PaulNM on 8 Mar 2017 14:14:50 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Best tool to image a dynamic disk?

On 03/06/2017 04:01 PM, Greg Helledy wrote:
We have a couple of servers using dynamic disks with GUID partition
tables.  They hold mdadm volumes (linux software RAID).

A co-worker suggested making an image of the drives, to have something
to start with in case of a major failure.  We went to use a tool he's
relied on called Paragon, which boots off a DVD into a Windows OS to
perform the operation.  But it cannot do dynamic disks.

Does anyone have a recommendation for the best tool to use to make
images of the dynamic disks on our servers?


Brent gave a better, more detailed answer. I just want to point out that if the only purpose of these disks is to act as physical disks for mdadm, you're probably better off reformatting to standard mbr/gpt. There's no reason to use a proprietary and poorly documented partition layout, especially if there are no pluses to doing so. It's actually hindering your flexibility.

If the raid array you have setup is empty, then it'll be easy to reformat. If it's not empty, you could back it up, redo the array, then restore. Otherwise you'll have to fail one disk, reformat it, add back to the array, then let it rebuild. Then repeat for each drive. Unless your using RAID 0, in which case you're hosed. :)

If there are other partitions used by Windows that you're dual booting this system with, then things get complicated. You'll just have to live with it unless you can change things to basic disks. You'd have to backup the Linux stuff as the mdadm partitions can't be "converted" by Windows.

I checked, and my favorite imaging tool (Clonezilla) can technically back up dynamic disks just fine. It can't restore them though, so no real point to it then. ;)

Dual boot systems where multiple OS's need raid arrays is one of those edge cases that actually warrant hardware or fake raid setups.

- PaulNM
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