On 2014-01-17 16:16, jpeteet wrote:
> I appreciate all of your inputs. And your conversations have given me
> several new things to think about. My main trepidation with just doing a
> fresh install is that this is a production server and when I start that
> procedure there is really no fall back. Ok I know a known, good backup
> is the ultimate fallback. But at that point I am stuck either trying to
> bang out the new/fresh install or dump that and reinstall the old OS and
> copy all the related configs/settings from the backup. The pain point
> for me is where to draw the line between the two.
> Of course all that is assuming worst-case-scenario....Where there is the
> chance that the upgrade will work - or at least mostly work upon
> in-place upgrade. I hope that makes sense.....

Whatever the route you choose is, upgrade or fresh install, you
absolutely need a "good backup", sufficiently good to bail out and
restore the original server as if nothing had been done to it.

To me this means:
- A method to recreate the same partition table, with grub sectors.
- Image copies (dd) of all system partitions and crucial areas.
- Optionally, use instead rsync copies of data partitions (they
are slower to restore, but can be smaller).
- It can be a full disk image, of course. Very fast and carefree
to restore.

Beware of clonezilla and similar solutions: they do not image grub,
instead they recreate grub. In some cases, the restored image does not boot.

My suggestion (what I do) is to try an upgrade in place. I have a
preference for the offline method (not zypper dup). If it fails beyond
repair, I have two options:

a) Restore machine, and think it over.
Maybe try again the upgrade, if I know what I did wrong.
b) Install fresh instead.

If 'b' also fails, then I still can restore the machine and think it over.

When you succeed, the backup is useful in order to have access to the
original files, while you work on restoring services.

I've been doing system upgrades since 1999 or thereabouts. They work.

Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 12.3 x86_64 "Dartmouth" at Telcontar)