I've probably read every serverfault article on this matter, but none seems to answer my specific question or they seem like dated methods.

I have a live running debian (Lenny) system on Dell PowerEdge 1750 hardware. It's running mysql 5.1, Apache2, and ISPconfig. The system is a few years old, and has a lot of dated packages and software. We just want to make sure we have a cold server ready to go in case something happens.

My goal is to convert it over to newer hardware and software in the future.

I have been instructed to not shutdown the system. Clonezilla will not work since it requires offline, and rsync and dd really don't seem to be cloning tools, more like syncing tools. I tried to get mondo working, however mindi (part of mondo) seems to be crashing when it tries to create the ISO file... which I do not even want, I just want an img or gzip or just raw files.

Does anyone know any other free tools that would allow me to clone/mirror a live running system to another system?


The solution I'd use for taking a point-in-time snapshot of a running system is the (free) Idera/R1Soft Hot Copy product. Using this, you can take a clean snapshot and rsync the entire copy (or portions of the copy) to another system.

  • Lets now say I can bring the system down for under an hour... Clonezilla would probably take hours and hours before it could create an image (due to usb 1.0) would it be better to take a snapshot with r1soft because it can be done to a live system and because its a lot faster? – Stephen Sotelo Dec 22 '11 at 21:12
  • I think the R1Soft hotcopy is handy because you can copy at your leisure, versus having to deal with a short downtime window. – ewwhite Dec 22 '11 at 21:22
  • Hey, have you used this on recent kernels at all? The list of compatible distro releases is starting to look pretty old Only Debian 6, or Ubuntu 12? – Zoredache Sep 1 '15 at 5:25

I would personally try with rsync and then deal with the errors.


Other than using cloning tools like dd and rsync, you can insert an empty disk in your server in place of one of the current disks. Of course, this can be done if your server is setup with raid. When the disk sync is done, you have a ready spare hard disk.

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