I'm ready to install our new proxy (Ubuntu LTS 10.04) and I'd like to set it up so I can recovery it easily and fast in case of any hardware failure. I thought about using esxi and backupping the virtual machine when the configuration is ultimated and use it in case of failure. Is it a good idea? Otherwise I've heard of remastersys... Can it be used to achieve such a result?

I am sorry for being inaccurate:

budget: zero. I'm forced to use a dual core office personal computer (and have a pentium 3 to use in desperate situation as a transparent proxy backup)

maximum downtime: less possible

administrative effort: less possible


  • Err, is this a reverse proxy or a Web proxy (Squid)? – gravyface Apr 29 '11 at 14:10
  • A Web Proxy with squid :) – Pitto Apr 29 '11 at 14:13
  • I think you need to explain what your constraints are (budget and acceptable downtime in minutes/hours/days) and then we can talk about a high-availability/failover setup that'll work for you. – gravyface May 2 '11 at 15:10

There are many, many different ways to achieve this.

You could:

1) Run your OS off a Live CD, and just have some scripts that customise the setup post-boot. Then you just need to keep a copy of the scripts.

2) Virtualise, as you said. Doesn't have to be VMWare, you could also use KVM, which is free, and "built-in". Just create a disk image for the system partition and back that up. Keep the data on a separate image.

3) Mirrored disks (Raid 1) will protect you from disk failure, but not from other things (accidents, human error, malicious "rm -rf /", etc)

4) Create a custom boot image or installer on a USB key, and just use that to rebuild your system as needed. It takes a bit more effort to start out, but it's a very useful tool to have in your kit.

Etc, etc...


Build two -- virtually on seperate hypervisor hosts, or get another box -- set them up in an active/passive High Availability (HA) cluster using Heartbeat.

  • Might've jumped the gun here; assumed reverse proxy. – gravyface Apr 29 '11 at 14:10
  • It's a good idea but I'll have a single hardware pc to dedicate to this project and I imagine (e.g.) a motherboard failure... – Pitto Apr 29 '11 at 14:13
  • Forward or Reverse... I'd go Active/Active to help reduce latency too. Careful not to overcommit the setup if you go A/A though or else you'll end up with a double fail waiting to happen. – Chris S Apr 29 '11 at 14:29
  • if you can't do two, setup transparent proxying and if the box dies, you stop redirecting tcp 80/443 requests to your proxy server and let the users surf directly again. – gravyface Apr 29 '11 at 14:37
  • A transparent backup proxy with the same config of the 1st is ready to go but I wanted to find a better (and complete) replacemente solution in case of fault – Pitto May 2 '11 at 13:59

After one of our servers had total hard drive failure, we used clonezilla:


When we again had hard drive problems, we swapped drives and kept going.

  • What about motherboard failure? – Pitto Apr 29 '11 at 15:40
  • Put the hard drive in a new machine. Since it is an identical copy, all your settings get migrated over. Of course, if you have no backup hardware, you've got a separate problem. – Spencer Rathbun Apr 29 '11 at 16:13
  • You mean that with my clonezilla backup I can restore on a different hardware and be up and running? I don't think so... Think about differente ethernet cards or other drivers, right? – Pitto May 2 '11 at 13:54
  • That's what I meant by backup hardware. If you don't have an identical box sitting around for an emergency, then you will need to make sure that your os has any necessary additional drivers, and does dynamic hardware detection on boot. Since you are using Ubuntu, this shouldn't be too big a deal. Unless you clean off the box after uninstalling, Ubuntu should auto detect all your hardware, and set itself up. – Spencer Rathbun May 2 '11 at 14:12
  • Wow! What about /etc/networking/interfaces? Is it generic or hardware specific? – Pitto May 2 '11 at 15:02

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