Clonezilla’s Multi-casts, Overcasts Norton Ghost

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Would you believe that at NCHC 41 computers cloned 5.6 GB simultaneously in 10 minutes? Multicasting or what? Clonezilla is a new age multicasting and unicasting solution from OpenSource Clone system for massive and large-scale cloning.


Cloning content is an essential process of computing where contents from one computer hard disk need to be transferred/imaged/cloned to another or multiple computer hard disks. Rebooting, restoring, new computer provisioning, hard disk upgrades, full system backup , system recovery and transfer to other users are some of the main areas/reasons where cloning is used.

Types of cloning tools presently available

Proprietary software for cloning includes Ghost by Norton, Bart by PE, Acronis while OpenSource options available include G4L, G4U, Gparted and there is Clonezilla. Typically, commercial software is limiting both in terms of costs as well as in terms of the number computers to which content can be cloned. One license, allows only one computer to be cloned. This is not only restrictive but duplication at very expensive rates.

Why use Clonezilla instead of Norton Ghost

Symantec, a leading name in paid software, offers it professional backup and recovery software for $70 minimum and supports key technologies from Cold imaging, Blu-ray Disc support, Windows 7 Bitlocker support. However, where it fails is boot network driver issues.

Clonezilla effectively uses DRBL, Partclone and udpcast for recovery and metal backup. A typical, GPL software, it is compatible with GNU/Linux, MS, Mac OS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD in -32-bit, x86; 64-bit, x86-64 OS. The best feature is that only used blocks in the partitions are saved, restored. Where the file system is unsupported the cloning is fast-track sector-to-sector through the dd.

With the Clonezilla, you can enable un-attend mode and like true blue blood open source allows you to customize imaging/cloning suing boot parameters extensively. Additionally, using their free software-drbl-winroll, the cloned windows machine details such as hostname, group, SID can be changed automatically.

Clonezilla, is available in two packages, Clonezilla Live & Clonezilla SE. Both are used for different types of usage. The clonezilla Live is CD/DVD, USB Flash for Unicast purposes only. The Clonezilla SE on the other hand is the server edition that is supported on DRBL. The SE is able to support across all structures-unicast, broadcast as well as multicast.

Limitations of Clonezilla presently

Clonezilla has a few limitations, which with time will be overcome by developers. Differential or incremental backup, online image tweaking/cloning is not possible yet as only in unmounted form is the cloning possible. RAID software can be enabled only manually and is not the default.

How Clonezilla makes Norton Ghost the past

Today OpenSource software, as it was intended to do, offers solutions that are highly productive but cost effective too. Clonezilla is a winner over other opensource as it offers bare metal backups as well as diskcloning. With a host of killer features, the future of diskcloning is Clonezilla and is way beyond Norton Ghost’s stalling, part-by-part cloning features. Besides, Acronis, is more powerful and seamless in comparison to Ghost!
Over and above the lower costs of clonezilla is its technical power to multicast, broadcast, unicast in a matter of minutes without restrictions, licensing etc. Ghost is truly a thing of past for disk cloning!

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