I think, there is a general misconception in the idea how broad the spectrum of Clonezilla is. Clonezilla, if used as a backup mechanism, is there to perfectly restore a system, just as it was before. It does this and it does this very well. That’s it.
It’s not meant to upgrade to new systems or have sophisticated branched backup strategies, to do advanced backup cloning operations. This is out of scope and if possible, probably hard to achieve. However, I wouldn’t recommend to do that in general, because it’s trying to punch in nails with a crowbar, instead of putting your hand into the toolbox again, to take out a hammer.
I’m also not sure, why seemingly everyone almost narrow-mindedly stiffens up on the idea of using Clonezilla as a backup tool for everything.
To make the basics clear regarding Clonezilla:
Clonezilla clones disks. The side-effect of doing that, is that this can be used to perfectly back up disks with Linux installation on them. That’s it. It’s nothing more. Nothing less. Clonezilla is not a backup solution per sé. It’s a cloning solution and cloning is one of many different backup strategies.
Probably, one of the major reasons why people use it all the time, is because it’s the easiest to understand. The only backup strategy that is even easier than cloning is using
rsync without special options.
All other backup solutions are slightly harder to grasp and have sometimes sophisticated tactics evolved, to optimise the backup process.
Speaking of optimisation, cloning an entire disk for backup purposes is EXTREMELY inefficient. It is seriously extremely inefficient. It can’t get worse than that. With an entire disk clone, you back up EVERYTHING. Even the most unimportant and ephemeral stuff you can imagine on a computer. You literally even back up your trash bin. Just saying.
So, if you have anything of real importance to back up, it is almost always worth to look into optimised backup solutions, especially if you are not a company which can afford buying 100 HDDs just for backup purposes. It is worth the effort, even if it is slightly more difficult to understand than just a plain cloning solution, which copies an entire disk or partition, bit by bit.
I already mentioned a couple of times the solution I am using on this forum, hoping people would start using an actual backup solution. In this case it even covers almost every option/request a user might have, except the bit by bit thing a cloning solution offers.
However, people continue to use Clonezilla, as it seems, as a primary backup solution and this thread also underlines the fact that Clonezilla is viewed as some kind of ultimate solution to having your system backed up properly. But it’s not. Cloning a system is like the second or third additional backup option you should most likely use. The first one should be an optimised, organised and reliable true backup solution.
The ironic thing about Clonezilla backups is, that it’s extremely reliable, as long as you are restoring to the same system. However, if you are restoring to a modified system, with a different disk and/or boot setup, the Clonezilla backup suddenly loses most of its worth.
If one would use a classic solution, starting with
rsync or something more sophisiticated, like the aforementioned solution I am personally using everywhere, then all cases would be covered, except the bit by bit cloning one. However, in most cases the bit by bit cloning backup solution is not needed. It is convenient, if you break your Linux every week. That’s true. But in most real world backup restoration scenarios, there is rarely a case where you actually need an entire disk backup, which backed up everything; even your trash bin.
And if backing up the boot sector on a disk is of such importance, that people use Clonezilla for it – don’t. Just back up the sector, the
/boot and the
esp partitions itself. This way, you have the whole Linux boot setup backed up, without having hundreds of Gigabytes wasted for useless operatings system bloat.