The must-have tool to site for SCADA System Integrators
In the world of industrial automation, there are situations where System Integrators are required to backup the entire system and reinstall it back somewhere. Imagine if you can clone the entire hard disk, and just restore it to your destination drive identically. Forget about needing to install and setup everything again, that could make you save up plenty of time!
Clonezilla Live, it is a partition and disk imaging/cloning program for single machine. Basically it is a useful tool to perform disk backup and recovery. It is a bootable GNU/Linux distribution for both x86 or AMD64 based computers. One of the best things about Clonezilla is despite it is an open sourced tool, you can use it for any OS, regardless it is Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. There were tons of tutorials about Clonezilla on the internet, even the official source provided the most detailed steps. However, most of the times we only require something simple. This guide serves as the only guide you need to achieve your maintenance job at site whenever there’s hard disk backup required.
To use Clonezilla Live, first you need to prepare it in a bootable media such as CD/DVD or USB drive. That can be achieved by relevant free tools found online (e.g. Unetbootin, Tuxboot, LinuxLive USB Creator, etc.). Or, simply follow this quick guide to install the tool in a bootable USB device.
Clone the hard drive
Startup your machine, which will boot from the media you have chosen. The boot menu will be displayed as shown in screenshot below.
Proceed to choose your wanted resolution and setting. If you are unsure of what to choose, just go on with the default selection.
Follow the procedures and you will reach the screens to prompt you to choose your language and keyboard layout. Same advice, simply go on with the default selection to make things easier.
Choose Language – English
Keyboard Layout – Don’t touch keymap
Then, you will come across the screen to start Clonezilla Live. Choose ‘Start Clonezilla”.
For industrial automation scenarios, it is often more practical to clone the disk to an image. Thus, in this guide we shall proceed to select “device-image”.
Next is to select your destination to save the image. An USB drive or external hard disk is often the popular choice for SIs. Therefore, pick “local_dev” for saving in local device and proceed.
The detected local drives will be listed out. Note that the disks and drives’ naming are Linux based. Choose a drive from the list as repository to save your image.
Follow the procedures and choose to save the image in top directory of the selected drive. Then the disk space usage and details will be shown by Clonezilla.
You will be asked to select the mode to run cloning wizard. Choose “Beginner mode” will do.
After that, select on how you wish to save your image. In this case, we will be cloning the partition only. Select on “saveparts” to clone the partition to image, then enter a site & project relevant name for the image file when prompted.
Next, the procedures shall lead you to choose the source that you wished to clone / backup. Select the disk to be cloned and proceed with “Skip checking” when prompted.
You will also be prompted with more system and image checking options, as well as encryption. Proceed with your preferences.
There will be one last prompt for your confirmation to clone the disk. Hit on “Y” key when being asked to continue.
After that, the process will start, and you can notice the data block progress bar as the cloning is happening.
When the cloning is done and image saved, Clonezilla will prompt for action to run the same thing again, or you may select to power off or reboot the machine.
Restore the Image
Now that you have cloned the disk or partition of the server, and it is time to restore the image directory into the destination drive. The steps to achieve that is pretty similar to the disk image storing process.
Again, boot into the system from your media with Clonezilla. Then repeat the selections from Step 1 to 4 as mentioned above for cloning.
Note that for the detected local devices, in this case you will need to select the drive that your image directory resides.
Choose “Beginner mode” as usual, and then the list of job selection will be displayed. Now you can see that the restore options are listed, because you have selected the drive with image directory in previous step.
Go on and select on how you wish to restore your image. For example, to restore the partition, choose “restoreparts”.
Next, Clonezilla shall detect the image directory stored in the partition, proceed by selecting the image directory.
Then you will be asked to select the target partition to restore the image. List of detected partitions will be displayed, pick on whichever partition you wish to restore as destination.
Note: target partition should NOT be smaller than the image restore size!
Before the restore starts, there will be several confirmation prompts to notify you that all previous data located in the target partition will be overwritten. Proceed to restore if you are aware of this warning and have backed up everything inside the target drive (if any) to avoid any loss.
After the confirmation prompts, restore process will start.
Wait for the progress to finish, and Clonezilla shall prompt you to either power off, reboot or rerun the process.
Then it is done, your system is clones and restored to your desired destination. No endless configuration job required to get the system running as before!
It is no doubt there are tons of ways (paid or free) to backup and restore a hard drive or partition. There may still be engineers who manually backup every single data from the machine, and then re-installs the system and software, then finally re-configure them to achieve the previous functionalities. However, all these procedures may take up to days, depending on how huge the system is.
The fact is, tools like Clonezilla exists for quite some time, and it is free. It is able to perform the backup/restore job for you in such a short time and easy effort. So, days or hours, it is your choice.