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I've recently been put in charge of a Ubuntu server in the Linode platform.

This webserver is running a production Rails application with a MySQL database.

I need to ssh into it to download a copy of the database to perform further development locally.

I've read that Linode requires to shut down the node before letting you reset the root password from the rescue tab in the manager. Is the "Shut Down" button in the dashboard safe to use and restart a production webserver? Won't the server lose any data? (I'm asking this because I'm used to Amazon AWS, where servers are not persistent)

Is there other way to access the server via SSH within the Linode Manager?

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Linode offer an alternative path into linode VMs, which is the linode shell (aka lish). Documentation is here. However, you'll still need the root password, or another username and password, to actually log into the system.

To answer your other question, linodes are persistent. If you shut the system down safely (which the shutdown button in the linode dashboard will do), it is unlikely you'll lose any data.

I say unlikely, but there is some chance that the previous admin set up some ramdisk-backed data, or has not commmited some changes to disk, or some other thing that may get lost, however in the absence of existing documentation or a root password, you can't work these things out anyway.

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Thank you for the comment about persistence, that's what scared me the most. You are right about the current inability to do anything else lacking the root password, I guess I have no choice but to reboot it and reset this password. –  bruno077 Jan 25 '12 at 0:35
    
I did reset the root password twice, each time rebooting the linode server, and even though the console says the password has been changed successfully, I can't login via SSH. Do you know if I have to wait some time to login? Thanks again. (The error is wrong password) –  bruno077 Jan 25 '12 at 0:47
    
Try using the lish shell instead. Are you sure you're resetting the root password? or are you resetting your linode account password? –  Daniel Lawson Jan 25 '12 at 19:36
    
I was resetting the root password. Apparently this server had root login via ssh disabled, so I logged in via Lish and finally took control of the server. Thanks for all the help –  bruno077 Jan 25 '12 at 21:03
    
That's a fairly common security precaution. Glad to help :) –  Daniel Lawson Jan 25 '12 at 21:59

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