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I have a test system that requires a lot of setup to install the product I am testing. While testing it is possible degrade the system. I am looking for a way to go back to a point on the system where I have verified that everything is configured correctly. What is the best way to do something like this?

I have a 2 server setup with Red Hat 5.

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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The easiest way is to use some kind of snapshot that you can easily revert to. In order of ease those are probably:

  • Storage Array: LUN snapshots that you can revert to
  • Virtual Machine: Template it, copy the image or if using Xen with an LVM backing store, use LVM snapshots.
  • iSCSI & LVM (or OpenFiler/NetApp): If your iSCSI-fu is strong, use OpenFiler or ietd as an iSCSI target and install onto that. Then you can easily manipulate the backend disk for your test server.
  • Partitions: If you need a subset of partitions, back up those partitions on the system and then revert those when necessary. Otherwise, make a second install that you can boot into and blast an image on to the disk.
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I would definitely use a virtual machine for this.

Set the hardware up with a minimal linux install running the free vmware server or other virtualization platform., then use the web interface to create the base server to your liking, then snapshot it.

Keep this snapshot as a pristine version of the basic server, and just undo the snapshot when you are done

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Your question isn't very specific about what state on the system can be 'degraded', so the only way to be sure you've got it all saved to be able to revert to is to store the whole things, so:

1) Run the system as a xen image. Save the image before you run the test and restore it afterward.

2) Automate the complete build of a system from scratch. Wipe and rebuild from scratch before every test, using tools like Puppet or FAI.

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LVM snapshot functionality could be really handy

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