This week I met with a good friend of mine and we were discussing a client of his that shall remain nameless and how they’ve managed to “deploy” 500 some PCs with Clonezilla. I’ve been working with windows deployment tools since 2010, and it still never ceases to blow my mind how many companies are either too intimidated or simply refuse to learn these tools. Anyway, it got me thinking about all of the very real and inherent limitations of this “poor man’s ghost”.
Top Eight reasons to NOT use Clonezilla…
8. Got Support? – Clonezilla is GNU software, so that “free” solution’s not such a value when the only support you can get is the kid in his mom’s basement who wrote the program. Good luck reaching him during his late night Warcraft binge.
7. No Driver Injection – When it comes to images, driver free’s the way to be. MDT will inject drivers at deploy time. This way, only the right drivers get installed on the right hardware. Good luck getting clonezilla to inject drivers at deploy time.
6. You want to use Linux? – Linux’s driver support of some makes and model is poor at best, With MDT you can use windows drivers, VBScripts, and powershell in your preboot environment. Since WinPE’s a stripped down version of the windows kernel with a real GUI, and all the driver support of windows your deployments will be a piece of cake.
5. Thick Images Waste Time – You want to rebuild an image every time a new version of Adobe or Java comes out? Be my guest… Because MDT automates image builds too, you can leverage powershell and VBscripts to automate the rebuild your images once a quarter, or once a month if you want. Since MDT lets you keep apps out of your images, you’re able to update the apps when you’re ready and you DON’T have to rebuild images to do so.
4. Sector Based Images Lack Hardware Independence – When you’re still building images in Ghost, you’re forcing yourself into building one image for every make and model. MDT’s wim format images are HAL independent, and if built correctly in a VM, will run on all makes and models.
3. No real Offline Servicing of Images– Microsoft’s imaging format is the legendary .wim file, which allows you to update images while offline. No other image format offers that.
2. No Central Control – Clonezilla lacks anything even close to rival MDT’s Deployment Workbench, where you can control and monitor your deployments from any system that can communicate with your deployment server.
1. No Automation – Lack of automation means lack of standardization. MDT will do more than just image a disk, it builds images, it captures images, it names systems, backs up and restores user data, it joins them to the domain, it updates them, it does A – Z. It’s an entire automation framework. All clonezilla can do is a clone a disk, no more than Ghost did in 1998.
Both MDT and Clonezilla are free, so there is no excuse to use a Ghost rip-off in favor of the industry accepted and (supported) best practice, MDT. Do yourself a favor and learn MDT, you’ll thank me later. Think I’m wrong? Prove it, leave comments below.