How to Clone a Hard Disk on Your Server

Under normal operations, it would probably be unnecessary to clone your dedicated server’s hard drive. There are, however, instances when it makes sense. Your hard drive may show signs of failure, and a pre-emptive cloning to a new drive could save your data and avoid the prolonged downtime that would come with restoring backups. The following are a few solutions you can use for drive cloning.

1. dd

The most basic method of drive cloning comes with most Linux distributions. It is called “dd”. To clone a drive, you would type something like this:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdc bs=1M conv=noerror

In this case, sda is your main hard drive and sdc is the clone. You can watch a video tutorial of the process online.

2. Another option for cloning is Clonezilla server edition, which supports a wide range of filesystems and operating systems. Some might even describe Clonezilla as a free clone of Symantec Ghost Corporate Edition.

3. Finally, you can also try Mondo Rescue, which supports several Linux and Unix-based operating systems, file systems, and storage media. Like Clonezilla, it is free and open source and capable of running on a server without difficultly.

For more hard disk cloning options, see a full list at nixCraft.