I am familiar with using rsync for backups on Linux. However, in the event of a hard disk crash, I have been repeatedly told that with a new disk, install a latest version of the OS, then the data created (word processing files, accounting, etc.) then you are back to normal. However, what about all the configuration files stored in /etc and elsewhere? What about the applications I installed which were not part of a yum repo? I don't believe they can simply be copied back over a new installation or on different hardware without overwriting needs files by the OS?
I would greatly appreciate and kind and thoughtful reply to this, because this problem truly bothers me. I don't want to spend a day or two rebuilding a system by trying to remember which configurations need to be changed, cron jobs, applications installed, scripts, etc.
In addition, how do a document what has been installed on a Linux server? Sometimes you install a script, works great, and easily forget it was there. What should the method be? Create a "logbook" of all changes done to the server including each application? Sounds like there needs to be a better method.
Or should I not be using rsync for full backups like this, and look at something else which might do a bare metal store? Thanks in advance for your helpful reply!