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I'd like to clone an entire remote webserver to a local vmware player setup and maintain a copy of it possibly via rsync?

Is this even possible? In theory I can create a local player with centos4 to match the server and use rsync but will that be able to deal with overwriting system files? This needs to be done while the server is live, without interruption.

Obviously there are going to be some subtle changes to configurations between the two like network drivers, ram, etc. Updates would be one way, the remote overwriting the local, I don't mind that centos will want to reconfigure when the local copy is rebooted.

Appreciate any feedback on the possibilities.

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Do you have any control over the remote server? About the only way to get the whole system, would be to use snapshots. You could take an lvm snapshot and then copy that over to the local system. Or if you could put the remote server in a virtual machine, you could take a virtual machine snapshot of the harddrive image and then copy that over.

If you can't take snapshots, you run the risk of files at the end of the transfer changing and not being consistent with files at the beginning of the transfer. However, if you must, you could rsync over the whole drive but don't copy it over a running system. You'll need to mount the local system harddrive on another system and then copy the files over it that way. I would be surprised if this actually worked and gave you a bootable local system though. Better than copying over the entire filesystem from the remote server, would be to pick the important directories, such as /var, /etc and maybe /home, and just copy those over.

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Yes I have root. Was not aware of LVM but I guess the problem is limited space to create a local clone first. I do not have double the drive space of what is in use. I now see some similar questions in "Related" on the right here, so I will readup. – ck_ Jun 16 '11 at 1:16
You won't need double the space. LVM snapshots only store the changed bits of the source partition. However the source partition will have to be created on an LVM volume. If it is not already, you will have to convert it which will likely require a reformat and reinstall. – James Jun 16 '11 at 1:54

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