Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have an Ubuntu Server hosted with Amazon Web Services, but I'd like to back it up, and know that I can restore it to a different server. (local dev server, competing cloud server, ec2 server in a different region, etc.)

This sort of thing must be commonplace, what's the generally accepted procedure / toolset to use here?

share|improve this question

Generally-speaking, it's best to not rely on snapshots for backup. Rather, you want to use something like Puppet or Chef to manage your server's configuration. That way, you can have a version controlled, easily reproducible server config to deploy where you want.

For static data, there are innumerable ways to back things up, but one of my favorite go-to backup products is rsnapshot. It uses rsync over ssh to perform incremental backups to another host. It's dead simple to set up and I've found it to be very reliable. Keep in mind that rsnapshot (or any other "dumb" copy-based solution) cannot be used on databases without flushing the tables to disk and grabbing a read lock or some other method of ensuring that the database files are consistent on disk.

share|improve this answer
Thank you. I will look into Puppet, Chef, and rsnapshot. I'll let you know how I go. – Dean Rather Dec 6 '12 at 6:16
I see there's something of a holy war on between "puppet vs chef". Can you recommend which would be quickest to learn/implement for a single server? – Dean Rather Dec 7 '12 at 1:06
I think "holy war" is a bit extreme. Both are very good projects with very similar capabilities. Either would serve you well. – EEAA Dec 7 '12 at 1:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.