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We want to mirror our current production app server (Oracle Application Server) onto our staging server. As it stands right now, various things are out of sync, and what may work in testing/QA can easily fail in production because of settings/patch/etc inconsistencies. I was thinking what would be best is to clone the entire disk daily and push it onto the staging server... Would this be the best method...? (note: these are all windows servers)

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 25 '10 at 20:44

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This question is probably more appropriate for Server Fault. Voted to move. –  Helen Mar 24 '10 at 21:14
    
Agreed, Voting as well. –  Zombies Mar 25 '10 at 16:11
    
Hm, can a mod or just or people vote to move to SF? –  Zombies Mar 25 '10 at 16:18

3 Answers 3

I think you're doing this backwards: dev should be where you bang things out, make it work, which then gets promoted to staging for testing -- if that passes your testing (regression, user acceptance, etc.), you deploy to your production server. Now because things are out of wack, why not just do a Physical to Virtual Migration of your production machine with the free Standalone Converter tools and ESXi and make your dev, staging, etc. virtual machines on ESXi based off of this P2V conversion? This way all your servers are now identical and you have a fresh start. A nice thing about VMs is you can make snapshots before any major patching and rollback if/when things go wrong.

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You could use rsync.

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That's all good and well for data, but this won't help with the operating system patches. –  Ben Pilbrow Mar 25 '10 at 20:58
    
OP indicates that the servers are Windows so rsync probably wouldn't be ideal. –  3dinfluence Mar 25 '10 at 21:12

How in sync do you want them to be, and how much downtime can you tolerate? If you created an NTBackup image of the entire system, including system state, and then restored it, that should be an identical image of the system at a given point in time, so youll have to deal with UIDs conflicting and so on. it does handle open file copy though, so at least you wont have to take the systems down to use it. note that im assuming youre using 2003 or older, 2008 has system backup which is similar, but not identical.

the disk duplication idea isnt a bad one, but its going to suffer from the same flaw as backup/restore where youll have duplicate IDs.

agreed with previous posters that rsync might not be the best solution due to windows.

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