Complete backup of Linux install

Stuart Jansen sjansen at buscaluz.org
Mon Nov 21 11:06:47 MST 2005


On Mon, 2005-11-21 at 10:59 -0700, Kenneth Burgener wrote:
> I want to make a complete backup image of my Linux Server install.  Is 
> there a suggested tool for this?  I want be able to at any point wipe 
> the system out and get my system running quickly with the backup image.
> 
> Will Symantec Norton Ghost 10.0 this?  I noticed I could get Norton 
> Ghost for free after rebates today [1], and am trying to decide if this 
> is a good option for what I am trying to do.
> 
> I am sure someone will suggest something like using "dd" to make the 
> image, but I am not sure I want to store a 50GB image of the entire 
> disk, when the OS, applications, and data combined only take 700MB.  I 
> think I have heard that there are imaging tools that will just backup 
> actually used bytes on the disk instead of the entire disk, including 
> empty free space.
> 
> I also have a Windows desktop that I need to backup, so a tool that will 
> do both Linux and Windows images would be best.
> 
> Suggestions would be very much appreciated.

It'd be slow, but dd can create a sparse image. In other words, if you
have only 700 MB of data, it'll create a file that claims to be 50 GB
but only takes 700MB on disk. Of course, that only works on filesystems
that support sparse files.

Alternatively, in the simple and free department, cpio, gnu tar, and
star can all create a full backup. Each has it's advantages and
disadvantages.

All of the above work wonderfully for backing up Windows FAT
filesystems. Better than Windows tools, in the experience of a former
co-worker. Not sure about NTFS, however.

I use rsnapshot for my backups.

The problem with using Ghost is that you have to have a copy of Ghost to
restore. So be sure to include it with the backup. Myself, I don't like
being held hostage by proprietary software if I can avoid it.

-- 
Stuart Jansen              e-mail/jabber: sjansen at buscaluz.org
                           google talk:   stuart.jansen at gmail.com
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