Best Practice for Backing Up, Restoring, and Replicating NI Real-Time Hypervisor Systems

Publish Date: Sep 16, 2016 | 1 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print


Backing up or imaging an NI Real-Time Hypervisor system is more difficult than with a traditional system without a hypervisor. Not only does data need to be backed-up or restored, but the drive master boot record (MBR) and partition tables must be transferred as well. This tutorial explains how you can use existing high level tools to perform these tasks and greatly reduce your installation time vs. manually setting up a Real-Time Hypervisor system.

Table of Contents

  1. Prerequisites
  2. Important Warnings
  3. Using the Clonezilla Tool to Create and Restore Images of Real-Time Hypervisor Systems
  4. Additional Resources

1. Prerequisites

Note that replicating a hypervisor system is only possible when the system hard drive sizes of the source and destination controllers are identical. 

You must also purchase all needed software licenses for each system that will be imaged. For systems with the NI Real-Time Hypervisor installed, this includes a Real-Time Hypervisor Deployment License, LabVIEW Real-Time Deployment License, licenses for any other NI software used, and licenses for all 3rd party software used including Microsoft Windows. Depending on the PXI or industrial controllers that you are imaging, some of these software licenses may be included with the hardware purchase. You are responsible for making sure that all software is properly licensed on each system that you image.

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2. Important Warnings

Imaging a controller hard drive is an inherently risky operation; all existing data on a hard drive can be erased during the image restore process, and data can also be lost if an image file is corrupted. You should back up all critical files individually before performing any imaging operations. 

This tutorial explains how to use 3rd party tools to back-up, restore, and replicate systems with the NI Real-Time Hypervisor installed. Use these tools at your own risk; they are neither manufactured nor supported by National Instruments. National Instruments is not responsible for any data loss or corruption caused by 3rd party imaging tools. Make sure that you carefully read the vendor's instructions for a given imaging tool, and double-check all steps (including those in this tutorial) before proceeding.

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3. Using the Clonezilla Tool to Create and Restore Images of Real-Time Hypervisor Systems

  1. Download the latest ISO for the Clonezilla tool (
  2. Create a Linux Live USB or Live CD out of this ISO. A useful tool for creating Live USB drives out of the *.iso is Linux Live (LiLi) USB Creator (
  3. Insert the Live USB or CD that you created into your hypervisor system, and make sure the BIOS settings are configured to enable booting from USB or CD first.
  4. After the Live USB or Live CD boots, choose Clonezilla Live
  5. At the next two menus, choose your language of choice and keyboard layout (the default should be fine)
  6. Select Start Clonezilla
  7. Choose device-image to backup and restore using an image file (recommended - otherwise the image storage disk must have exactly the same size as the source or destination disk). Select Beginner Mode.
  8. Choose whether to use a local device to store the image or restore the image from (like a USB stick or USB hard drive), or a SAMBA server (a Windows network share)
  9. Choose either the savedisk or restoredisk options (do not backup or restore single partitions, but instead do this for the whole disk at once)
  10. Accept the default options (no advanced settings are needed), and start the backup or restore operation.
  11. Wait for the backup or restore to complete. Exit the Clonezilla tool, remove the bootable media, and boot from the hard drive to test the system (after a restore).

Optional: it is also possible to use the Clonezilla tool to create a bootable utility that will automatically install an image on boot. So, you could create a USB hard drive image that, when used to boot on a blank system, would install a complete hypervisor image automatically. For instructions on creating this utility, please read about the recovery-iso-zip option on the website.

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4. Additional Resources

>> Real-Time Hypervisor Architecture and Performance Details

>> What Hardware and Software is Supported for Use with NI Real-Time Hypervisor Systems? 

>> NI Real-Time Hypervisor for Windows Walkthrough

>> NI Real-Time Hypervisor for Linux Walkthrough


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