Universal Live Linux Backup

I’m I strong believer of making backups of backups, etc.. But not willing to down my LinuxMCE server for ‘x’ amount of hours/days to do it. I used to use Seagate DiscWizard to do it in 8.10, but 10.04 only comes up with kernel errors and I gave up. So I’ve come up with a few other ways of doing it, although some of them are more appropriate to use for milestones or once offs due to the mucking around required to do it.

Live Media RAID backup

This was easiest, I just peiced together a server with enough storage space to hold every thing. PXE boot the server and setup it up as an additional unmanaged MD. From there you can either manually create a software RAID or try to do it in the Admin webpage. I tried the Admin, which kept failing the drives, so I ended up manually creating it.

Rsync was the preferred program to copy the data, because it picks up where it left off if you need to stop it and restart later. I’ve also added the rsync copy to the boot up scripts so it automatically starts when the MD starts, when it’s finished it shuts down. With it setup this way you can use LinuceMCE timed events to schedule a backup every day/week, then turn off when done.

NOTE: You may want to rate limit your transfers or you may notice orbiter/MD’s randomly dropping out – Like I did.

Live Root HDD Backup

This was trickier because I want to take an image of the HDD and not just copy the files. The reason why is because in the worst case senario I want to be able to move it back to a new physical HDD, boot it up and walk away. After trying for many weeks on and off trying to get Trueimage to work on it I gave up, and then remembered about VMware vCenter Converter. This is the long winded once off/milestone backup way.

Used a windows 7 PC with VMware Workstation (with an ESXi virtual machine on it)and VMware vCenter Converter to grab an image of the turned on and working LinuxMCE server and convert it to a virtual machine on the ESXi virtual server. Then use VMware vCenter Converter again to convert it to a VMX for storage to external media.

In summary: LinuxMCE ->ESXi -> VMX ->Backup Media.


1 + 2 Create ESX virtual machine and use the converter to copy the physical image to a ESX virtual machine.

3 + 4 Convert ESX virtual machine to a workstation/player version, which results in the VMX files (5)

It took overnight but worked out ok. perhaps it’s not so long winded, it’s just a 2 pass backup 🙂


One thought on “Universal Live Linux Backup

  1. 10-6-12 – Sigh, apparently “Delete Raid” doesn’t mean remove it’s ID and forget it in the Admin webpage for LinuxMCE (it’s a little more thorough), so atleast I made a backup 😉

    PS the rsync used was this: rsync -avz -e ssh root@ /home/public/data
    And this webpage has some great tips for software RAID speed increases: http://www.jayakumar.org/general/improve-linux-raid-rebuildresync-speed/
    Rebuild went from ~1100k -> ~117000k/s (from 50hrs+ to less than 5hrs).

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