Re-Image Server, Backups, etc at host like 1&1

I've a Ubuntu dedicated server at 1&1.   I'm new to Linux.  I do read a lot of HowTo, and sometime when something is not going properly, i read forums and people get these kind of answers: "Did you backuped your data?   There's no uninstall procedure for this software.  You will have to Re-Image and start from scratch"...

I would like to know if it's possible to do an image of the server while it's running, on a 2nd partition, so if anything goes seriously bad, i can reload that image and be up & running in a couple of minutes?  (Keep in mind that i also don't have any access localy to 1&1 datacenter)

One thing i don't understand also about "Re-Image" is, what do they actually re-image?  The whole disk?  Or just the OS partition?

thanks for your help
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Christian de BellefeuilleProgrammerAsked:
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TobiasHolmConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Since the backup should be made while the servers running, I'd recommend using rsync. Create a script to copy your servers system disk and all required data you want in the backup. Then run this script as often as you'd like backup (like once every hour).

Practise to restore the server from this backup so you now how to get the server up'n running in case you need to later.


xeroxzeroxConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi cdebel,

Best option 1:

you can use clonezilla to backup system.
Lots of options available in,full hdd image,single partition image,restore option,etc...

For more details visit

2nd option:
Lots of tool available in site
try FOG also... free.. small and good one.

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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Imaging is a backup of the complete partition. So everything is there. This should be done with the partitions unmounted, that means you should be onsite or have someone onsite provided you don't have a way remote access the systems.

The best thing when your servers are hosted without your direct access to them is to use virtualization, like VMWare's vSphere or KVM that comes with most Linux Distro's. In such a scenario you can shut the OS you have several options for backup. Since you can access the Host remotely, you can just copy the VM's when they are off to some other location, and you have a backup, or you can also start the VM's using a LiveCD iso like CloneZilla mentioned earlier and run the backup from there via your console to the host.
Christian de BellefeuilleProgrammerAuthor Commented:
@rindi: the usage of a VM is probably easier.  But it require more ressources, and i've also no clue how to setup the server so it forward every request made to the host to the guest OS.

@Tobias: rsync is probably the easiest way.  I'm going to give it a try in a virtual machine on Ubuntu localy.  It seems to keep permissions, ownership, etc, so it should be ok.

@xerox: CloneZilla doesn't work if i don't have a physical access to the server

@sandeep: well, Fog seems to use PEX, and that's not something i'm used too at all.   I would be tempted to say that it require a 2nd server on the same LAN or something like that...  which is not actually possible for the moment.  Plus i'm 100% command line at the moment, and Fog seems to be a GUI based app.
A VM does use more resources, but I think today's hardware can normally easily cope with most needs, and the type 1 hypervisors I mentioned are really good.

Although rSync is good for backing up, it isn't an image backup that it does. It's more a file based backup that only backs up the delta's of files after the first backup.
Christian de BellefeuilleProgrammerAuthor Commented:
@rindi:  Do you think that it would work if i do this?

Backup /etc, /home, /var, /root, /srv with rsync
Keep a list of packages i've installed

If something goes wrong, i re-image from 1&1 control panel, then install packages i've installed, then bring back the backup made with rsync, then reboot.  Would it be enough?  

Probably not as efficient as your method with VM's, but since i've no clue how i need to setup the server to make my VM become visible from outside, it would be easier for me.

Does KVM require the GUI?

Do i have to order a 2nd Fixed IP from 1and1 and assign it to the Guest OS to make it visible from outside?
TobiasHolmConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Linux works with just the files and a boot manager, you don't need to image the whole partition. Plus you can copy the files without stopping the server (may not be true if you have open files that are written to during long periods, then you might have to stop those services/functions before the backup/rsync. And SQL DB's needs to be dumped to files or backuped with special commands).

Christian de BellefeuilleProgrammerAuthor Commented:
I need to be carefull, and see what every apps is doing, where it's store it's config, it's data, etc...  so thanks for your help
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