Server Disk Cloning Backups


Use dd to clone a disk, offsite.

Server Disk Cloning Logo

This backup recipe is in Alpha, Learn more about Alpha and Beta recipes stages

Full Device Drive Cloning (like a Snapshot)

Clone your systems full disk drive at the block level unlike our File Backup which backups up at the file level.

This creates a full clone of a hardrive, including all partitions.

Warning - Data Integrity

Warning - this is a live mount and the integriy of the backup will depend on server activity.

Due to this reason this backup if offered in Alpha. Ideally DD should only be used on a read only or unmounted drive. dd will copy at the block level of the device so if I file is removed, you could end up with half a file on the device. For some things this would be okay, depending on use case.

Speed and Size

Due to being a full device copy, the backup is much faster than a file based backup. We found that a 25gb DigitalOcean droplet with 15gb used will backup in 9 minutes. Compared to a file backup of the same server taking x minutes.

Full dumps will not be space efficient, and can be hard to compress, everything on the device is copied and with compression only parts of the device can be compressed. A fresh server will be smaller and as the drive is more used its harder and harder to compress.


Due to the nature of a recovery process, you can't do it from a live mounted device, so we don't offer automatic recovery.

Tested at DigitalOcean:

  • Make a new Droplet, same size as old droplet (not used disk space, but allocated)
  • Change boot to recovery mode, shutdown (not reboot) then boot the server up
  • SSH into server
    • run screen
    • type 6 and go to shell
    • Do not mount the filesystem
    • Copy the command from SnapShooter for recovery Recovery Command
    • Paste into terminal and wait
    • run shutdown -h now
    • In DigitalOcean change recovery mode to boot from HDD
    • Open access and check the droplet boots as expected

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