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I need to drop another hard drive into my company's SME Server-powered fileserver and figure out a way to do a nightly clone backup of the entire filesystem so that, if the hard drive fails, I can just drop in the clone and be on my way. I'm basically looking for something that can perform a dd, but with the filesystem being live.

Any suggestions?

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RAID seems like the solution here, can't imagine calling something a "server" without a redundant disk system.

tar, cpio, dump, rsync there are lots of ways to backup a server. There's a ton of other more sophisticated tools as well, bacula, amanda, proprietary solutions...

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rsync may be your friend. It will sync differences in the file systems. Use the one file system option to limit the copy to the partition being copied.

Piping dump to restore should also work, but rsync will do the least I/O.

For Ghost-like backups I like Mondo which creates bootable recovery disk.

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Could I do the initial backup with Mondo, then just maintain it with a nightly rsync? Would I be able to boot from the drive and have it perform exactly as the old drive, provided the rsync was recent enough? – kivetros Apr 13 '11 at 1:58
@kivetros: No there approach is entirely different. You can use rsync for the initial and followup backups if you are mirroring partiions. (First backup will be slower.) Mondo is to build a bootable recovery disk for bare metal recovery. You will want current backups in addition. Amanda might be appropriate for those. – BillThor Apr 13 '11 at 14:26
But will I be able to boot off the disc if I rsync it? I wanted to make a nightly, working snapshot of the drive so that, in the event of an emergency, we'd be able to drop it right back in and go. Could I just do a fresh install of SME Server on the second disc, then run a big rsync? – kivetros Apr 13 '11 at 15:01
@kivetros: rsync will not setup the boot loader. That is done with grub or grub2 the boot manager. Once the disk is bootable it will remain so. You may need to use a live installation disk or recovery disk to setup the boot track if it doesn't work the first time. You may want to configure the boot loader to use partition ids rather than UUIDs. As will all disaster recovery setups document and test it. After much experience, I don't consider a backup working until I have done a recovery. – BillThor Apr 13 '11 at 15:43
Thank you so much for all your help. I'll try this over the weekend and get back with you on how it works (or doesn't). – kivetros Apr 13 '11 at 17:20

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