posted Aug 11, 2011, 6:15 PM by Bryn Moslow   [ updated Aug 11, 2011, 6:22 PM ]

This is actually an old article. I'm copying it off my old blog I'm migrating away from so I still have it around somewhere.

I saw this come through my Inbox today: Cool User File Systems, Part 1: SSHFS

I recently used SSHFS and a RIPLinux and Clonezilla Live CDs to move a physical Linux machine into a VMware VM. Very neat and has a lot of other cool ad hoc uses.

Basically, I used RIPLinux to boot up the physical machine, mount the existing root filesystem read-only (to keep the copy consistent), and run an SSH server for use with SSHFS. I used RIPLinux because it supports Linux MD RAID (and LVM) and also includes modules for XFS (which I needed), JFS, Reiser and other non-Ext Linux filesystems. Believe it or not, I couldn't find another CD distro with a decent selection of packages and such broad filesystem support.

I then used Clonezilla on the target machine and only used the SSHFS mount functionality to mount the old machine's filesystem and copy the installation over. After that it was just a matter of fixing up /etc/fstab, removing the mdraid package (because of the old version of Debian Linux involved and a bug related to missing MD-based swap and auto-resume from suspend), booting once more from RIPLinux - this time on the target - and chroot'ing to the target filesystem and setting up the grub boot loader.

It worked wonderfully for a gross hack and the "new" version of the existing "old" machine is up and running in VMware.

RIPLinux is great too. If you're a sysadmin and you beat on boxes regularly or just want a great recovery aid, RIPLinux should definitely be in your toolbox.


Clonezilla is quite ugly but can be very useful as well: