Author Topic: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.  (Read 1295 times)

unsolicited

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What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« on: April 02, 2009, 07:39:35 am »
Having lurked about LinuxMCE for quite some time, I am about to install LinuxMCE on a laptop, core only. No media will be stored on it. Basically, for the moment, I'm creating a gateway. Core, asterisk, etc., etc., dhcp, dns, proxy, squid, anything else 'gateway'y I can think of. Network services. (Ldap, nmap, nautilus, firewall, etc., etc.) Maybe some day I'll throw an external esata drive on it, but not today. I'll use the on-board ethernet for internal, and a usb ethernet for external. Or just usb to the modem. I'll create a single room only, for the moment, put the gateway in it, and leave well enough alone - for the moment.

Somewhere down the road, when time permits, I'll create a hybrid (near the living room TV), where all the storage will be (and the video out to the TV, etc., etc.). [Currently I replicate all data (changes) nightly between two machines with 1.5 TB disks. OS' use their native backup to the data partition nightly, then that and the local data gets replicated up. These are all Windows machines, multiple.] I'll worry about media storage / replication / backup, then.

As I go about my day, I can install software, reboot the core, update, yada, yada, yada. But, being the gateway IT CAN NEVER GO DOWN FOR ANY SIGNIFICANT PERIOD OF TIME. Reboots, OK, large software / configuration problems - NOT. Other people in the house have to be productive throughout - the gateway being down is a BAD THING.

Having to recreate the gateway would also be a BAD THING.

At some point, something's going to happen, hardware is going to fail, and so on and so forth.

What do people use for backups? Preferably bare metal. [I considered making it a vm, but (a) nothing bare metal will go on something as small as a laptop, and (b) not infrequently there is some customization of the distro. of the first guest os - which will probably conflict all to heck with the LinuxMCE 'distro'.]

I'll need to be able to pick it up and put it down and voila. Make appropriate changes for different hardware, and it had better JUST WORK.

Not just the LinuxMCE settings, the _whole_ machine. Userids, accounts, user profiles, EVERYTHING.

The only safe backup is a backup never needed. Next to that, the only safe backup is to never lose the data. So on the fly squirreling elsewhere is de rigeur.

Suggested packages to look at?

TIA.


P.S. I expect to partition something like (120 GB disk):
680 MB - FreeDOS / 'boot' partition (Grub for DOS)
 20 GB - LinuxMCE system partition
 10 GB - LinuxMCE backup partition (replica? Mentioned in wiki entry on backup/restore).
Extended
  2 GB - swap
{something for the rest - not initially defined. I want LinuxMCE to keep its system fingers out of here. Probably a local data (rest of computer) local replica that will then be sent up, nightly.}

Reasonable?
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sambuca

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2009, 09:00:42 am »
Hi

I have looked at http://www.mondorescue.org/ a couple of times, but have not used it yet. It can restore your whole system, even from bare metal. It even allows you to do some restructuring of partitions when restoring. That can be useful if you restore to a new/bigger hard drive.
But it is not made to be an every-day backup system, so you should have some other way of backing up your data. Maybe some sort of replication as you mention.

I haven't looked at the linuxmce backup/restore system, so I can't tell you anything about that.

best regards,
sambuca

tkmedia

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2009, 06:24:32 pm »
Clonezilla works well just save your image to a samba share.



Tim
My Setup http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Tkmedia

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unsolicited

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009, 08:38:29 pm »
Clonezilla works well just save your image to a samba share.

Thank you for that. I took a quick look at the page (Clonezilla Live), but it seems you boot a CD and take a snapshot of the machine. Since files will change daily, I need a solution that runs within LinuxMCE - I can't be taking the gateway down once a day or week to take a snapshot.

Have I mis-read something?
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unsolicited

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2009, 09:04:16 pm »
I have looked at http://www.mondorescue.org/ a couple of times, but have not used it yet.

Thanks for that. I had forgotten about MondoRescue. Like you, I've come across it in the past, and read some of the web pages, but never yet used it. Perhaps now's the time.

