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GSS Cloning with a Live OS

Created: 16 Oct 2012 | 13 comments

Hello,

I was wondering if Ghost Solution Suite allows for a Clone to be made with a Live Operating System.

 

I need to clone our Windows Server 2008 R2 system, and was wondering whether this was possible. If not, how do I go about cloning the system?

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EdT's picture

Ghost is not intended for cloning server operating systems.

Backup tools such as Backup Exec System Recovery are designed to work with server products where you need to create a backup of a Live operating system.

Although Ghost can do "Hot imaging" of desktop operating systems, I would always recommend that any clone operation is performed with the target system shut down, and the imaging tool booted with WinPE or another independent operating system.

Please bear in mind that when you clone 2008 R2, you are going to need to relicense it, so if you have a KMS server, or use a volume MAK key, no problem. Also, as R2 and Windows 7 share the same codebase, I would expect that you would need to clone BOTH partitions created during installation.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

DavidC1988's picture

Hi EdT,

The goal for the clone is to have a copy, as we will be putting on server 2003 for a short period of time, then putting server 2008 back on (not intended for multiple system use at all). Would this not work? Will we need to relicense it?

Would it be easier to just create a Virtual Machine with Server 2003 than cloning, imaging, formatting, re-deploy the clone, etc etc?

 

 

EdT's picture

Restoring the image to the same hardware as it came from **should** be trouble free, but frankly if you have the capacity to run a VM with server 2003 then that is definitely the best route to follow in my opinion, as it does not affect your current setup and both operating systems are available on demand.

Given the low cost of disk, you could also consider whether just sticking in a standalone disk to run Server 2K3 in place of the existing disk(s) might also be a solution. A dual boot implementation is also a viable solution for this.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

DavidC1988's picture

See, since I need to get data from an HP LTO tape, and we are using Hyper-V, it does not work together. I read that the drive needs to be using iSCSI, not SCSI like we are using, to work. So this idea kind of goes out the window. 

What would you suggest, other than cloning, to duplicate a system (as close to 100% as possible)? Is there a step by step process somewhere for doing this?

EdT's picture

I am unaware of any Ghost process that guarantees a viable backup for your configuration, and so I would suggest either building a 2003 server machine on desktop hardware, or temporarily replacing the hard disk in your server and building it with 2003. That has to be a safer and quicker solution that avoids risking the existing build on your server.

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

DavidC1988's picture

Just keeps getting harder and harder to find a way to do this. We have other servers running Server 2003, with an LTO drive, I do not believe we can use it because it is a production environment that the company is running on. I do not believe we have another hard disk. I know my boss called around to see if there are any companies who restore from tape drives, but seems they are few and far between in Canada. Thanks for your help.

EdT's picture

> I do not believe we have another hard disk

Go down to your local Walmart and pick up a cheap hard disk. Got to be cheaper than paying another company to do your data recovery or spending hours backing up and restoring server hard disk arrays.

Or look on eBay. 

 

 

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

DavidC1988's picture

Quick Question EdT, would GSS be useful to create an IMAGE of a system to redeploy later? Seems my thought of cloning and imaging being the same was wrong. 

EdT's picture

Ghost has many different command line options which control how the imaging is carried out. Partition imaging basically makes a record of all the files in a partition and the partition structure, but unused sectors are not recorded. Thus a partition image can be quite small if the source disk only contains the operating system but no installed apps or data.

A disk image, on the other hand, makes a sector by sector record of the hard disk, regardless of whether the sector is used or not, so the size of the image is the same as the size of the hard disk, unless compression is used. There are other switches - for example -ib is often recommended when imaging Lenovo machines as their boot sector is non standard.

Depending on the hardware, a certain amount of experimentation may be required in order to find the combination of arguments that works. This is quite straightforward where you have at least two sets of hard disks as you can use one as the source of the completed image, and then use the other for test restores to find the combination that works. Generally, the defaults prove to be adequate but in your situation, where you are imaging a server O/S and don't have a spare test platform to test the image you have taken, there is a significant probability that you would end up with an image that does not work when restored for reasons that were not predictable ahead of time.  Servers also add another layer of complication, as you would be using WinPE as a boot environment, and would need to provide drivers for your hard disk subsystem in order for WinPE to be able to read the disks. Since WinPE V2 is based on the Vista kernel, and Vista was never sold as a server operating system, it is unusual for servers to provide Vista 32 bit drivers, which is what WinPE requires.

 

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

David.C's picture

Seems that there may be more issues doing an image with GSS than once thought.

 

What would you suggest for getting an image of a server? Have you tried using Windows Server Back feature, if so, how was your experience with it?

EdT's picture

I am predominantly a desktop person, so do not have any direct experience of server backup software. As I mentioned earlier, Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery is written for server platforms, but if you want to look at the cheap end of the market, the Paragon Partition Manager 2012 release may be worth looking at, as it's 15-20 dollars and based on WinPE. Again, my experience was with a desktop machine, but it was able to clone Win 7 from a 128Gb SSD to a 256Gb SSD without any issues. Since server 2008 R2 is based on the same codeset as Win 7, I would expect it to have a similar "dual partition" architecture to Win 7.

There is a separate forum for Backup Exec so if you want to ask specific questions about this tool in the context of your requirement, please post there as well.

 

If your issue has been solved, please use the "Mark as Solution" link on the most relevant thread.

David.C's picture

We have Symantec Backup Exec, but not the System Recovery (I do not believe) which does daily backups of files. I am still trying to figure out the best way, and will look into that Paragon Partition Manager 2012.