Clone That Drive!

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Baylink
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Clone That Drive!

Post by Baylink » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:54 pm

Just a thought, for those charged with maintaining computer-based production equipment who aren't, y'know, computer guys...

As much as Broadcast Engineering thinks that having lots of knowledge of broadcast engineering absolves you of the need to know all that much about data networking engineering (that they can't teach you in a 2 or 3 part series concluding next month :-), you probably already know better, and one of the more useful things you may not have already tripped over in your quest to work on and maintain your systems is one of the favorite tools in my toolbox: drive cloning software.

Specifically: if you have production-critical computers in your facility, and you don't have *images of their hard drives* backed up on something from which you can burn a new drive and stick it in when something crashes, you're missing a bet.

My personal favorite tool for this work is a Linux-based bootable CD called Clonezilla Live.

Clonezilla, sometimes found in companion with Gparted in the same bootable "live image", is a collection of programs which knows how to back up either specific partitions, or entire drives, either to an image file/directory on a server or mounted local disk somewhere (such as a USB drive), or to a second physical disk, for in-place cloning.

Even if your computer ecosystem is too diverse to allow you to take advantage of tools like Microsoft's sysprep (which lets you build one image for all your machines, and then install it separately on each with its own license key), with a tool like Clonezilla (or it's commercial competitors such as Ghost), you can do the bare metal install and OS upgrades, clone, install your apps, clone again, and then clone every so often during regular operations... and have a collection of fallback images stored on a central server to go to if something breaks, which can sharply reduce your MTTR.

http://www.clonezilla.org

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clonezilla

(And for people with slightly more advanced IT skills, a few more of the tools in my kit:

System Rescue CD, The Ultimate Boot CD, the *Windows* Ultimate Boot CD, Knoppix 5 and 6, and, if you happen to need a PBX on short notice, FreePBX 1.7. Most of those are download and go, though WinUBCD, for licensing reasons, requires you to set up a toolchain and build it locally, from your licensed install CD of Windows XP. Still worth it.

The actual "kit" is one of those CD holder paddles that you hitch to your sunvisor with elastic straps; I find they fit in my briefcase quite nicely for this.)

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Deep Thought
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Deep Thought » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:03 am

I don't think I've read BE for years, since there is rarely anything radio-related in it anymore. I'll assume you're talking about TV since everyone I know who does radio in a digital audio networked server environment certainly is a "computer guy" as well as being a radio guru...
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bogointeractive
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by bogointeractive » Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:54 pm

I have found something else on http://download.com that is a little better than CloneZilla. It is a windows based program that will restart into the "DOS" mode and do the copying much like SuperDuper does for the mac. It makes a USB drive a clear clone and bootable. Also makes it to where you can do partitioning on the fly. It is pretty slick for free.

Baylink
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Baylink » Thu May 17, 2012 8:10 am

Alas, you didn't tell us what it's *called*, and your link goes to Download's home page.

(And, FWIW, Download.com has developed a disturbing habit of breaking into people's distribution packages to include their own Adware; quite a number of projects have stopped using them because of this -- because it breaks the end user's ability to verify the package by MD5sum to make sure it wasn't trojaned along the way off the developer/packager's computer.)

Tim Burke
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Tim Burke » Fri May 18, 2012 2:29 pm

I'm a big fan of SystemRescueCD myself, does just about everything I'd need it to do, including drive cloning.

Baylink
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Baylink » Sun May 20, 2012 12:27 pm

Me too, though in fact I hadn't noticed it did cloning; I'll look at it a bit more closely when I upgrade next.

Tim Burke
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Tim Burke » Sun May 20, 2012 3:21 pm

Every Linux live cd out there can do a drive clone. Just run fdisk -l to determine the drive letters, and use the following command to perform the clone:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb

With sda being the current drive, and sdb being the new drive.

Baylink
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Baylink » Sun May 20, 2012 7:50 pm

You haven't actually looked at Clonezilla, have you, Tim? :-)

There's a *lot* of filesystem-specific stuff that you need to do in certain circumstances, that a DD won't do. Clonezilla has most of that stuff built in, for several categories of filesystems, and is -- for example -- the primary reason I won't use ext4 on Linux in production at the moment: cause CZ doesn't know how to deal with it.

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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Tim Burke » Mon May 21, 2012 9:13 pm

I've looked at it, never really had much of a need to use it though. Just about everything I work with can be done with dd.

bogointeractive
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by bogointeractive » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:18 pm

Clonezilla is wonderful. I use that every weekend to backup my drives. Yah I have to take my audio server offline for an hour or so but during the overnight is easy stuff.

Baylink
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Baylink » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:12 pm

A quick late update here. Of late, I've started shoving every maintenance CD/DVD I can onto a thumbdrive with YUMI. And therein, as you might guess, lies a story.

YUMI uses syslinux for dos to make the drive bootable, and as it turns out, syslinux occasionally *does not like the factory created partition on your thumbdrive*.

So, if you ever follow that link, and decide to play with YUMI to allow you to carry around 25 boot disks on your key ring, note that if it says "Syslinux error 1" while trying to make the drive bootable -- right at the beginning of the first run (it is not, as it happens, it's a stop 0xc0000005) -- the reason is cause your partition is broken. Assuming the thumbdrive is new and empty, just delete the partition from the table and recreate it.

If it had a sector start offset, recreate that too; flash memory is wear leveled, and partition alignment helps a *lot*.

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Bill DeFelice
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Re: Clone That Drive!

Post by Bill DeFelice » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:42 pm

As I've been converting 360 Systems Shortcuts and Instant Replays to solid state hard drives I've been using G4U (i.e., ghost for unix) to transfer data from the old internal hard drive to the replacement SSD.

As long as you have a mobo with the correct drive interfaces you can copy between one to another.

http://www.feyrer.de/g4u/
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