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I have a small interesting problem to resolve. I have a dedicated linux box at SoftLayer with 240GB HDD (about 4GB used :), and I need to get its disk image locally at home in order to convert it to VirtualBox format. In order to avoid hitting the traffic cap, I need to spend as little traffic as I can. Any ideas?

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Alternatively you can use 'rsync' to transfer just the files you need, drop that onto a Linux system located at your home, fix up things like the Master Boot Record (MBR) which will not be correctly transferred and then fire it up under a virtualization technology.

You will be looking for something like;

rsync -vaHPS --numeric-ids --exclude=/proc --exclude=sys* /local
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To save some more on transfer, install the same OS at home, update both, rsync will only transfer the difference. Rsysnc is even able to only transmit the changes in large files, by using a rolling CRC. – niXar Jun 28 '09 at 16:01
I like the idea of installing the same OS on the destination. I usually recommend using rsync -x and transferring the filesystems you care about, although I believe this answer is more generically valid (better to copy an NFS mount by accident than to miss a huge amount of data). Consider rsync -z, since bandwidth is at a premium. Obviously stop all important services (that keep important files open) before running this. – carlito Jun 29 '09 at 5:55

An alternate option is to make a tarball of all the data, which is probably a few hundred MB less then the total, and transfer that.

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If you don't know where your data is, you have serious problems. This is the best answer considering that. But if you're abandoning the old system for a new one where you know where your data is, you still want the backup - because you didn't really know where your data was until some time running on the new setup successfully. – carlito Jun 29 '09 at 5:56

If SoftLayer supports sneakernet (i.e. have them mail a copy to you), that's probably your best option.

Else, you'll still have to deal with the 4GB (possibly gzipped) transfer somehow. I would suggest getting the smallest possible image and copying it over.

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4GB transfer is not a big deal (I believe my cap is about 100 gigs), but I am not sure how can I get a consistent disk image of that size provided my total disk size is 240GB. – Yurii Rashkovskii Jun 28 '09 at 8:44
I mean total monthly cap is about 100 or 150 gigs – Yurii Rashkovskii Jun 28 '09 at 8:47
Either tar the disk up or dd then gzip. If it's mostly empty space, it should compress nicely. – Jauder Ho Jun 28 '09 at 20:06
the problem with dd is that there is only one hdd :) – Yurii Rashkovskii Jun 29 '09 at 4:13

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