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Working towards my ideas

Chris Kurlinski

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I'm a big fan of trying anything new, but the cardinal rule for me is this:

Don't mess with the data. If you don't what to lose those irreplaceable pics of grandma, keep it on a separate drive.

 

This is my mantra. I love playing with my system, updating, tweaking, and exploring.

But this can be dangerous to your data.

 

This is also the reason why I chosen to use zfs as my storage for all my data. I can get to it from just anywhere. If it's unix(-like), I can download the kernel modules and access it.

 

I feel like zfs is the becoming the unix(-like) version of fat32. Let me explain.

 

I just did some consulting on a smartos job, but I had to p2v an existing Windows 2k3 server, with a dying hard drive.

Smartos is great an all, but it is really not setup to virtualise an existing machine.

So I place the failing drive into my setup, created a zvol the same size as the failing drive, dd the old drive to the new zvol.

Created a new KVM instance, and booted the thing up.

 

After some general cleanup and a massive amount of defragging, I had a good image ready for production.

 

Smartos side of things was fine, json took a little getting used to, helps finding a good validating editor, zfs send | zfs receive, brought up the zvol, and away I went with the client configuration, igmadm create and all. Now the setup is in production, and all seems to be well.

 

But the real point of this endeavour is this, ZFS is getting to the point of being truly cross platform.

The only thing that can't read ZFS is windows, and that access is a samba share away.

 

As much as I like Smartos, I love Funtoo. If I was going to roll out a data centre with clean installs, then Smartos is a great base.

But p2v a small business client, not so sure.

 

That's why I'm thinking about a Smartos like Funtoo usb bootable read-only install, and keeping with the way Funtoo is, basically a recipe for using the existing tools to create it, because that is the right way to do it.

 

Our BDFL gives us the tools to do anything we want with his creation, we as users of Funtoo, get to assemble it as we need to get the job done.

 

This is my idea, bootable usb Funtoo minimal, bare essential tools, read only root, builtin zfs kernel and xen hypervisor.

 

Now just to figure out how to do it........



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Most of that is simple (dunno about Xen).  Build a test system and then generate the binary packages, either from the running system or a subsequent rebuild with -e -B.   You can then install it all to the new USB drive with -g --root .  Not sure if I missed a step.  You might also want to look at the pentoo project.  Its a similar tool based on gentoo for penetration testing.

 

For rescuing a system, I highly recommend safecopy instead of dd.   Its very smart about avoiding sections of a failing disk that have physical errors.  It will come back and read them later, even using low-level access if it can.   Basically, where dd would die, this will skip that section to avoid doing more damage and then come back later.  http://safecopy.sourceforge.net/

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