Migrate from Linux to Xen with Rsync

I decided to write this little guide to provide the relatively simple steps needed to migrate your linux system to a Xen (HVM) virtual instance.

It is assumed that on your source and destination boxes, that you only have one root “/” partition. If you partitioned out your file system differently, you will have to accommodate that based on these instructions.

The following steps walk you through the process of migrating linux to Xen from start to finish :

1. Install the exact same version of linux on your destination server
This isn’t really 100% necessary, obviously. You could always boot into Finnix, partition your disk and install Grub. If you are uncomfortable doing that, install the distribution from start to finish. The file system will be overwritten anyways.

2. Boot into finnix on the destination system
If you have never used Finnix, it is a “self contained, bootable linux distribution”. I like it alot actually and have used it for similar purposes, rescue operations and the like.

3. Setup networking on both destination and source systems
If both systems are on the same network, you could assign local IP addresses to ensure the process of synchronisation is speedy and unobstructed.

Ensure you configure networking either way and that you set a root password and start ssh :

4. Mount the partition that you want to copy to on the destination server
Remember, so far everything you are doing has been on the destination server. Mount the destination partition within finnix :

5. On the source server, rsync all the files of the source partition to the destination partition
When logged into the source server, simply issue the following rsync command and direct it to the destination server’s partition you just mounted :

The rsync process will complete and the partition on the destination server should be ready to boot into. Remember to change the networking configuration if you dont want any IP conflicts to happen.

I hope this helps!

Compress files and folders over the network without using rsync

The following command ssh’s to your remote server, tar + gzips a directory, and then outputs the compressed stream to your local machine.

This is a good alternative to rsync. Even though rsync can compress the transfer mid stream, the receiving end is still the un-extracted copy.

To do the above command, and extract it on your end (after transferring the compressed file over the network), simply do the following :

These commands could theoretically incorporate pgp encryption to encrypt and compress the archive before it travels across the network, for increased security. That is why this alternative to rsync may be preferential to some.

Obviously you could locally encrpyt + compress , then rsync, but its always a good idea to not utilize local storage for this process and keep all the storage capacity on the centralized storage system that you have already allocated.