Clone vs. Image vs. Data Backup

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Clone vs. Image vs. Data Backup

Postby bobsmith on Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:03 am

I have used Norton Ghost for years to create an image of my XP drive, and being new to Linux, I'm trying to find a decent Linux alternative. There was an excellent thread here on this subject in which someone commented thus:

"Disk cloning in Linux is woefully lacking. If you are used to using windows tools for cloning you will be appalled at how awful the linux alternatives are. I am not saying that they don't work, because they work perfectly well, it is just that each of them seems to have had its user interface designed by a chimpanzee on acid... "

I have looked at Partimage, Clonezilla, and PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost), and I find the comment above to be right on target. I decided to try slogging my way through Clonezilla, but just stumbled onto a program called "Quickstart". One of the options in that program is to create/restore a full TAR backup.

For reasons I'm not entirely clear on, one cannot just backup all the Windows directories, later restore them, and expect it to work. Special cloning or imaging software is required. But since a Linux system is entirely file-based, couldn't I just do a complete data backup of the root directory and all sub-folders, and later just copy them back and be exactly where I was when I started? In other words, Is there really a need for imaging software in Linux? Wouldn't a data backup accomplish the same thing... to allow one to recover from a hosed system and be up and running with a complete system in minutes instead of hours?

For Windows I have found Ghost to be very reliable and very easy to use... basically it just asks 1) what I want to image, 2) where I want to put it, and 3) what I want to name it. That's it. I can be pretty confident that it's doing what I think it's doing. Restoring is just as easy. So I'm just wondering if a data backup in Linux (vs. a clone or an image) will accomplish what I need to accomplish - to restore my Mint partition to its present state in the event of a disk or OS failure. So that's my question. Thanks.
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Re: Clone vs. Image vs. Data Backup

Postby DataMan on Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:38 am

<opinion> :)

Over the years, I have tried various backup applications. About 2 years ago, I settled on Partimage as my primary backup application. For me, backup and restore integrity needs to cover both the data portion of my requirements as well as the operational end of things (the ops). I strictly keep all of my data off of my ops partition. My weekly backup regimen includes an image of each of my actively used ops partitions ("/" & "/home"). I also image the partition(s) where I have undergone significant data changes in the last week.

The ops images are run immediately after I do the repository updates for the week. This is the only time that I do repository updates. Using this approach insures that if something gets "goofed" up because of repository updates, I can restore to last week's image (I keep 2 weeks worth of images) and get happy again.

While Partimage may not be the most glamorous of apps, for me the fact that it works more than offsets for it's lack of glitz and glamor.

If you are interested in more detail, I have a short paper published on my website in the Linux section called "Backup Strategy" which explains the above in more detail.
</opinion> :) :)

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