I am currently wanting to set up new clusters.

Each cluster is defined by its software installed, software settings, and its home folder files.

I want only the above to be cloned and not things like:

  • /etc/network/interfaces
  • /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  • /etc/hostname

And please help with other things that need to be unique so that not to cause the system to malfunction? For example when reading this article on tar backups, I noticed that they said not to include

"/proc, /sys, /mnt, /media, /run and /dev directories in root"

So what I am wanting to be able to do is, create a new ubuntu 14.04 LTS server from scaleway.com and send a .tar across with all the system files needed above. After that I will be expected to customise the /etc/network/interfaces, /etc/ssh/sshd_config, /etc/hostname and whatever else you think I need to(?) And then I would like to use sshfs to keep all the important system files (as mentioned above) between the clusters, in sync that I may want to edit in the future.

I tried backing up the main cluster like this:

sudo tar -cvpzf /fullBackup.tar.gz --one-file-system --exclude=/proc exclude=/tmp --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/dev --exclude=/sys /

and then running this on the new scaleway.com cluster after moving fullBackup.tar.gz:

sudo tar -xvpzf /fullBackup.tar.gz -C / --numeric-owner 

but I just start recieving lots of Exec format errors? (I think it may have something to do with the ARM architecture from a PI to a scaleway.com server [an issue that I want to irradicate]) This is an example of backing up way to much.

2 Answers 2


I would recommend that you use a configuration management system like Puppet, Chef, Ansible, etc. to install your servers. Ansible is the easiest to set-up and does everything over SSH connections.

You can use solutions like DRBD to keep the directories that need to be exactly the same in sync (customer / website data).

  • So ansible basically runs an ssh command on each device?
    – maxisme
    Sep 3, 2015 at 15:33
  • You make a recipe and Ansible will make sure the server configuration is the same as the recipe. It will run SSH commands to do so.
    – Jeroen
    Sep 4, 2015 at 7:27
  • Okay great, but how do I go about migrating this system first?
    – maxisme
    Sep 6, 2015 at 21:42
  • ansible can run locally as well -- no ssh required
    – chicks
    Sep 6, 2015 at 21:43
  • As well as keeping the systems in sync. When I add a new system what am I supposed to do? My issue is that I already have 2 clusters working on a raspberry pi. I now want to add another system but one from scaleaway. How do I migrate it?
    – maxisme
    Sep 6, 2015 at 21:46

I had a similar case: installing OS, configuring os (IP Address, sshd, kernel modules), custom software (only tgz files, no rpm). My solution was:

  • Create custom live cd with configured sshd and root password (i used livecd-tools)
  • Boot servers using PXE boot.
  • Create a script, that connects to the booted server and configures it.

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