Image Format

Version 3 (Nikos Skalkotos, 10/21/2011 12:51 pm)

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h1. Image Format
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Right now we support 2 image formats: extdump and ntfsdump. Those formats are raw copies (using dd) of partitions hosting ext{2,3,4} and ntfs filesystems respectively.
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Partitions hosting a windows or linux system that are suitable for dumping should have the following properties:
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* Be the first partition in the filesystem
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* Start at sector 2048
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* Have a bootloader installed in the partition
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h2. Known Issues
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* For linux systems, having grub installed in the partition is fragile and things can go wrong when resizing the partitions, especially when shrinking.
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* Swap space is not supported.
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* More complicated partition schemes are not supported.
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* We only support linux and windows images
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h2. Future Work
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We are considering changing the {ext,ntfs}dump format in order to overcome the known issues.
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* Extend extdump to contain the first 2048 sectors.
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  +) Overcame the grub problem
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  +) Easy to deploy, with only few changes
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  -) The extdump image won't be directly mountable any more. We will have to use the device mapper before mounting the image.
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* Ιnclude an additional file that has rules on how the image should be deployed.
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  +) Support more complicated partition schemes.
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  +) Customize settings like the number of users accounts their password will change.
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  -) This can dramatically increase the complexity of the image format.
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  -) This can dramatically increase the complexity of the bundling tool.
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* Use a diskdump format (a raw disk copy)
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  +) Run different OS's