RHEL Backup and Bare Metal Recovery to New Hardware

I have been tasked with moving 5 RHEL 4 Upg 8 Servers from one customer's data center to a different customer's data center.  Of course, the hardware will be diifferent from the source to the destination.

I noticed that Acronis handles bare metal restore if the HW is exactly the same.  However, it does not support recovery to different hardware.

I will provide the source SEs with a USB drive to store the backup.  I then need to take that USB drive to the destination for restore.  The source systems are old IBM Blade Servers (HS21) and the new servers will be DELL.

Do you have any advice or suggestions on the best way for me to accomplish this?  
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It is very difficult for any Backup software to backup Full os and to restore it on Different hardware, If you do have a Network connectivity then "rsync" will be best option but to copy full os will require lot of time and bandwidth. Another option you can try backup/restore with tar command at least it worked for me many times!

Following is the procedure to take Full OS backup.

Create a file /backup/excluded add following directories to it which you don't want to backup/restore on target server
<you need to identify more dir which will b different or not required like "/lib as it contains drivers>"

# cd /backup
# tar -cvzf Full-OS-Backup.tar.gz / -X /backup/excluded

Now copy this "Full-OS-Backup.tar.gz" on your pen drive and then extract it on target server's /
Julian ParkerSenior Systems AdministratorCommented:
If it were me I'd do the whole system extept for /proc, /sys and /dev (and possibly the backup directory) then boot from the rescue media and create all the filesystems before restoring the whole lot back.

It'll just be a matter of tweaking the drivers for initrd if needed then it should boot fine.
1099GuyAuthor Commented:
Thanks Guys...  I should have mentioned (although you've probably already cocluded) that I am not a RHEL/Unix/Linux SE.  One of my challenges is that my client also does not have a RHEL/Unix/Linux SE on staff.  

When you say 'tweak the drivers' ininitrd, can you provide more details.  

It does sound like the tar approach is best.  I will need to budget for a Unix SE to do the restore though.

I was hoping that there was some sort of simple, best practice, approach.

Any other thoughts?
Julian ParkerSenior Systems AdministratorCommented:
if the hardware is different there may be different scsi/raid controllers the O/S will need to see the boot controller so (for example) you may have something like
   scsi_hostadapter   cciss
in your /etc/modprobe.conf file.

You will need to put the correct entry in the modprobe.conf file for the adapter on your system, if this is just a bog standard PC then you may not need to do anything.

Once you've got the right entry in the file you need to run mkinitrd (read the man pages) to generate the initrd with the correct adapter support in it.

It really isnt too difficult.

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Tweaking the drivers isnt too difficult but might be frustrating for the beginners, I'll still advice you to go with tar backup procedure mentioned in my previous post and on the target  machine you only need to install the OS by selecting the same packages as on the source host (on the source machine wht package were selected at the time of installation can be checked by having a look at anaconda.cfg file located at /root).

Once the new servers are ready extract and replace the original directories with the dir from backup.
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