Best procedure for full backup of live system

LoH lordofhyphens at
Thu Oct 15 03:51:24 UTC 2009

Take a UFS2 snapshot and then backup the snapshot. A similar approach 
using ZFS  snapshots would also work.

See the handbook for more details.

Nerius Landys wrote:
> My server is increasingly having important work stored on it, and I
> need to start taking backups of a lot of directories, especially
> /home, /opt, /etc, /usr/local/etc, and maybe others.  The ideal backup
> (and what I've done in the past) is to take a full low-level dd image
> of the disk while the system is down (this is easy to do in a
> situation where you have dual boot).  Or, since the output of dd would
> take up tons of space and would only be usable on an identical hard
> drive, use "dump" to take the backup while the machine is turned off
> (again easy to do on a dual boot).  But now, I cannot bring down the
> machine.  My plan is to do a tar gzip of / on the fly, and pipe that
> to ssh (remote machine).  However, the system is live, and files will
> be in the progress of changing.
> My question is, what is the recommended procedure of taking a full
> backup on a live system?  Ideally, if my hard drive were to crash, I
> would like to have such a backup so as to make it possible to copy
> over the entire backup to a new identical harddrive without doing any
> reinstall or configuration.  Should I use tar/gzip?  dump?  What exact
> command should I use?  I guess I'll back up all of / including system
> files, because there is not too much data.  I will be piping the
> output to ssh.
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