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New Year, Same Old Problem - RonO's Ramblings — LiveJournal

Jan. 1st, 2011 05:16 pm New Year, Same Old Problem

About a week and a half ago (or maybe two weeks ago), I was able to get my linux box to properly display - by switching ports on the KVM. {Said KVM was an open-box discount at Fry's, and has some other issues and may end up getting replaced sooner rather than later.} But then I started to do a long overdue update of many packages, including the kernel.

Something went wrong during the kernel update, and the computer locked up. When I tried to reboot it, it didn't come up and complained about a missing kernel file.

Since then I've tried a number of repairs:

  • Restoring "/boot" from various backups after booting into a Knoppix live CD
  • Restoring EVERYTHING from 274 days of backups.
  • Reloading SUSE 11.1 and then restoring everything using the Knoppix live CD - Several times
  • Reloading SUSE 11.1 with the plan being to restore in its own boot at runlevel 1.

So far none of them have worked. The first two failed to fix the problems with the missing kernel program. The third produced, multiple times, systems that did not boot due to missing boot records or other problems. The last one failed because I didn't get enough tools installed to actually run the backup/restore program (dar) that the backups were made with. I'm now doing another install where I've verified that I've got all of the build tools included so I should be able to build the program.

I will also have to make sure that I go through and properly address the annoying issues that I went through before discovering I couldn't build dar: getting the network up and running and updating /etc/fstab to allow me to mount the backup drive (a network storage unit) which also contains the dar source tar file.

Once I'm done with this, presuming I'll eventually hit upon the right combination to restore my system to about when I started the last upgrade, I am planning on making a few changes to my backup regime:

  • Backing up the mySQL databases that control the various blogs etc. using "mysqldump" into an rcs or sccs controlled file - thus saving the SQL data in text, but only saving the differences after the first dump.
  • Making more frequent full backups than when I think of it - so I won't ever be in the situation of having to recover 274 days of incremental backups, each made as an incremental of the previous
  • Consider using other backup programs that may be easier to use for restoral, and may even deal with some issues better than dar

Of course if I can find the combination of time and finances to rebuild my linux box (or build a new one from scratch if there is some reason I cannot reuse at least the case), I'll probably do a major reconfiguration. But before I did such a reconfiguration, I'd make sure that I could recover the databases and other key things even if I changed to a different distribution - or even moved over to using multiple virtual machines in place of a single real machine running all of the functions.

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Date:January 2nd, 2011 03:36 am (UTC)
For what it is worth, my most recent attempt failed too. Now I'm getting ready to try again after splitting my mirrored pair (hardware RAID) and seeing if I can get it working if I install on one of the drives and then build it into a mirrored pair.

Otherwise, I'm scratching my head as to why this ever booted - or what I have to do to get a proper boot record onto the raid pair.