Clonezilla Live vs. Clonezilla Server (DRBL)

In this article I will try to explain the differences between Clonezilla Live and Clonezilla Server (DRBL). There are two versions of Clonezilla: Clonezilla Live, which runs from a liveCD and Clonezilla Server version. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, it all depends on what you need it for. If some of you don’t already know, Clonezilla is a disaster recovery backup software designed to clone or backup entire drives. It is the Open Source equivalent of Norton Ghost. It can backup hard disks regardless of the data or operating system contained in them. It is one of the most useful tools for the IT professional, and it is free.

Clonezilla Live

Clonezilla Live, as it name indicates, runs from a liveCD. It is ideal for home and small business in situations where you have very few computers to backup. It is great for a quick backup job. One advantage of Clonezilla live is that you do not have to dedicate a computer on your network to run it.  Portability is also an advantage, since images are usually stored on an external USB Hard Drive. Clonezilla Live however, not only backs up to USB external drives but also to shared network drives as well.

Important Note For Clonezilla Live:

What file system to choose for your destination drive?: The general answer will be EXT3 or Ext4 (Linux filesysem). However if all depends on what you need and what you have available at the moment. If you want Windows to be able to read the contents of the drive because you want to store other files in there as well, your best bet is to use fat32 as long as your images are small. Fat32, however, has a big limitation: you cannot format a volume larger than 32 GB in size using the FAT32 file system. If you decide to use Fat32, do not format as you usually do using Windows Explorer, you must use the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, otherwise Clonezilla won’t see the drive. However, if you can spare a dedicated drive just for Clonezilla or Linux in general, use EXT3 or Ext4.  If you have trouble formatting a USB external drive or if this drive is detected intermittently, read the section “Problematic Drives” on my article: How to Format a USB External Hard Drive for Linux

Clonezilla Server (DRBL)

Clonezilla server is ideal when you have several computers of the same kind to be cloned. You can install Clonezilla on a computer running Linux and connect it to your network. Clonezilla server will run a DHCP server so that every time you boot a computer from network, using PXE, you boot to Clonezilla just as if you were booting from an operating system installed on your computer or from a liveCD. With it you can backup your computer to the server, and then have the image available there for all other computers you need to clone. It also saves you time since you have your images available to you all the time in a central location anywhere on your network. One computer on your network went down? just boot it from network, select your image, and it will be ready in a few minutes; you did not even have to move the computer.

Clonezilla, however, has a lengthy installation and you can get overwhelmed if you do not know what you are doing. I have written a tutorial which take you by the hand step by step. Read it, don’t get scared by its length, it is actually a walkthrough so it makes the Clonezilla Server installation process very easy.


  1., 22. July 2011, 4:50

    HI ALLS,
    I am software engineer in the GMI, now we want to clone the operating system to other server. And we want to let it have set up BIOS, image CMOS, test memory, test hardware equipment and so on. If you know about the infomation, please look forward to E-mail to me. Thank you for your kind.

  2. Nathan, 5. May 2011, 7:38

    Clonezilla is a great product. I use norton ghost and clonezilla and use pxelinux to network boot them. I installed tftp-hpa on my linux box and point dhcp.conf to pxelinux.0. The advantage of clonezilla over norton ghost in a PXE menu is that clonezilla allows you to specify your auto-run-switches in the menu itself, whereas ghost requires to write a batch file and integrate the batch file into your bootable image. This makes it very easy to change the pxelinux menu via ssh or terminal remotely, whereas changing a ghost image would require downloading the image file, mounting it, updating the batch file, unmount and save, upload file again.

    With clonezilla I use the oscpre_run to map a samba share and then pull down an image automatically. Very handy, easy to setup, and best of all free.

  3. Sam Kear, 25. February 2011, 22:35

    I’ll have to give Clonezilla a try. I’ve used Norton Ghost quite a bit in the past but it has some limitations that can be annoying. Thanks for the detailed install guide.


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