Linux for the Lotus Notes Admin – The DD command


I have decided to start a new series – Linux for the Lotus Notes Admin. I will be sharing some tips and tricks for how to deal with issues of both the Domino server and the Notes client (Sametime as well) on Linux.
I myself am a big Linux user, my desktop has been Linux (I use Red Hat) for quite some time but I also run VMWare workstation and have a Windows install there to be able to take advantage of Windows and the products that are available. My accounting package only exists in Windows but more important still, there is no Lotus Notes Admin or Developer client for Linux.

What are we setting out to do?
The other day I ordered some new drives for my laptop (I have two drives installed) and I did not want to have to do a re-install. I have some older tools that I have used previously to move or clone partitions from/to other drives and have used them successfully. I wanted to give native Linux tools a chance though so I decided to clone my drive using the [dd] command. Another good tool is [partimage] but I wanted to go real OLD SCHOOL as dd has been around since the early 70’s.

The [DD] command

Note: It goes without saying that you should be doing this either as root or have sudo rights on your Linux machine. That eliminates all possible issues you might run into as far as they are related to rights.

My drives were both the same size (500 GB) and as it was the boot drive with lilo on it, I just wanted a straight clone so the command to use was

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/hda

The command takes the whole SDA drive (all partitions of the boot drive) and clones them to the drive currently connected as the [/dev/hda] drive. You can partition the new drive first and create a partition table, but it does not need formatting as you will be overwriting everything anyway. I just created a plain vanilla primary partition t make sure the drive was OK and had no drive errors.

As expected (I had not used dd for quite some time) it worked flawlessly … however, it also took 26hrs 37 min! I did it over a weekend and was actually able to use the PC during the process (some browsing, nothing else) and when I switched the drive out the laptop started up without a hitch – it was as if nothing had changed, other than the improvement in speed!

What did I gain?

Next to proving I could still do native Linux commands and had the patience to just wait the process out, the main reason I went through this was to swap out my old drives for new hybrid drives that are ALLOT faster. Darren Duke had blogged about them a while back and I went out and bought them – what a difference in speed!

Other Resources on Linux

There are quite a few other people who specialize in Linux and Lotus Notes Domino, I am by far not the only one and definitely not the most knowledgeable on either. But, if you are really interested in Linux and how the Lotus products work on them, you should go and listen to Bill Malchisky’s presentation “Lotus on Linux Report” that he is giving at IamLUG this year. I have heard it previously and for anybody serious about Linux it is a must hear presentation.

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