Image Format

Version 2 (Nikos Skalkotos, 10/21/2011 12:29 pm) → Version 3/39 (Nikos Skalkotos, 10/21/2011 12:51 pm)

h1. Image Format

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.

Partitions hosting a windows or linux system that are suitable for dumping should have the following properties:
* Be the first partition in the filesystem
* Start at sector 2048
* Have a bootloader installed in the partition

h2. Known Issues

* For linux systems, having grub installed in the partition is fragile and things can go wrong when resizing the partitions, especially when shrinking.
* Swap space is not supported.
* More complicated partition schemes are not supported.
* We only support linux and windows images

h2. Future Work

We are considering changing the {ext,ntfs}dump format in order to overcome the known issues.

* Extend To overcame the grub problem, the initial thought was to extend extdump to contain the first 2048 sectors.
+) Overcame the grub problem
+) Easy to deploy, with only few changes
-) The extdump image won't be directly mountable any more. We will have to use the device mapper before mounting the image.

* Ιnclude To support more complicated partition schemes, we could include an additional file that has rules on how the image should be deployed.
+) Support more complicated partition schemes.
+) Customize settings like the number of users accounts their password will change.
-) This can dramatically increase the complexity of the image format.
-) This can dramatically increase the complexity of the bundling tool.
* Use a diskdump format (a raw disk copy)
+) Run different OS's