I am looking for something simple to backup (bare metal restore) a small linux (debian jessie) server.

There is a ZFS filesystem mounted under /tank which I would like to send the backup file to as I snapshot that ZFS pool and send offsite, etc.

I have found this: http://relax-and-recover.org/about/ -- but not sure if it's any good? I am open to suggestions. I prefer open source.

  • Welcome! I want to be sure I understand your situation. You want to make a full image or other backup of your small Debian server that you will then use to do a full bare metal restore. The Debian server is not running on ZFS, but you want to send the backup to a server with ZFS?
    – airhuff
    Jan 21, 2017 at 7:02
  • Yes correct. The ZFS is mounted under /tank on the same debian server to make it easier to put the image.
    – Joshuah
    Jan 21, 2017 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


Checkout ZFS Send and Receive.

The zfs send command creates a stream representation of a snapshot that is written to standard output. By default, a full stream is generated. You can redirect the output to a file or to a different system. The zfs receive command creates a snapshot whose contents are specified in the stream that is provided on standard input. If a full stream is received, a new file system is created as well. You can send ZFS snapshot data and receive ZFS snapshot data and file systems with these commands. See the examples in the next section.

You can backup the whole file system to a file and restore the backup in remote server. You don't need any special tools.


  • Thanks for that. Yes, that's how i am backing up offsite... the thing is, the OS is not on ZFS... /tank is ZFS.. so i cant snapshot the OS filesystem with ZFS...
    – Joshuah
    Jan 21, 2017 at 8:29

I do full system drive backup images with dd. It's the simplest way I know of.

Boot from USB, then do dd if=/dev/sda of=/external/mounted/storage/my_server_backup.img conv=sync bs=8M && sync and go for coffee, since it may take a while.

When it's done, you can send the resulting file to the backup server with whatever tools you have for that.

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