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mdc1952
9th October 2008, 08:43 PM
Shorter version of a longer story, hope you'll bear with me. I work in at museum in a rural area. The only linux box we have is an old compaq pii that functions as a dhcp server and software firewall for our network (hooked to a t1 modem through a cisco router, then goes out to a network switch). That is all it does.

We are part of a larger museum about 1.5 hours away where the only guy in the organization who really understands this stuff works. Nice guy but busy and not always available to us, so I'm trying to learn something about managing this stuff. I have limited unix experience (use some windows but mostly OS X for daily work). We recently had a disk failure on the server and had to replace it. Originally were looking at four days down but managed to get a new box in two.

I would like to have a spare sitting here we can swap in if needed, and need some advice on the best way to go about it.

The current box is running Fedora 9. In checking things out with df, fdisk, and the fstab file, I see that there are two partitions on the hard drive, one with booting stuff that is mounted as /boot and the main partition that is divided into two logical volumes with the main one mounted as / and the other as swap.

I've been searching around to see it is feasible to just clone the drive and install it in a similar box. Have examined dd, partimage, g4l, and searched for info here. Some seem to say such a scheme could work, though may not with more recent fedora versions, but the logical volumes could be problem. Perhaps just installing fedora on a different box and setting it up similarly would be better.

Any advice of the best way to proceed? Anything that needs to be considered in terms of the dhcp functions?

Thanks for any help.

SlowJet
9th October 2008, 09:15 PM
Why not replace it with a modern firewalled router? About $40
You can buy 2 of those and use one for backup.Although a new one would last 4-5 years.)
It would be controlled via a web page interface to some internal workstation, like your Mac OS.
It would serve up ip # like 192.168.n.nn. Internally it would be 192.168.n.1 and get it's ip from the Cisco router gateway which would be the ISP or the upstream connection.

SJ

mdc1952
10th October 2008, 04:19 PM
Slowjet,

Thanks for the tip. That does look like a logical thing to do. The only drawbacks that I can see are that it is not free, something we always prefer. We have plenty of old computers available for stuff like this.

The other wrinkle is something I didn't mention. One thing we've been trying to get our IT to do is add the ability to have someone phone into the server to get an internet connection. We have a groundskeeper in an unwired building about a half mile away that would like to be able to at least check email. We've discussed the possibility of doing it wireless, though there is a forest between the main building and him. Not sure if wireless would work under the conditions.

pete_1967
10th October 2008, 04:52 PM
It depends on your actual needs, but generally it's the data you need to keep safe, not the OS itself. For that purpose you can use RDiff Backup that is run via cronjob on each box you want to backup, or for larger networks, Amanda is an excellent solution.

For whole server backup, I'd go for virtual machines, run your production server in VMWare or Virtual Box (my preference), take snapshot or run snapshot scheduler and and burn those on DVDs or scp to backup server. For OS itself, I'd go for CentOS simply because of its longer support life (5+ years as opposed to Fedora's year).

SlowJet
10th October 2008, 07:17 PM
On a Pent II?
Get real.

SJ

mdc1952
10th October 2008, 07:40 PM
pete,

You seem to be misunderstanding my problem and question. I agree data backup is more important, but the computer I'm talking about has no data except system configuration. It does nothing but sit between our WAN Ciso router (a 2600 series) and our network to provide a software firewall and serve IP addresses to our network of computers and printers (around 20).

We're just looking at the best method of being able to quickly get back on the net in case it goes down.

pete_1967
10th October 2008, 09:45 PM
On a Pent II?
Get real.

SJ
And what exactly is unreal in running virtual machine on PII?