May 26, 2018

Program to clone harddisks/partitions over a fast switched network

[ excerpt taken from distfile’s README ]

Dolly is used to clone the installation of one machine to possibly many other machines. It can distribute image-files even gnu-zipped, partitions or whole hard disk drives to other partitions or hard disk drives. As it forms a “virtual TCP ring” to distribute data, it works best with fast switched networks we were able to clone a 2 GB Windows NT partition to 15 machines in our cluster over Gigabit Ethernet in less than 4 minutes.

As dolly clones whole partitions block-wise it works for most filesystems. We used it to clone partitions of the following type Linux, Windows NT, Oberon, Solaris most of our machines have multi boot setups. We have a small additional Linux installation on all of our machines or use a small one-floppy-disk-linux e.g. muLinux to do the cloning. On newer machines we use PXE to boot a small system in a RAM disk. From that system we then clone the hard disks in the machines.

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