Replicating and Deploying NI Real-Time System Images

Updated Oct 4, 2018

Reported In

Hardware

  • CompactRIO Controller
  • CompactRIO Single-Board Controller
  • PXI Controller

Software

  • LabVIEW Real-Time Module
  • LabVIEW
  • System Configuration

Issue Details

I have installed software to my Real-Time (RT) target (CompactRIO, sbRIO, PXI Controller) and have deployed my start-up application to it. How can I back this system up so I can return it to this state? Also how can I copy this configuration over to multiple other targets? Finally, how can I give the image to another person so they can configure their real-time target the same exact way?

Solution

There are several options for backing up your real-time target. This article will go through three main ways to back up Real-Time (RT) targets: Replication and Deployment Utility (RAD), Real-Time utilities, and a third party utility (Clonezilla).

Automated LabVIEW Replication and Deployment Utility (RAD):
RAD is a pre-programmed and compiled executable that can be used to obtain and/or deploy an image of any real-time target on your network.  The NI Developer Zone Example: Replication and Deployment (RAD) Utility contains information how to use the utility.  It is available for download on the same page and is the simplest method for replicating your Real-Time system.

Note: Using the RAD utility will completely re-image the Real-Time target with whatever image you choose to deploy to it. For example, if you have an image with 2015 software, and update software to 2017, you can deploy the 2015 image and everything (including Linux version) will return to the state in the 2015 image.

Note: RAD Utility is only compatible between the same model of hardware. If, for example, you have a 9039 and 9049, you'll need to maintain two separate versions of the code and bit-file to send to the respective hardware.

Real-Time Utilities:
There are several utilities for backing up a real-time system that are included in the real-time palette when the LabVIEW Real-Time module is installed.  
  • In up to LabVIEW 2011 the two main functions are RT Get System Disk Image and RT Set System Disk Image.
  • In LabVIEW 2012 a new System Configuration API was introduced with functions called Create System Image and Set System Image. Refer to the LabVIEW Help about how to use these functions.
You will need to have LabVIEW and the Real-Time Module to create a program that uses these functions. If you have the Application Builder you can then create an executable that can be used on any machine with the corresponding LabVIEW Runtime Engine.
 
Clonezilla (PXI targets, PXI hypervisor systems, and Real-Time Desktops only):
Clonezilla Live is a free third party disk cloning utility that can be run from a USB flash drive, a CD or a DVD.  This utility will only run on PXI targets and Real-Time Desktop systems.  This will not work for cRIO, sbRIO, WSN 9792 and Real-Time FieldPoint devices. For the most up to date instructions on using Clonezilla Live refer to the Clonezilla live doc page on Clonezilla's webpage.

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