[Dirvish] Has anybody successfully restored a Linux OS (f.i., Ubuntu) with Dirvish?

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Sun Jun 20 07:36:05 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 08:31:31PM +0200, JPH wrote:
> It is virtually impossible to do a full restore without doing some 
> serious after work. The problem is at least that your boot sector is not 
> being backed up, and if it would be, it'd be most probably useless 
> because the file layout on disk has changed. Another problem you'll run 
> in to with Ubuntu is that the filesystem's UUID's have changed during 
> format.

While I don't know how Grub-2 does things, with Grub-1 I name the
partitions and use those names in fstab.  I also do recovery in
a script (running on a second machine) that does the format and
grub install.   My full-disk restores are automated, so they use
clock time but not a lot of serious user time, beyond decisions
as to what to restore.

Also, when I buy a disk for installation, I buy an identical 
spare.  They are cheap enough, and that saves the trouble of 
deciding how to adapt to a different drive size.

The original questioner was thinking ahead - when you need to do
a full disk restore, it always happens at an inconvenient time.
Thus, it is good to have all the scripts written and materials
available, so when that sad day comes the stress is minimized.
That includes setting up the original disk for easiest restore.
Many "features" like UUID partition labels in fstab, or even
LVM (without proper tools for rebuilding) can get in the way
of restore, without much more sophisticated scripts to do the

Note, many recovery steps are aided by swap enclosures.  Another
way to quicken recovery is to save the first few kilobytes of
each drive, df information, and sfdisk information with every

Yet another aid is to put three partitions on each backup drive,
with a small bootable OS partition and swap.  When I build a
new backup drive, I typically just "dd" the OS partition from
an older backup drive to a newer one.  With a two-drive system,
that can be done by dd-ing the old partition to a file, then
"dd" again onto the new drive OS partition. 

My worst case was a drive failure on my laptop the night
before a plane flight and a long trip.  With all the
automation in place, it was a simple matter of putting the
spare laptop drive in a swap tray in a 2 drive system,
booting from the backup drive, starting the script, and
going to bed.  A few hours later, I had a drive ready to
swap into the laptop.  On the plane, I loaded the failed
hard drive into a second drive bay on my laptop, and was
able to recover most of the files I had worked on the day
before the failure.

Many of these features should be in a new program which
might be called "divish-restore-ultra".  A better programmer
than I can write it.  Similarly, perhaps someone can write
a guide to setting up a computer for maximum dirvish/rsync
friendliness.  But those hypothetical people have more time
than I do.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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