While looking at ways to virtualise (to KVM) an old, lightly used Linux server (to which I have root, but not physical access), I came acrossthis post which mentions a command I'm unfamiliar with - "dump".

I have questions about this command which the man page does not seem to address, and my Google Foo may be to weak. Can anyone advise -

  1. Does "dump" work with EXT4 partitions (the manuals talk about ext2 and ext2/ext3 partitions).

  2. Does the target partition need to be the same size as the source partition, or can it be smaller then the source partition (but larger then the used space?)

  3. Does dump provide better guarantees of consistency then simply copying a live block device and doing a chkdsk?

  • Do you not have access to an IPMI console or something similar? – Michael Hampton Jan 30 '18 at 21:15
  • No IPMI console or equivalent. – davidgo Jan 30 '18 at 22:35

dump is a very old - dating back to the early 80's - AT&T UNIX command originally intended to enable incremental backups, with a level 0 dump being a full backup. In regards to your intended use case and questions:

  1. Yes. ext4 should be supported.
  2. dump operates on a file-by-file basis so you should only need the space equivalent to your source.
  3. No guarantees whatsoever.

Further down in the link you provided, there's a suggestion of rsyncing to a fresh partition. This is the option I would be exploring.

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