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Drive Clone

Posted on 2011-04-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Looking for a good inexpensive (free?) drive cloner.  Might be hard to find something as cheaply as I want as here's what I'm doing - I have a new server that's being re-purposed.  It has a 230 something GB OS volume in  RAID 1. That's it's only volume.  I've got two 128GB drives I want to put in RAID 1 and copy the system drive to.  I then want to break the original RAID and use the two 230 something GB drives as separate volumes.

As far as I can tell this isn't going to work very easily due to the RAIDs.  The only way I could think of this working is using some bootable software, dump an image of the OS volume onto some external media, break the old RAID, create the new, and apply the image to the new RAID (which is of a smaller size than the original)

If it's too much work then I'll just start from scratch, which I'd rather not do, but I can.

Question by:JamesonJendreas
  • 2
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

David earned 2000 total points
ID: 35426254
With RAID controllers all bets are off.  Many contain metadata at first few MB on the disk, some have at the end, some both.  Of course, the layout is vendor/product and sometimes firmware-specific.

That is why when you migrate you have to be careful to purchase software like ghost that has drivers for your controller.

Furthermore, since the size of the metadata varies, moving between raid/nonraid/and different controllers means you may find yourself with fewer blocks available to even do a migration.  Plus the boot block & partitioning sizes change.

If this was non-RAID, then you could simply boot to ubuntu using a live CD or USB, and do
dd if=/dev/sourcediskpath  of=/dev/destdiskpath   bs=64k        Which would byte copy 64KB at a time.  but would it actually work, and deal

Or download freebie for linux called clonezilla if you want hand holding.

Also breaking the RAID is risky, as you can't prevent a drive failure during the rebuild (which is I/O intensive, and you will be reading blocks that the disk possibly hasn't read in years, so no way of knowing if the disk will fail when it sees those rusty old blocks).   ALso you can have a brand new unreadable block at any time.

Odds, of course, favor this won't happen. but do a search in EE and there is probably at least a weekly post from somebody who typically loses everything when this happens.   They thought it would be OK too :(

(But of course the people who got lucky don't report problems, so keep that in mind).

Only you can answer the question if this is worth the risk.  Even I use backup software on some critical windows machines and my mac.  I don't want to deal with the consequences either.

Author Comment

ID: 35426311
Well luckily if I have to start from scratch it isn't really that big of a deal.  The main 'risk' is wasted time.  The main thing is thing is a brand new server that isn't in my production environment yet - but is fully setup to be, and takes a good deal of time to get it ready for it's application.  If I could clone the drive, it would likely save me half a day of setup.  But I'm not too sure if I want to spend the time attempting a clone, have it not work, and then just have to start from scratch anyway.

You pretty much gave me what I expected, I was hoping someone knew of some new-fangled software that could do the trick.   Live by your RAID, die by your RAID I guess :)

I'm going to leave the ticket open for a bit more in case anyone else has 2 cents to throw in, but I doubt I'll get much (fishing expedition!)

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35426383
Over it, I'll just start from scratch

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