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Moving RHEL 3 install to new hardware

Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-03-04
I'll attempt to avoid a very long explanation of exactly why we need to do this, but basically we need to move an application and its database to older hardware because the app has been obsoleted, but needs to be available for historical lookups. The app is currently sitting on hardware that is *much* too powerful to only serve historical lookups once or twice a month. We also happen to have several new services that we will be implenting that could make better use of the existing hardware. Unfortunately, we do not have support from the company that developed this database application, so we want to *move* the existing install rather than try to install the O/S on a new machine and attempt to migrate the application.

At any rate, the system is a dual-proc Xeon with RAID 5 and is running RHEL 3 and DB/2. We are hoping to move the service to a small, dated Dell box without RAID. (Remember, we have backups and no new transactions are being written to the database. This box is not necessarily going to be mission critical.)

This is the procedure we're currently looking at:

1: Attach target drive via SCSI bus or via external drive enclosure.

2: Boot server off of a Linux live CD.

3: Check the contents of /dev and 'dmesg' to ensure drives are properly

4: Either a) 'dd' data from source drive to target drive, dumping partitions, MBR, and all, or b) format matching partitions and then 'cp -Rp' data and then reinstall boot loader from RHEL 3 CD.

5. Install target drive in replacement system. Attempt boot. If boot is
unsuccessful, make note of errors, boot off live CD, mount the necessary
partition, and edit appropriate configs, address driver module issues,
etc. Repeat as necessary.

Unfortuantely, RHEL 3 does not include the 2.6 kernel or hotplug, which could make things difficult to configure once the data is in the new box.

Does anyone have any recommendations? We're glad to hear what suggestions others may have as we hope to make this as painless as possible.
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I'd suggest dd'ing instead of cp -Rp; attach the drive and dd over to the data partition (/dev/sdb3 or whatever). Keep that as a backup and then try to install 2.6 and hotplug -- I've moved hard drives to new hardware and found that RH's autodiscovery stuff (forget the name of it...) found everything on the new hardware. I've only done that on desktops and never with RHEL, so I don't know that it'd work (which is why I say do a dd and try it)

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    DD should work fine. However, if you are concerned about the kernel, why don't you do an upgrade of kernel in the current server? (make sure it's backed up of course) Then create your own custom live CD? Look at http://www.phenix.bnl.gov/~purschke/RescueCD/ for details.

For the hardware, kudzu (the name of the autodiscovery stuff) should take care of it and detect the changes.
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