[kwlug-disc] Cloning a physical server

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Fri Jul 16 20:40:03 EDT 2010

Time to upgrade a server via the proverbial forklift operation: a new server
comes in, and need to copy the existing server to it before
de-commissioning/re-purposing the old server.

Normally, on a regular LAMP server, it would be an opportunity to clean
things up by doing a fresh install and configuring the few bits that need to
be done manually, then just copying the data portion(s).

In this case, this server is quite complex and has been running for several
years with lots of stuff on it, not just LAMP. Therefore a fresh install is
less desirable.

Normally, if the hardware is similar, it is a no brainer: just use dump on
the old server and restore on the new one, and you are done.

The old concerns about /dev no longer apply, because now it is a dev is a
tmpfs so it is not backed up by dump. However, in this case the hardware is
a bit different, and therefore I am concerned about things in udev, modules,
...etc. being restored over from the older server's dump. That would
overwrite configurations for devices such as MAC addresses and such. For
modules, there could be differences too.

Is this concern valid? Or should I just copy over everything and not care
much? What about udev and modules in that case?

This is Ubuntu, so Debian advice will work too.
Generic non-distro-specific advice welcome too (e.g. you used cpio instead
of dump/restore).

Thoughts? Ideas?
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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