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As I scramble to learn as much as possible about Linux for a client, I'm wondering if it's possible that settings and/or data from a previous SUSE install (not sure which version,yet) can theoretically be imported/accessed by Red Hat (also not sure the version yet)
The client had a database and mail server previously in SUSE but when their IT person tried to access the data for it in Red Hat, it didn't work. How and why they switched to Red Hat is still forthcoming. The client doesn't seem to know a lot about the setup other than it doesn't work and that the people who originally set everything up, can no longer be found.
Somehow they managed to get their email server working in Red Hat but the database is now 'hosted' by a Windows PC. (not sure how or why they did that)
Sorry I don't have more detailed information. The main question I guess really comes down to; Can data/settings (database program/files and server settings) created in SUSE also be accessed by Red Hat?
To a certain extent the answer is yes. However, it would have required careful planning to do such a move and from your comments it seems clear there was no planning at all by the client.
Some things can be seen from one distro to another (e.g. disk partitioning/LVM setup can be detected by RedHat during install and one can just overwrite the things (e.g. / (root), /var etc...) that would be somewhat different while keeping other partitions and LVs intact. We did this recently while upgrading RHEL4 to RHEL5 - essentially we did a fresh install that overwrote system directories but kept database, home and application LVs as they were. Prior to doing that we saved key information such as that which Oracle puts in /etc so we simply had to restore it into the new build but did not have to restore the entire database as it never went away.
Going from one distro to another can be problematic as it regards things like network and other configuration as the different vendors put things in slightly differently. (For example RHEL does most of its stuff under /etc/sysconfig.)
If during the install they told RHEL to overwrite existing disk setup (as they likely did) they've probably already lost what they need. At this point it will be best to recover from a backup if they have one.
You can TRY using fdisk and parted to see information about disks to see if any information was preserved and is not currently in use. If it was you may be able to simply mount partitions or import LVM information and mount LVs. Note that the new install has already done things to disks so what you see will include that (and as noted above is likely ONLY that new stuff).
As above, its definitely going to save a lot of time & heartache if you've got a spare system you can restore Suse-based system onto, just for looking at settings.
Otherwise, you'll need to ask exactly what they want each 'app' to do and work it out from square 1.
Definitely a bit odd moving a DB from Linux to MS. That's a completely different environment.