Project of the Month, January 2010

Clonezilla

Clonezilla is a partition or disk clone tool similar to Norton Ghost. It saves and restores only the used blocks in the hard drive. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (Server Edition). The filesystem supported by Clonezilla are: ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux, FAT, NTFS of MS Windows, and HFS+ of Mac OS. Therefore you can clone GNU/Linux, MS windows and Intel-based Mac OS whether they be 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x86-64) OS. For these file systems, only the used blocks in the partition are saved and restored. For unsupported file systems, a sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla.

Why and how did you get started?

On the 29th of March, 2003, the computers in the computer classrooms at the National Center for High-Performance Computing (NCHC, http://www.nchc.org.tw) were all upgraded. However, the deployment software did not support the new hardware. That’s why we started the Clonezilla project. In the beginning, we started the Clonezilla server edition first, then, in 2007, Clonezilla live was created.

Who is the software’s intended audience?

System administrators, that being, PC cluster administrators, computer classroom administrators, and of course anyone who needs a tool to clone or image his/her computer.

What are a couple of notable examples of how people are using your software?

* The National Computer Centre Wonen, Netherlands, used Clonezilla to, “clone a 3 GB image to 27 machines with an average speed was 2.4 GB/min.”

* Cisco Systems used DRBL, “…in the design of our Cisco Computational Cloud cluster to multicast a 5 GB disk image to 64 machines simultaneously.”

* Information Systems Security, Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA, said, “So far, I have cloned 1,084 systems using DRBL. By carefully following the instructions on the DRBL website, and using multicasting and dividing the number of systems into groups of 80-100 PCs at the time, it took me somewhere between 16-38 minutes for each group of PCs, using images of various operating systems that averaged 1 GB in size. DRBL has reduced the recovery/cloning factor by more than 500% as compared with the previous commercial solution [we were] using”

What are the system requirements for your software, and what do people need to know about getting it set up and running?

Clonezilla live comes with a GNU/Linux distribution for the machine you want to do the bare metal recovery on. It works on X86/X86-64 PCs, Intel-based Macs. If you want to use Clonezilla live, just download the Clonezilla live ISO image and burn it onto a CD. Alternatively, you can download the Clonezilla live zip file, extract all the files to a USB flash drive, and make it bootable. Then you can boot the machine you want to image or clone with the CD or USB flash drive. Just follow the menu instructions and you should be able to do this easily.

For Clonezilla SE, you need to have a Linux server, install the DRBL program, and then configure the environment. After all that is done, boot the client machines with PXE to save or restore the image.

What gave you an indication that your project was becoming successful?

The number of SourceForge downloads kept increasing.

What has been your biggest surprise?

A talk given by Kristian Erik Hermansen at the 2007 Ubuntu live conference entitled “Clonezilla: It’s Better Than Ghost!”

What has been your biggest challenge?

Meeting users’ requests.

Why do you think your project has been so well received?

As a result of the discussions on the forum, the number of downloads, and all the positive feedback we’ve received.

What advice would you give to a project that’s just starting out?

Release early, release often, and listen to your users.

Where do you see your project going?

Keep it open and free and support more file systems.

What’s on your project wish list?

Many things, actually:

1. Incorporate a Graphical User Interface (GUI) instead of the Terminal User Interface (TUI) we have now

2. Incorporate a multiple CD/DVD-spanning function

3. Support software RAID/fakeRAID

4. Support more file systems ( e.g. UFS, BTRFS, ZFS, etc.)

5. Support incremental/differential backup

What are you most proud of?

That Clonezilla is able to save people a lot of time performing massive deployments.

If you could change something about the project, what would it be?

Maybe a better project name? :)

How do you coordinate the project?

We give assignments to the developers to perform testing and answer the questions on the forums and mailing lists.

How many hours a month do you and/or your team devote to the project?

Developers in this team devote about 50 hours a month per developer to the project.

What is your development environment like?

GNU/Linux desktops and servers, virtual machines (e.g. Virtualbox and VMware), Vim, ssh, VNC, shell scripts, and Perl.

Milestones:

Version / Date Milestone
January 2004 First Clonezilla SE released
March 2007 Clonezilla live debuted
3Q/2010 UFS support planned
4Q/2010 Clonezilla live GUI planned

How can others contribute?

Use it and report any bugs or problems. If any of our users have experience with file systems ( e.g. ZFS), please contact us in the forum or via the mailing list.


More projects of the month

Project name: Clonezilla

Date founded: July 2004

Project page: https://sourceforge.net/projects/clonezilla/

Project Leader


Steven Shiau

Steven Shiau

Occupation: Researcher at the NCHC, Taiwan

Location: Hsinchu, Taiwan

Education: M. S. (Nuclear Engineering), National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

Key Developers


Blake, Kuo-Lien Huang

Blake, Kuo-Lien Huang

Occupation:Open source hobbyist

Education:M. S.

Location: Hsinchu, Taiwan


Chenkai (Ceasar) Sun

Chenkai (Ceasar) Sun

Occupation:Associate Researcher at the NCHC, Taiwan

Education:M. S. (Department of Management Information System) National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Location: Hsinchu, Taiwan


Yao-Tsung (Jazz) Wang

Yao-Tsung (Jazz) Wang

Occupation: Associate Researcher at the NCHC, Taiwan

Education:M. S. (Department of Electrical and Control Engineering), National Chiao-Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

Location: Taichung, Taiwan


Yu-Chin (Thomas) Tsai

Yu-Chin (Thomas) Tsai

Occupation:Assistant Researcher at the NCHC, Taiwan

Education: M. S. (Department of Library and Information Science),
Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan

Location: Hsinchu, Taiwan


Jean-Francois Nifenecker

Jean-Francois Nifenecker

Occupation:IT tech at the French Customs HQ in Bordeaux (France)

Education: University
Location: Bordeaux (France)

Why did you place the project on SourceForge.net?

SourceForge.net is the No. 1 site for Open Source. free software. It also provides a lot of functions that we need. By doing so, we can focus on the software development instead of on hosting services.

How has SourceForge.net helped your project succeed?

SourceForge.net provides the best and most complete service to host a free software project. With SourceForge, it’s very easy for us to release files, discuss issues with users, and get feedback. Without SourceForge, I believe that our project would not have been nearly the success that it is.

What is the number one benefit of using SourceForge.net?

The download service having many mirrors around the world.