What Is CrucibleWDS?
CrucibleWDS is a free open source solution for computer cloning / imaging. It most closely resembles an alternative for Symantec Ghost Solution Suite™ or Acronis Snap Deploy™. It supports imaging Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Linux. CrucibleWDS is not the first of its kind, but what separates it from the rest, is it’s simplicity. It is also the only open source imaging solution that can be installed on both Windows and Linux. It supports Unicast and Multicast technologies.
- MBR and GPT
- NTFS, ext2, ext3,ext4
- Cloning to smaller drives
- Automatic host renaming
- Simple Web Interface
- Completely automated imaging
- Custom scripting
- Can be installed on Windows or Linux
Is It For Me?
CrucibleWDS was created to be used primarily in schools or small businesses. It can be used to image 1000’s of computers (probably not all at once). It should be used with an existing infrastructure. Meaning, a network with managed routers / switches, DHCP server, etc. CrucibleWDS is intended to be installed on a server that is always running to ensure imaging is readily available.
How Does It Work?
CrucibleWDS is a managed solution consisting of two parts. A server side component and a client side component. The server side is installed on Windows or Linux and the UI can be accessed from any web capable device within your network. The client side uses Linux. Since the process is automated, no previous Linux experience is required, although it may be helpful. Imaging is achieved through your network with the use of PXE booting and WOL. To achieve the best results all of your clients are added to a database, then you simply search for the computer you wish to deploy and start the task. The client will automatically turn on and begin to image. Imaging can be accomplished without ever being present at the physical machine’s location.
What it is NOT.
- CrucibleWDS is NOT a backup solution and should never be used as such. It is only intended to provide imaging capabilities for generic images that do not contain irreplaceable data.
- CrucibleWDS is NOT an unattended installation of Windows. CrucibleWDS is a cloning program. It creates an image of an existing machine that can then be deployed to other machines. Yes, it could be thought of as unattended because it is totally automated, but there is a difference.