[CentOS] Transferring system to new drive

Tom H tomh0665 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 14 12:13:53 EDT 2010

On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 9:39 AM, Scott Robbins <scottro at nyc.rr.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 09:03:13AM -0400, Robert Heller wrote:
>> At Tue, 14 Sep 2010 13:12:46 +0100 CentOS mailing list <centos at centos.org> wrote:
>> >
>> > Is there a document with instructions for this?
>> > I've had smartd warnings that a hard disk in my server is sick,
>> > so I am installing a new drive (in addition to the old).
>> Here is an article I wrote about doing this:
>> http://www.deepsoft.com/2009/01/how-to-transfer-a-linux-system-from-one-disk-to-another/
> As someone who came from FreeBSD, dump restore was always considered
> best there.  Hoewver, I've heard (though not deeply investigated), that
> due to various things in the Linux kernel, dump restore isn't the best
> approach for Linux, and there will be metadata loss.  DISCLAIMER--this
> isn't something I've really looked into, however last time I was going
> to do it, I saw enoughw warnings about it to make me look for another
> method.  If Robert has been doing it successfully, then, chances are
> he's right.  (Perhaps these changes in the Linux kernel are newer than
> the CentOS kernel.)

FWIW, I only use dump/restore on unmounted or mounted read-only filesystems

There was the email below (old, I know, but probably the source of the
"dump restore isn't the best approach for Linux" thought):

From: Linus Torvalds
To: Neil Conway
Subject: Re: [PATCH] SMP race in ext2 - metadata corruption.
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 09:59:46 -0700 (PDT)
Cc: Kernel Mailing List <linux-kernel At vger Dot kernel Dot org>

[ linux-kernel added back as a cc ]

On Fri, 27 Apr 2001, Neil Conway wrote:
> I'm surprised that dump is deprecated (by you at least ;-)).  What to
> use instead for backups on machines that can't umount disks regularly?

Note that dump simply won't work reliably at all even in 2.4.x: the buffer
cache and the page cache (where all the actual data is) are not
coherent. This is only going to get even worse in 2.5.x, when the
directories are moved into the page cache as well.

So anybody who depends on "dump" getting backups right is already playing
Russian roulette with their backups. It's not at all guaranteed to get the
right results - you may end up having stale data in the buffer cache that
ends up being "backed up".

Dump was a stupid program in the first place. Leave it behind.

> I've always thought "tar" was a bit undesirable (updates atimes or
> ctimes for example).

Right now, the cpio/tar/xxx solutions are definitely the best ones, and
will work on multiple filesystems (another limitation of "dump"). Whatever
problems they have, they are still better than the _guaranteed_(*)  data
corruptions of "dump".

However, it may be that in the long run it would be advantageous to have a
"filesystem maintenance interface" for doing things like backups and


(*) Dump may work fine for you a thousand times. But it _will_ fail under
the right circumstances. And there is nothing you can do about it.

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