I have heard of snapshots or ghost images like this. But I have never used this kind of tool to actually clone a piece of hard drive. I think Norton Partition Magic can do something like this as well, but haven't tried it.

So my question is this:

How can I duplicate a CRM server application exactly so that I can transfer it to another system? I have a CRM server running LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) and I urgently need to transfer these data to another system without actually installing, configuring the dependencies and then doing the same for the software itself.

Has anyone done this or does anyone know how to do this?

EDIT - I need the tools to be free by the way. I didn't clarify and the example I used may have been unclear.

  • look around on Super User; there are many questions about cloning a hard drive. see for example superuser.com/questions/109451/… or other questions in the clone tag. – quack quixote Jun 7 '10 at 22:31
  • Thanks quack. I didn't see this one before I posted. I will do better searches in the future before posting... – nicorellius Jun 7 '10 at 23:28

The easiest thing you can do is use Vmware Converter and virtualise the server.

Linux has a lot less ties to its hardware compared to Windows, but even still, VMware Converter takes out all the hard work.

On your new (blank) machine, install ESXi Server and copy the files that converter made over to it.

Once your server has been virtualised, it becomes a lot more portable and in the future, upgrading becomes as simple as pausing, copying a few files then resuming. (If you are willing to pay a few thousand, it becomes as simple as a few clicks and you will even have 0 downtime!).

If you do not want to, or can not use ESXi, then Microsoft have Hyper-V Server for free - I am liking this more and more, however, the conversion tools are not as mature (yet, but they are catching up fast!).

  • These appear to be free tools but support can be purchased, yah? If possible, the solution I am looking for would be free (or, well, open source). – nicorellius Jun 7 '10 at 23:27
  • You originally listed pay utilities - these ones as you said are free (and well supported) but you can purchase support directly. Of course, you can always ask help here as well. – William Hilsum Jun 7 '10 at 23:29
  • My apologies... I meant to use that as an example of what I needed. I should have been more clear in the original post. Thanks again! – nicorellius Jun 7 '10 at 23:56
  • @nicorellius I am still a little unclear on what you actually want - What I listed is free to use - you can do what you want with them. Even many open source utilities (well, nearly every open source utility that is completed or near completion) offer paid-for support, but this is in addition to free support.... I am not aware of any other other good utilities that can do what you want. There are hard drive cloning programs, but they are for the hard drive alone on the same machine - you are talking about moving to other hardware which is a completely different task. – William Hilsum Jun 8 '10 at 0:41
  • @Wil - Why the confusion? I was apologizing for being misleading in the first place. Then thanking you. Your answer is great. I'm trying it tomorrow to see if it works. I will let you know and, if it does work, you will get the check mark! Cheers. – nicorellius Jun 8 '10 at 3:13

I found this solution. It worked great for what I needed. It is a straight disc copy app but it is very simple to use. I would have used vmware's tools but the ESXi needs a 64-bit server, and this won't work for me. The vmware Converter worked great on the host machine, and the vmware packages are very powerful, but somewhat restricted.

Perhaps I will look into vmare when I'm loading images to 64-bit servers.

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