MPete3
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Contributor

Cloning an ESX Partition - is it possible?

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Is it possible to use a hard drive cloning utility to clone the linux ESX (3.5) partition? I am looking to upgrade to a larger drive, but before doing so, i'm curious if it's possible to do this.

If so, for those that have done this... were there an adverse effects?

Any information is greatly appreciated.

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nick_couchman
Immortal
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You mean the VMFS datastore? I imagine you can probably do this, but none of the cloning utilities are going to have support for VMFS, so you'll have to do a bit-by-bit copy of the datastore. This means that said utilities won't be able to resize the partition and filesystem, so you'll need to do this in ESX after you clone the data over to the new drive.

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nick_couchman
Immortal
Immortal

You mean the VMFS datastore? I imagine you can probably do this, but none of the cloning utilities are going to have support for VMFS, so you'll have to do a bit-by-bit copy of the datastore. This means that said utilities won't be able to resize the partition and filesystem, so you'll need to do this in ESX after you clone the data over to the new drive.

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TomHowarth
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Welcome to the forums,

if you mean, the ESX environment, then yes just use ghost, PQ magic or your cloning tool of choice., if you mean VMFS (the partition that hosts the VMDK files) then you are out of luck, there are currently no thirdparty disk copy tools that understand the VMFS partition layer.

Tom Howarth

VMware Communities User Moderator

Tom Howarth VCP / VCAP / vExpert
VMware Communities User Moderator
Blog: http://www.planetvm.net
Contributing author on VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment
Contributing author on VCP VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 4 Study Guide: Exam VCP-410
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nick_couchman
Immortal
Immortal

A bit-by-bit copy of the disk should still work - Ghost is able to do this, even with partition tables that it doesn't understand.

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TomHowarth
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Interesting, I will have to try this, do you know if the copy if forensically sound?

Tom Howarth

VMware Communities User Moderator

Tom Howarth VCP / VCAP / vExpert
VMware Communities User Moderator
Blog: http://www.planetvm.net
Contributing author on VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment
Contributing author on VCP VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 4 Study Guide: Exam VCP-410
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nick_couchman
Immortal
Immortal

Yes, I believe it is forensically sound - I've done it with various odd Linux partitions that Ghost doesn't understand as a filesystem and isn't able to mount and clone that way. I was able to clone a few servers this way and they ran fine.

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Texiwill
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Leadership

Hello,

Actually this depends on how it was done. It is forensically sound for defined partitions. But if there is unused/unassigned space on the drive it would not be copied and that is what forensics also requires.


Best regards,

Edward L. Haletky

VMware Communities User Moderator

====

Author of the book 'VMWare ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers', Copyright 2008 Pearson Education.

CIO Virtualization Blog: http://www.cio.com/blog/index/topic/168354

As well as the Virtualization Wiki at http://www.astroarch.com/wiki/index.php/Virtualization

--
Edward L. Haletky
vExpert XIII: 2009-2021,
VMTN Community Moderator
vSphere Upgrade Saga: https://www.astroarch.com/blogs
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/Texiwill
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