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Thread: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

  1. #1
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    Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    Hi,

    Do you think its a good idea to clone the installation so that it can be restored later ? or

    Is it a waste of disk space coz Linux is stable and (almost) free of malware ?

    Do you guys do it ?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    I do not bother with cloning. This ain't Windows with license keys.
    Just backups of files, settings, and list of packages to install. This saves about 4G of backup storage per system. One of my system backups has 120 days that can be restored and is less than 100MB total storage. That system doesn't really have any data, just settings, hence how it is so efficient on the backups.

    A fresh install takes 15 min, restoring my settings and files another 15 min. rdiff-backup is amazing at being efficient with storage for many versions of daily backups. Generally have 60-120 days of backups for every system (about 30) here. All of the backups fit on a single 500G partition. I can't imaging how much storage and TIME it would require to do the same via an image solution.
    Last edited by TheFu; May 12th, 2014 at 03:13 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    IMO: Every single person out there should backup whenever possible and keep clone of clean successful install with all his/her software. It wont even take 10 GB to do that and it saves you from hours of frustration. Irrespective of whether you're doing update or fresh install, it is must.
    Oh, yeah, it applies to every OS out here, not just Linux.

  4. #4
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    I backup /home (separate partition on its own drive), and anything in /etc or elsewhere that I've changed.

    I don't clone or otherwise try to make a bootable recovery image of the entire system because it's easier just to reinstall from an ISO image, retaining /home, and bring over my edits from /etc and elsewhere from the backup. (Your list of sources, including any added PPA's, is in /etc/apt, so I just backup up that entire directory.)

    I try to remember to keep an updated list of all installed packages (dpkq-query -l). Somewhere I have a script that will compare that list to a similar list, and install the packages in the former that are not in the latter. Handy on a new install when I want to install packages I'd added to the old install.

    I don't use any kind of compression scheme with my backup, which would require decompression to find and restore files. I just keep everything in the filesystem. (I use LuckyBackup, which is a GUI wrapper that builds an rsync cron job.)

  5. #5
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    So far I've only cloned Windows boxes, but that may be due to having a nasty experience the last time I tried to clone a *nix box and having it blow up. Then again.. that was years ago... but I've not tried it since.

    If anything you should keep a copy of installed packages and your home directory and that should be all you need to do to get a clean install back to it's regular state.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    I regularly back-up my data, but that's it.

    Still, I think that having a backup image of the entire system is a great idea. I would certainly not advise against it, even if I don't do it myself.

  7. #7
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    It is well worth the time and cost to get a drive of the same size or bigger, and test that restore works. Otherwise your backup/clone might give you a false peace of mind.

  8. #8
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    I backup my music and documents to SpiderOak and video files to DVDs so the only thing that remains is the installation with the extra packages that I have selected and my settings. The reason I wanna take monthly snapshots is that the snapshots will include all the packages and the software updates. If choose the other path that is do a clean install and restore the packages from a list it will require a lot of bandwidth depending on the number of packages and also the amount of software updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by sudodus View Post
    It is well worth the time and cost to get a drive of the same size or bigger, and test that restore works. Otherwise your backup/clone might give you a false peace of mind.
    These are my partitions. I have downloaded CloneZilla. I have used Norton Ghost a long time back. IIRC NG lets you clone a disk to a file and later you can restore from it. I am expecting something similar from CloneZilla. I will just clone my / and save the file to my /home. Now, how am I going to test the restoration process ? I have no idea. I guess I will wait until I do something really weird and unrecoverable and then I will test it. If it doesnt work I will go for a clean install.

    Code:
    # parted -l
    Model: ATA ST3160215AS (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sda: 160GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    Disk Flags: 
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    File system     Name  Flags
     1      1049kB  30.0GB  30.0GB  ext4
     2      30.0GB  156GB   126GB   ext4
     3      156GB   160GB   3999MB  linux-swap(v1)
    Last edited by linuxyogi; May 12th, 2014 at 05:19 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    Just backup your data.

    One day when your computer goes to pot and you get a new one, or fix it, you would like to install the latest version of Linux anyway, not an old stale version.

  10. #10
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    Re: Do you backup/clone your installation ?

    Quote Originally Posted by linuxyogi View Post
    I backup my music and documents to SpiderOak and video files to DVDs so the only thing that remains is the installation with the extra packages that I have selected and my settings. The reason I wanna take monthly snapshots is that the snapshots will include all the packages and the software updates. If choose the other path that is do a clean install and restore the packages from a list it will require a lot of bandwidth depending on the number of packages and also the amount of software updates.



    These are my partitions. I have downloaded CloneZilla. I have used Norton Ghost a long time back. IIRC NG lets you clone a disk to a file and later you can restore from it. I am expecting something similar from CloneZilla.
    Yes. Use Clonezilla to make a [compressed] image of the drive or partition(s). The image is a directory with a number of files. The default directory name contains the date and hour when the imaging process started.
    I will just clone my / and save the file to my /home. Now, how am I going to test the restoration process ? I have no idea. I guess I will wait until I do something really weird and unrecoverable and then I will test it. If it doesnt work I will go for a clean install.

    Code:
    # parted -l
    Model: ATA ST3160215AS (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sda: 160GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    Disk Flags: 
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    File system     Name  Flags
     1      1049kB  30.0GB  30.0GB  ext4
     2      30.0GB  156GB   126GB   ext4
     3      156GB   160GB   3999MB  linux-swap(v1)
    If you only backup your root partition, you can store it in /home, but I would recommend to store it somewhere else, for example in an external disk, that is not connected to the computer except when you make your new image. And you should have at least one image of the whole drive. Later on you can make images of only the root partition.

    You need a third drive of the same or bigger size than the original drive. Replace the original drive with this new drive and select restore in Clonezilla. Reboot and test that the system works as it should when running from the new (and cloned) drive. If you make an image only of the root partition, you need the whole drive with bootloader, partition table, swap partition and the home partition for this test to work.

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