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Cloning: Basic Ideas

Everybody knows the drudgery involved in manually setting up and rolling out new PCs, updating existing PCs, and recovering failed PCs. CloneSys makes a big dent in the time required to conduct these jobs. It first creates an exact image of a PC's hard drive, effectively taking a "snapshot" of all the files -- hidden, visible, and active -- that make up the operating system, applications, and configuration settings. The image can then be copied to any number of PCs, thereby creating completely identical installations. Moreover, it can be copied to many PCs simultaneously. This process it completely operating system independent which makes the system very easy and fast. As the raw disk data is copied, no file system initialization is needed, even the partitioning is implicitly done with a total clone. To support multi-boot environments the installation of single partitions is supported as well.

To keep the system even easier as other commercially available tools we based it on freely available UNIX tools and Linux. For an initial boot of an uninstalled machine we use muLinux gif which is a minimalistic, but mostly complete, script- based Linux distribution that fits on a single 1722k floppy disk. It includes many basic system functions, such as Ethernet support, NFS, Samba, FTP, DHCP etc which is all we need. Further we install a small Linux distribution permanently on the harddisk which lets us update the cluster very fast by simply booting this Linux on all machines and remotely executing our cloning scripts.

Locking mechanisms on partitions allow to install special setups on a part of the cluster preventing the image to be overwritten by other the clone or restore procedure.


next up previous
Next: Initial Multi-Boot Installation Up: CloneSys Documentation Previous: Introduction

Christian Kurmann
Wed Dec 22 11:02:02 CET 1999