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best way to duplicate hard drive for backup

To: linux-xfs@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: best way to duplicate hard drive for backup
From: prad <prad@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2011 17:04:42 -0700
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we have a system with the following xfs filesystems on 1T hd:
/var/lib/vz (2 servers running on separate ips)
/data (used for temporary bkps and experiments)

the latter three are backed up to an external hard drive each night

i would like to keep fairly uptodate bkp of this drive in case it
crashes. then, i'd just plug in the bkp.

i don't want to use raid especially because it would mean running 2
drives continuously (i presume this would be the case even with the
western digital green drives?)

i know i can rebuild the system from the external, but would prefer to
have another drive ready to go rather than rebuilding things from the
xfs dumps.

so i figured duplicating the first hd and then keeping it uptodate with
rsync. i'd still have the xfsdumps on the external as a 3rd bkp for
everything other than /.

1. is my plan an intelligent one?
2. if so, what is the most sensible way of duplicating the first hd?
a) dd?
b) install from scratch and then overwrite with xfs dumps from external?
c) something else entirely?

in friendship,

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