First off, to all you people who’ve contributed to OpenSuse (or other distributions). I walked away from Vista x64 this weekend and I think Linux is fab. I’m kicking myself that I hadn’t done this sooner. Everything installed/configured minimum of fuss and anything missing is easy to find in either repositories or forums. I’ve installed on a Lenovo T61 and everything that needs to work is working. I’ve not had a crash of any sort in 72 hours … (Vista x64 had me close to smashing the laptop).
The one thing I do not have is an apparently unanimously agreed way of taking a reliable ONLINE system image to a file on disk.
- My system is installed on 250 GB disk and I have 2 x 200 GB USB disks available for backups (rotating). There is 80GB free on the system. There is one root partition with everything in it (simple!) taking the full 250 GB disk. / is Ext3.
- I have TrueImage and the TI+DD rescue media.
- DiskDirector 10.0 from Acronis Rescue CD cannot see my SATA drive. It is running in ACHI mode. I can obviously change it but don’t want to have to flip it for backups.
- TrueImage 11.0 from Acronis Rescue CD cannot clone Ext3 to a smaller sized disk [if someone can counter that I’d like to hear it]. I’m guessing it is using a sector-by-sector copy so needs a disk at least as big as the one I’m backing up.
- TrueImage 11.0 from Boot CD was going to take about 15 hours to create a system image file to a USB NTFS formatted drive (as “tib” file); this is not a runner for weekly use.
- In any event, I would rather avoid having to boot from a CD in order to perform a backup.
- DD cannot clone a partition to a smaller disk; there is a risk of data loss.
- I’m guessing it would not be particularly safe to use DD on a running system; it won’t affect the running system but would lead to inconsistent results in the backup image.
- The System Backup in openSuse is not a complete system image. In addition it seems to need a huge amount of space to make the actual backup so is not very practical.
- “tar” doesn’t backup certain types of special files (sockets, etc)? I’m not sure how safe it is for a complete system backup.
- I would like to be able to perform an ++online++ backup of the complete system (AIX can do it, so can Windows, does Linux have a way to “shadow copy” files or similar?).
- It would be nice if the image was in “a file” and nicer if that could be on NTFS so it could be read easily on other systems. I have figured out how to mount NTFS external drives r/w.
- Would also be cool if you could extract individual files from the backup image, for example, a 40 GB VMWare image …
- If tools are required I’d like them to be completely open source/free (if possible).
- All system settings, versions, permissions should be preserved by the backup.
PartImage. Can it clone Ext3 to a smaller disk? Still leaves the problem of being able to access the backup from a non-Linux system. Also still requires that you boot the system from CD to create the image?
DD. I suspect I could boot from openSuse LiveCD and do:
dd if=/dev/sda | gzip - > /media/mydisk/sda.gz
This doesn’t satisfy all of the criteria but if the command is right looks like one hell of an easy way to take a complete system image to a file. Is this a valid thing to do?
Is there a recognised way to do a complete system backup image (to file on disk) on a running system in such a way that the image is accessible and can have individual files restored and also that the creation of the image doesn’t take as much space on the running system as the running system itself is occupying …