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Before taking the backup, as follows require can be got:
1. don't unmount the disks
2. block(or hang) the processes which have opened the disks for reading or writing, but don't make the processes terminate.
3. block(or hang) the processes which try to open disks,
but don't make the processes terminate.
4. take the backup.
5. recovery, make the processes which have opened the disks for reading or writing continue to do.
Why can't you just tar to take a running copy of the system?
If this, for some reason, unacceptable, you might want to familiarize yourself with raid mirroring (they make an exact copy of the partition while it is actively in use). Alternatively you can try to do some tricks with lvm; they do process holding and some other tricks when moving data around in physical layers.