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I want to create a backup of my server after the initial installation. Then I want to load/install this backup in VMWare.

The reason I want to do this is so I can experiment and improve my setup without touching the server but with the exact same configuration as my server.

After changes have proven to be effective I will manually make this changes on the server and create a backup again and start the routine all over.

This is my idea, do you guys think this is the right way to go? Can you give me more information or links on how to do a proper backup and how to properly load this into VMWare?

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There are already several questions asking about how to perform a linux P2V (physical to virtual) transition. What your are asking is exactly the same. serverfault.com/search?q=linux+p2v –  Zoredache Sep 18 '12 at 22:52
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If you're using VMware ESXi 5, you can use the vCenter Converter Standalone Client to do a P2V (physical to virtual) conversion. Depending on the size of your system it might take overnight, but it should leave your working system intact while giving you a virtual clone of it.

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