I can also appreciate the suggestion of Clonezilla - particularly in taking a pre- (old machine / hard drive) and post- (once up and going post-new installation) snap. Sort of a second last chance safety net. The last chance being install from scratch and hope you remember all the things changed from initial install. )-:
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Enigmus

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2009, 02:14:10 pm »
I think it would be nice to have a CloneZilla PXE boot option added to LinuxMCE. This would give the option to boot workstations to CloneZilla for backups.  Not everything in my environment is running as a MD.  This would be a good feature for my other systems for backup and restoration.

gollywog

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2009, 04:12:17 pm »
I'll second adding extra PXE images for boot, especially conezilla.

I you want a rock solid internet router that is up 24/7/365 the go for something like a cisco XXXX. If you want to have a complete solution for internet/home automation/media/etc then use LMCE. If you want both, use cisco as router and LMCE behind it. Just remember the bigger u get, the harder it is to back it up.

Just my two bob

Gollywog

alx9r

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2009, 11:27:09 pm »
First and foremost: Regardless of which tool you use, I strongly recommend you test that the image files produced can indeed restore your system from bare metal. 

All drive image tools that I have used can produce image files that they themselves cannot read.  The tools may well work in one situation but not another.  In my experience, it is a question of which tool works in more of the situations I encounter than the next tool.  Partition size (especially large ones), the file system type being imaged, and the file system type where the image is being stored seem to be factors that affect whether a tool succeeds.

Using a second otherwise-unused hard drive as a target is safe way to test your tools.

I image, partition, and restore a variety of computers regularly.  The tools I am currently using are as follows:

Drive Imaging: partimage
Partition Editing: fdisk
MBR Backup: dd

I use the versions exclusively on the System Rescue CD (www.sysresccd.org).  System Rescue CD seems to be more actively maintained than any of the other rescue CDs that I have encountered.

I have used these tools for Windows XP, LinuxMCE, Windows Vista, Ubuntu, and grub partitions.  Many of those partitions were part of multipartition, multi-boot systems.  So far, I have not found a situation that those tools cannot handle.  I have seen partimage produce unusable images when used with some non-default parameters, but it is still the most reliable way to take drive images that I have found.

Here are my experiences with other tools:
GParted
*cannot perform some operations on large hard drives (~1TB and greater)
*cannot be used to create a partition table that matches another arbitrary partition table to the sector

sfdisk
*cannot perform some operations on large hard drives
*does not reliably create partition tables from a file (which is its only real purpose)

Clonezilla
*Outputs image files that it cannot read without reporting errors.  In my experience, clonezilla creates usable files only in about 1 in 3 situations. 

Properly backing up and restoring the MBR, partition table, and partition contents is quite an involved task.  If you think it will be helpful, I will write a wiki on how I do this next time I do it on my LinuxMCE system (i.e. when I take the plunge to 0810).

Hopefully this helps someone.  There are few things worse than realizing that the image you have of a critical system cannot be restored.

Alex

geekyhawkes

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2009, 04:26:13 pm »
This might not be exactly what your after but its what i have been using on my laptop/netbooks for ages.  Simple and easy to schedule;

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=35087

Im sure this could easily be added into MCE as a scripted event, especially suitable as most people run OS hard drives and Media drives / NAS

tkmedia

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 04:57:51 pm »
I have been using clonezilla recently and have done probably 2 dozen image and restores.. both to the same hardware and different hardware i have not had one failure of any images. I have imaged both windows xp  machines as well as linuxmce.   However i have not imaged drives over 500 gb.




Tim

My Setup http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Tkmedia

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alx9r

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Re: What to use for (bare metal) backup / restore.
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2009, 07:37:48 pm »
I have been using clonezilla recently and have done probably 2 dozen image and restores.. both to the same hardware and different hardware i have not had one failure of any images. I have imaged both windows xp  machines as well as linuxmce.   However i have not imaged drives over 500 gb.

Tim,
That's a pretty high success rate.  I'm always interested in other people's real-world experiences.  Can you tell me what version of clonezilla you are using?  I'm also curious what tools you are using for partition editing and backing up your mbr. 

Regards,

Alex