Ideas to help me get this done

Needing to migrate a CentOS 8.5 production server to Rocky. However, the backup service my server provider uses doesn’t offer a module for the current kernel. Don’t want to unmount the drive in order to use dd. Which I can’t use anyway, as I am doing this remotely.
Any ideas on how to do a backup before the migration. Just in case something goes wrong?

UPDATE: Since I posted this, I have been researching all tools which would allow me to do a complete backup image of the server. I have shared these tools with the server company. Only to find that they will not support them. Which means, even if I had a iso image and a recovery file, they wouldn’t physically work with these files if I needed them to. Since I don’t have the means to administer the recovery directly should the server be unbootable, I am stuck with whatever they can offer. Which at present is a broken solution. I am hoping they will provide something more when I hear back from Sales.


You have a production server that you are not able to backup? That needs resolution even without migration.

Doesn’t the server provider have any incentive to support RHEL (8.5)?

What was the last kernel that had the module? Do you still have that kernel installed? Can you boot to it for running at least some kind of backup?

Yes, I am trying to see what options they have. Just sent them a reply. They must have some backup option!!
As to the oldest kernel, it is: 4.18.0-305.25.1.el8_4
This server is a recent build. Unfortunately, the company that I use to host the server with has been recently purchased by another. Where the new company does not offer the same support.
The backup option they offered me is r1soft. R1soft does not currently have a working module, as of 08-11, for even the oldest kernel I have available. There is the issue.

You can use dd remotely but since it copies the entire disk irrespective of whether empty or not it isnt ideal. I used dd for an image I had for Barracuda Email Security Gateway and sent it using dd over ssh. All 50gb.

More ideal for you would be rsync to get all the data off safely. Either by configuring rsyncd.conf and running rsync in daemon mode or simply use it over ssh - a little slower due to encryption of the ssh session but not that bad.

What does the “backup” contain and how does it “restore”?

Logically, a system has three types of files: system files, config, and user data.

  • System files come from packages. They are trivial to reinstall (if you have a list of packages)
  • Config is coupled to the system files. Config management tools (e.g. Ansible, Chef, Puppet, etc) can deploy config from a stored copy
  • User data. This is unique and precious. Really needs a backup

However, one naturally needs a procedure – in your case usable “remotely” – how to install from scratch, which config management could mostly do, except first steps, and restore user data.

A kernel module for backup sounds like the backup makes a clone of the whole disk. Such “snapshots” are typical in virtualization platforms; you get “image” an can even launch multiple new VMs from it. However, a blind dd copy of raw block device does not know what bits are important data. Blunt, but effective, unless you can’t use it.

File copies are slow, but are selective and can be done to any accessible filesystem. If you do have databases, then they need their own backup procedure, as plain file copy cannot guarantee consistency.

In every case, if you have no functional backup now, then the situation is same after successful migration too.

The Server company only supports what they provide as backup solutions.
I have asked them about all available solutions that I can setup, such as dd, ReaR…
They won’t support any of these.
Currently having them send me each and every backup solution they support. They are being quite mysterious about their offerings…

This particular server is one that I manage for a client. So I am limited as to what they are willing to pay for… Currently, self backing up to my side. All sites, customized configs, files and databases are backed up regularly. So, if the server crashes, a new install would need to be set and in turn I would need to reinstall apps and apply the backed up data.

The issue with the current setup, is I have no access to the boot screen. So if a problem occurs I need a support tech to sit behind the screen to run a recovery or troubleshoot. Thus, I require a backup solution that they support in order to facilitate the ability to have this tech site behind the screen should a recovery task be necessary.

Unfortunately, they won’t support any of these source images. Has to be one of theirs. Keep in mind, that I won’t have SSH access if the server does not come back up, should it crash. Thus, I need one of their techs behind the terminal physically. In order to run a recovery via the iso image.

I am currently awaiting details from their sales team. Hopefully, they will have a backup service that works.

Yeah I know, I was just saying that dd is possible remotely, albeit not in your case. Your best bet to be honest is rsync to get the data off the system without needing them to do anything.

I’m surprised though since OVH, Linode, Vultr and other VPS providers I’ve used usually have the ability to run recovery without intervention from anyone on-site. Hopefully you can get all your data off, and migrate to a better service.

OK. I will bite :slight_smile:
The server company use to be SingleHop. Which would always accommodate me. They were awesome to work with. Even setting me up a new server to migrate to for free. Even if I was within my contract terms. As I have several servers with them.
Now, it is INAP. I have to fight with them constantly to get anything done. And, now, I literally have to argue with them to get an idea of what options I have. As if they are top secret product offerings!
As of yesterday, prior to my initial post, they said their only offering was r1soft. Now they state there are more options. But, what are they??? There is the mystery.

Now, mind you, this is just a suspicion. But, it appears they are heading to a only cloud environment. Which may be the reason they are dissing me. Or, it could be that their cloud backup, which I asked about due to the advertisement of it on their website, has a 30-day free trial which they don’t want to give up. Who knows. Their customer service in these past two weeks has been a nightmare.