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Old 06-29-2014, 07:15 PM   #1
Red Squirrel
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Live disk imaging


I've been considering my current disaster recovery plan as far as backups go, and I could do better. Currently I backup files, but not systems. So if I lose my VMs or lose a server OS drive (I usually don't bother with hardware raid so OS drive is usually a SSD), I still have to rebuild the OS, reconfigure everything etc... Pain in the ass especially if I lost an entire raid array with multiple VMs on it.

I want to do regular image backups of all my systems so that in the event of a disaster I can just restore the image rather than reinstall the OS and reconfigure everything. What are some good imaging programs that will create a disk image file that is easy to restore? I've used Acronis before but I find it's hit and miss in VMs because it requires the mouse, and for some reason the mouse wont always work depending on the VM or system. I'm also hoping there is something that can take a live image, but worse case scenario I'll settle for a boot CD and having to take the system down. This is only something I'd do like once a year anyway as I have file level backups and most of my files are on my NFS server and not within VMs.

On the other hand it may be easier to just stick with traditional imaging and taking VMs down as I wont need to setup anything special. So I'm open to image software suggestions (Preferably free/open source and usable with keyboard).
 
Old 06-29-2014, 07:35 PM   #2
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Trilead VM EXplorer is relatively cheap for the Pro version. It sounds like this is your home network so the free version should suffice. Of course, this is a Windows OS you will need.

https://www.trilead.com/editions/
 
Old 06-29-2014, 08:30 PM   #3
frankbell
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Clonezilla.
 
Old 06-29-2014, 10:51 PM   #4
syg00
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Live backups are always a concern due to consistency issues - for a virtualised guest, there is also the need to maintain VM state data.
All hipervisors should provide a means to safely snapshot a guest - modern Linux filesystems respond to fsfreeze so that helps. Snapshot capable environments (LVM and btrfs) also co-operate even more.

I typically run btrfs non-virtualised, and manually snap when needed - but I make sure the system is (very) idle, or better, shutdown. Once a snap is in place, a backup can be taken at leisure.
For long term backup of non snapshot capable filesystems I like fsarchiver - it provides a safetynet of checksumming on the data.
 
Old 06-30-2014, 07:56 AM   #5
Red Squirrel
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I was thinking more something within Linux, as I have live physical systems I want to backup too.

But worse case scenario if that's not available I will settle for traditional imaging where you boot off a CD, just need a program that works with just the keyboard and is more than just dd. Clonezilla sounds like it's just a front end for dd from what I read. Ex: image will end up being same size as drive.

edit: found a few here, I'll have to test them out:

http://www.cyberciti.biz/open-source...ging-software/

Last edited by Red Squirrel; 06-30-2014 at 08:14 AM.
 
Old 06-30-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
notsure
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I think all of those solutions will save used blocks to the img file. So if your free space is not zeroed out, you'll have a larger than desired img file.

Speaking from experience, I have used dd on live systems. The worst that's happened is needing to do a fsck after restoring. I also had file-level backups if there were unrecoverable errors.
 
Old 06-30-2014, 03:26 PM   #7
jefro
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There's only a few ways to live image linux or a VM. Some vm companies have tools just for migration and backup/cloning. I've only heard of one software to live state backup a linux system.

Plenty of ways to clone a vm cold. It's too easy to just copy the vm while it's cold. If you run a virtual disk image that can be maintained the copy will be as small as possible usually.

Not sure what you mean about Acronis. I've never heard of this mouse issue.
 
Old 07-03-2014, 08:13 PM   #8
Red Squirrel
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Hmm seems Acronis is the only one that handles empty space then. Is there a way to just fix the mouse issue? Or is there a way to use just the keyboard? The mouse issue is random, it really depends on the system. Most physical systems arn't an issue, but some VMs are, for whatever reason. The mouse just wont work.

I'm surprised there arn't more open source disk imaging solutions though, that can handle FS specific stuff like account for files that arn't linked anymore.
 
Old 07-03-2014, 09:44 PM   #9
notsure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
Hmm seems Acronis is the only one that handles empty space then. Is there a way to just fix the mouse issue? Or is there a way to use just the keyboard? The mouse issue is random, it really depends on the system. Most physical systems arn't an issue, but some VMs are, for whatever reason. The mouse just wont work.

I'm surprised there arn't more open source disk imaging solutions though, that can handle FS specific stuff like account for files that arn't linked anymore.
NOPE.

I cannot recall where exactly I get stuck using Acronis with the keyboard, but I have never been able navigate through the process of imaging or cloning unless I have a mouse.

I use Backup&Recover v11 but I remember this always being a problem.
 
Old 07-04-2014, 03:11 PM   #10
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Many ways to copy file by file. A lot of linux apps can copy that way if they can read the filesystem. This is how clonezilla works. The command dd is one of the few that do copy bit by bit. G4U would the pipe bit by bit to compression so that if you zeroed out the drive almost not space would be wasted on empty areas.

Why are you even bothering to clone a VM like that? Why not copy the virtual filesystem and supporting machine config files?

Last edited by jefro; 07-04-2014 at 03:13 PM.
 
Old 07-04-2014, 05:04 PM   #11
Red Squirrel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Many ways to copy file by file. A lot of linux apps can copy that way if they can read the filesystem. This is how clonezilla works. The command dd is one of the few that do copy bit by bit. G4U would the pipe bit by bit to compression so that if you zeroed out the drive almost not space would be wasted on empty areas.

Why are you even bothering to clone a VM like that? Why not copy the virtual filesystem and supporting machine config files?
Because not all my systems are VMs, so I just want a unified way of doing things. If I need to migrate to a different VM solution etc... I want the raw images too. I also want to virtualize a few of my physical systems though that may be hit and miss. A regular file copy also wont work for the system as permissions and other things may not copy over properly and certain files need to be in certain physical locations of the disk to boot properly.

So Clonezilla WILL be file aware and not just do a 100% raw image? I may have to test with that. I have lot of disk space but I don't want my image files to be 100's of GB either.
 
Old 07-04-2014, 08:24 PM   #12
jefro
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Clonezilla reports that if it can read the file system, it will then use file by file. If it can't read the filesystem it is supposed to fall back to bit by bit.

There are still many tools and apps out there. Some popular software like Acronis too may support your group. It may be that no single solution will work.

Any backup is better than none.
 
Old 07-05-2014, 07:42 PM   #13
Red Squirrel
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Seems Clonezilla will work then. I decided to drop the requirement for live imaging, figured maybe there was something out there that I don't know about. It'is not like I'll be doing a disk image often anyway. Basically a month or two after configuring server and that everything is finalized, then that's pretty much it. Maybe every couple years after that. It's just to get the system stuff like programs installed/configuration etc... the actual files like what is in /etc get backed up nightly.

Though I will need to test a way to restore those files without the permissions being altered as that can cause issues with certain stuff. In Windows it's easy because windows has permission inheritance. I so wish Linux would have that by default.
 
Old 07-06-2014, 07:24 PM   #14
jefro
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I've used it before and only once failed due to not booting to odd hardware. You still have other choices to don't box yourself in. Simple things like gparted can copy a partition.
 
  


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