SUMMARY: Copying Sparse (Holey) Files

Jim Seymour jseymour at linxnet.com
Tue Jan 8 15:32:01 EST 2008


Original question:

    Sun Sparc Solaris 8 Generic_108528-29 on an E250

    Upgrading from a 108GB RAID 5 box to a 1TB RAID box.  Will be
    increasing the size of most filesystems 10x.  (That's the point :).)

    The problem is the sparse files I know are scattered-about the source
    RAID box.  I've been down this road before (just a few months ago, in
    fact).  I've spent long hours messing with the problem.  I can't
    recall ever finding a satisfactory solution.

    So: How best to copy everything from the 108GB RAID box to the 1TB
    RAID box, both attached to a Sparc Solaris 8 box, w/o expanding the
    holey files? (Obviously wish to retain ownerships, permissions, file
    modification dates, etc.)

Suggestions (ordered by popularity, then alphabetically):

    ufsdump/ufsrestore: 9
		  cpio: 5
                 rsync: 4
               GNU tar: 3
		  star: 3
		    dd: 1
		GNU cp: 1
	      GNU cpio: 1
		   tar: 1

    And one respondent pointed me to:

	http://www.unixguide.net/unix/sparse_file.shtml

I know for a fact that neither the tar nor the cpio provided with
Solaris 8 properly preserves the holeyness of sparse files.  (I presume
the same applies to pax [which nobody suggested, btw].)

It's always been *my* understanding that dd is only appropriate if the
drive geometry and partition sizes are identical between source
and destination.

I neglected to explicitly mention ACLs in my original question.
Naturally, these need to be preserved, as well.  There appears to be
some question as to whether GNU tar and GNU cpio do so.  My experimentation
indicates GNU tar (v1.19, freshly built) does not.  Also, rsync doesn't
officially support ACLs until 3.x.x, and that's still in pre-release
status.

Conclusion: It would *appear* ufsdump/ufsrestore and star are the best
bets.

Thanks to the following for their suggestions:

    A Darren Dunham, Bhaskar G, Chris Hoogendyk, Cris Lovett, Crist Clark,
    Dennis Clarke, Doug Bell, Eric H Herrin II, Glenn Carver,
    Jacques Beigbeder, Matthew Stier, Matthew Taylor, Peter Dowling,
    Raymond Plassart, Ric Anderson, Rich Kulawiec, Sean Walmsley,
    Vikas Sharma, William D. Hathaway, francisco roque, hike,
    mehran.salehi at kodak.com

Jim
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