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I'm switching from a slower remote server to a faster one. (In a nutshell.)

Everything seems to have been migrated properly, but just incase some things didn't get transferred properly, I'd like to make a complete filesystem backup of the older server just incase. (Something I can navigate easily, like a .tar.gz. I'm estimating that compressed it will be about 10GB.)

Any recommendations on how to create a full-disk backup for a remote machine? I have SSH root access.

I'm looking for something similar to:

tar -zcvf ServerBackup08222011.tar.gz /

But my primary question is whether this will get meta... Will the backup try and backup itself?

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your can use --exclude=ServerBackup08222011.tar.gz also I suggest you make one backup per file system (var,home,root) if you happen to have more than one –  Yavor Shahpasov Aug 22 '11 at 17:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

So you get the best backup, first stop any service or process that is writing files. Ideally you would stop everything except your SSH connection.

If you have SSH access you could do the whole operation in a single command

ssh remotehost 'tar -zcv /' > ServerBackup08222011.tar.gz

This will create the archive on the remote system, and save the backup onto your local system.

Another method I tend to prefer for this is to just copy the filesystem with rsync. Assuming you have another linux box to backup to this command would get everything on the root filesystem. If you have additional filesystems you need to copy those separately.

rsync --one-file-system -av remotehost:/ /localpath/backup/
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A physical to virtual conversion isn't quite what you asked for, but is a pretty effective backup - VMWare Converter Standalone will do this (you need to specify the source as RHEL). You could then trim down the spec and run it in VMware player or on an ESX server.

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