether you are imaging 1 PC or 40 PCs.
4. Mondo Rescue – Disaster recovery solution for enterprise users
Mondo is reliable disater recovery software. It backs up your GNU/Linux server/desktop to tape, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R[W], DVD+R[W], NFS or hard disk partition. Mondo is in use by Lockheed-Martin, Nortel Networks, Siemens, HP, IBM, NASA’s JPL, the US Dept of Agriculture, dozens of smaller companies, and tens of thousands of users world-wide. It supports LVM 1/2, RAID, ext2, ext3, ext4, JFS, XFS, ReiserFS, VFAT, and can support additional filesystems easily. It supports software raid as well as most hardware raid controllers.
5. dd and friends – The ol’ good *nix utilities
Warning: dd/ddrescue/dcfldd are power tools. You need to understand what it does, and you need to understand some things about the machines it does those things to, in order to use it safely.
The dd command converts and copies a file. You can clone a hard disk “sda” to “sdb”:
dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=1M conv=noerror
To clone one partition to another:
dd if=/dev/sdc3 of=/dev/sdd3 bs=4096 conv=noerror
For more info see:
- How to make disk image with dd on Linux or Unix
- Linux Copy One Hard Disk to Another Using dd Command
- Linux dd Command Show Progress Copy Bar With Status
dcfldd: A fork of dd
dcfldd is an enhanced version of GNU dd with features useful for forensics and security. Here is an example of cloning a hard disk “sda” and store to an image called “/nfs/sda-image-server2.dd”:
dcfldd if=/dev/sda hash=md5,sha256 hashwindow=10G md5log=md5.txt \
sha256log=sha256.txt hashconv=after bs=512 conv=noerror,sync \
split=10G splitformat=aa of=/nfs/sda-image-server2.dd
GNU ddrescue is a data recovery tool. It copies data from one file or block device (hard disc, cdrom, etc) to another, trying to rescue the good parts first in case of read errors.
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