Batch clone PC system disks via multicasting, even remotely, with Clonezilla
Two types of Clonezilla are available, live and SE (server edition) and both are free. Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore, while Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment; it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the harddisk. This increases the clone efficiency. At the NCHC’s Classroom C, Clonezilla SE was used to clone 41 computers simultaneously. It took about 10 minutes to clone a 5.6 GBytes system image to all 41 computers via multicasting!
Features: Unattended mode is supported. Almost all steps can be done via commands and options. You can also use a lot of boot parameters to customize your own imaging and cloning * Multicast is supported in Clonezilla SE. You can also remotely use it to save or restore a bunch of computers if PXE and Wake-on-LAN are supported in your clients * The image file can be on local disk, ssh server, samba server, or NFS server * Based on Partclone (default), Partimage (optional), ntfsclone (optional), or dd to image or clone a partition. However, Clonezilla, containing some other programs, can save and restore not only partitions, but also a whole disk * By using another free software drbl-winroll, the hostname, group, and SID of cloned MS windows machines can be automatically changed.
Note, that the partition to be imaged or cloned has to be unmounted. Software RAID/fake RAID is not supported by default. Due to the image format limitation, the image can not be explored or mounted.
Clonezilla is not the easiest way to go; for an easier alternative check Macrium Reflect.