Custom backup installation media

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kuze
Posts: 20
Joined: 2011/08/17 10:45:00

Custom backup installation media

Post by kuze » 2011/08/19 17:07:04

After installing CentOS 6, i have removed many applications, installed some new ones and also got some appropiate drivers installed.

Is it possible to make a backup installation media for my current system.
So, that in case i require a reformat/ reinstall, i do not need to go through all the things all over again.

taylorkh
Posts: 508
Joined: 2010/11/24 15:08:33
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Custom backup installation media

Post by taylorkh » 2011/08/20 14:29:04

Hi kuze,

I use an application called g4l to make snapshots of my OS installation. It does not make a reinstall CD but it does allow the operating system with all its configurations and customizations to be restored to the hard drive in just a few minutes. Here is how I have my system partitioned. It make backup and restore granular and quick.

sda1 - / (10 GB) I back this up monthly with g4l
sda2 - /home (20 GB) I back this up monthly with g4l and I do a nightly tar/gzip backup of my profile /home/ken to the second hard drive
sda3 - swap (9 GB) I do not back this up of course
sda4 - /data (the rest of the drive) I copy selected directories from this partition to a 7 day rolling backup on the second drive

sdb1 - /quitelarge (750 GB) this is where I store VMWare virtual machines, non-critical data or data which is backed up occasionally to my server. I also store backups from the primary drive here

g4l works great for me and it has saved my butt many times. The only limitation I have come across is that it will not backup an ext4 partition (although it will backup TO an ext4 partition). Perhaps a more current version will. I have not investigated extensively. I just do not install my OS to ext4.

There are several other similar programs available. Clonezilla and partimage come to mind. I have had good luck with g4l and have never had the need to try something else.

A couple of other things to consider...

sfdisk will allow you to backup the partition layout of your hard drive.
dd if=/dev/sda of=backup-sda.mbr count=1 bs=512 will allow you to backup your master boot record.

These pieces might be usefull if you have to do a cold iron restore.

Ken

kuze
Posts: 20
Joined: 2011/08/17 10:45:00

Re: Custom backup installation media

Post by kuze » 2011/08/22 10:01:12

You reply is very useful. Thank-you. :)

Im using ext4. So, i guess g4l wont work.
If i have backups of MBR, Partition layout & the partition itself. Then in event of hdd crash. I should first, using a livecd, restore partition layout, then the partition and then the MBR?

btw, the method to create custom installation media that i was asking for is, i think, this https://projects.centos.org/trac/livecd/
i am looking into it further. However, nothing is mentioned for centos 6 .
Has anyone tried this?

taylorkh
Posts: 508
Joined: 2010/11/24 15:08:33
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Custom backup installation media

Post by taylorkh » 2011/08/22 12:44:22

Glad I could help. I need to try again with ext4 and the latest version of g4l. I have just gotten into the habit of using ext3 for the OS and ext4 for LARGE data partitions.

Your restoration process sounds reasonable. If you have a spare hard drive available it might be worth giving it a try. Total hard drive failures are sort of rare these days. I have found that I myself am a more likely threat :-D If I install something which does not work correctly or hoses something else it is nice to be able to quickly restore the OS. In the event of a hard drive failure, or the entire PC for that matter, I am more concerned with preserving my data. I can always access the data on another machine until the original is rebuilt or replaced.

The idea of creating a custom live CD is neat. However, as you add more programs and more customizations to your PC you will face a challenge of keeping the live CD matched to your configuration.

Ken

taylorkh
Posts: 508
Joined: 2010/11/24 15:08:33
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Custom backup installation media

Post by taylorkh » 2011/08/22 13:29:09

I just tried the latest g4l, version 0.37, and it seems it does NOT support backing up ext4. I have done a little searching and I believe the issue is with partimage which is used with g4l. It does not do ext4. On the other hand I found several references stating that clonezilla handles ext4. I will have to give it a try.

Ken

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TrevorH
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Custom backup installation media

Post by TrevorH » 2011/08/22 13:46:42

Pretty sure clonezilla uses partimage too

taylorkh
Posts: 508
Joined: 2010/11/24 15:08:33
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Custom backup installation media

Post by taylorkh » 2011/08/22 14:00:17

Clonezilla seems to have something called partclone which is supposed to handle ext4. And, based on a test which I just completed, it will backup and restore an ext4 partition.

I have g4l burned to a couple of USB flash drives which are really fast and convenient. I do not know if that can be done with clonezilla. To be honest I have not looked into the question.

Ken

kuze
Posts: 20
Joined: 2011/08/17 10:45:00

Re: Custom backup installation media

Post by kuze » 2011/08/23 10:40:28

[quote]taylorkh wrote:
I just tried the latest g4l, version 0.37, and it seems it does NOT support backing up ext4. I have done a little searching and I believe the issue is with partimage which is used with g4l. It does not do ext4. On the other hand I found several references stating that clonezilla handles ext4. I will have to give it a try.
.....
Clonezilla seems to have something called partclone which is supposed to handle ext4. And, based on a test which I just completed, it will backup and restore an ext4 partition.[/quote]
Thank-you for checking whether g4l & Clonezilla, have support for ext4. (saved my time) :-)

The [url=https://projects.centos.org/trac/livecd/wiki]CentOS LiveCD[/url] project does not seem to be update-to-date. Its only for CentOS 5.
However, i gave it a try, and added this [url=https://projects.centos.org/trac/livecd/wiki/GetToolset]LiveCD repo[/url], but unable to install the liveCD-tools
[code]# yum install livecd-tools syslinux anaconda-runtime
..........
Package anaconda-13.21.82-1.el6.centos.1.i686 already installed and latest version
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package livecd-tools.i386 0:014-8 set to be updated
--> Processing Dependency: python(abi) = 2.4 for package: livecd-tools-014-8.i386
---> Package syslinux.i386 0:3.86-3 set to be updated
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Error: Package: livecd-tools-014-8.i386 (livecd)
Requires: python(abi) = 2.4
Installed: python-2.6.5-3.el6_0.2.i686 (@updates)
python(abi) = 2.6
Available: python-2.6.5-3.el6.i686 (base)
python(abi) = 2.6[/code]
It is asking for an oldversion of python.
I hope the project comes at par with current CentOS version soon. In the meantime, i will try out clonezilla.

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