J. Epperson linux-poweredge at
Sun Feb 11 14:38:29 CST 2007

On Sun, February 11, 2007 11:56, mark foster wrote:
> Mad Unix wrote:
>> I need a tool to clone linux system from one server to another server,
>> what would be the best....?
> What is best for you is going to depend on your preferences,
> environment, etc.
> There are commercial options like ghost and acronis but I have not used
> (or needed) them because there are plenty of free & open-source options.
> I have tried or know of  g4u[1], partimage[2], system imager and
> dd+netcat. Helix (a bootable forensics toolkit) has adepto/grab[4].
> They all work great. There are also an number of "p2v" tools out there
> due to the recent virtualization movement that can probably also do p2p
> (physical to physical).
> Anyway, unless you are trying to get fancy, the quick one-off system can
> best be cloned with dd+netcat (also sometimes called a network
> acquisition) right to the target drive over the network.

Accurate, and good advice for the "one-off".  We use g4l and have been
quite happy with it. It's basically a front-ended dd|netcat solution.  We
push an image to a SAN-connected machine running vsftp for each type of
platform (generic, Oracle J2EE AS, Oracle DBMS in our case) and OS
version/hardware variant, and follow up with a scheduled rsync of each
box.  This lends itself both to quick deployment/redeployment of a new or
repurposed machine, and to bare-metal recovery.  Since the images and
rsync repositories are in the SAN off-site backup rotation, we'd recover
at a cold site by putting iron on the ground, restoring the SAN and a
simple ftp/rsync machine connected to it, then start pulling images and
rsyncs.  Do this for each new server, mount the SAN-based databases, and
back in business.  You can also show a record of the
deployments/redeployments to auditors as evidence of ongoing testing of
the core recovery scenario.

There are more elegant ways to skin the cat, but this is simple and easy
to document.


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