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I am attempting to create my own one-off imaging utility based on fedora and I have one main question. The utility (well, in theory) will save a raw image of the machine to a network storage location. For me the best target is a samba share.

The question is: what type of image container would be easiest to use? Could it be as simple as DDing the drive contents into a file on the samba location? And if so, would writing from that file be as simple as DDing the file on the samba target to the new machine's hard drive?

This is my first attempt at a project like this and I don't want to get snagged by something simple going wrong.

Just for now, all I want the live disk to do is load, mount the share, and give two options... copy a raw image from the local disk to a image on the share or load an image from the share to the local disk.

If there's already a tool to do this basic task, keeping it simple, please let me know. I've looked at all the big name cloaning utilities and I need this for one-off imaging (i'm currently using FOG which is great for an entire lab, but not as nice for one-time images).

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2 Answers

This seems like a lot of work for a very specialized setup. May I recommend Acronis Backup & Recovery 10.

This not only takes care of the imaging, but it also takes care of making sure that the binary image will be applied to the correct partition geometry. For example you can image a 40GB disk and you can restore it to a 20GB SSD or a 120GB drive and the image will consume the entire space available.

By the time you finish making a frontend and remastering an distribution to perform the imaging process, your cheaper and faster to just buy a product like Ghost, Acronis, or Clonezilla.

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I don't mind the work a, but thanks for the input. I will keep partition geometry in mind. My goal is to create something that's too simple to screw up (easier said then done, right?). Also, a paid solution isn't really an option at the moment. –  Ormis Nov 11 '10 at 15:53
    
If your objection is to a commercial product, Clonezilla is free (GPL). –  Greg Buehler Nov 11 '10 at 20:38
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Partimage ( http://www.partimage.org/Main_Page ) works very well if you're dealing with partition-level backups rather than full disk imaging. Although, it's not prohibitively difficult to wrap a little scripting around it to backup and recreate partion tables as well, for the whole-disk scenario.

From their site:

"Partimage is opensource disk backup software. It saves partitions having a supported filesystem on a sector basis to an image file. Although it runs under Linux, Windows and most Linux filesystems are supported. The image file can be compressed to save disk space and transfer time and can be split into multiple files to be copied to CDs or DVDs.

Partitions can be saved across the network using the partimage network support, or using Samba / NFS (Network File Systems). This provides the ability to perform an hard disk partition recovery after a disk crash. "

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I'll definitely make use of partimage. –  Ormis Nov 11 '10 at 15:50
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