Complete backup of pfSense install??



  • I have a pfSense 2.0.3-RELEASE version I would like to make a full backup of. It's currently a bare metal install and I was hoping to make it a VM if possible.

    I have since moved to newer hardware and am on 2.3. I want to back up this install so I can go back and reference things if needed. I am aware of backing up to an xml file and importing that as the config for a backup, but I'm wanting more than that. I'm wanting an O/S file backup, not just a config backup….

    I'm looking for something along the lines of an image or similar. I have looked at dump(8)/restore(8) and transfered data over an SSH session to another freebsd vm, but it didn't seem like the images were made correctly. I also tried clonezilla, but it couldn't detect the file system (UFS), even though it's supposed to have support for UFS, and started to make a DD image, which would have been really big and not what I wanted.

    Any suggestions on what to do?

    Didn't find many results when I searched for "backup" on the forums.



  • Is that a full or Nano install?



  • Full install



  • Back up config, install, restore config.

    Most work you would have to do is edit the config if the NIC's use different drivers.



  • If it was ME I'd do this
    1. Take a full backup of the current working config.
    2. Pull the HDD and mark it, then put it somewhere safe
    3. Insert a different HDD
    4. Install new 2.3 version and restore the backup taken in step 1

    If it all goes to shit, reinstall the HDD and just carry as as if nothing ever happened.  Figure out what went to shit and start the entire process again (including step 1).  This way if something terrible happens (or you just misread the release notes) you have a simple revert process with no changes.  And the back up is just in case the HDD dies on you just when you really don't want it to.


  • Netgate

    Yes it will generally be faster to just reinstall and restore the config than it would be to do a "traditional" restore (like sector-by-sector, or a dump/restore, etc) in almost every circumstance.

    Why not just build the VM offline and restore a backup config to it and see how it goes? Existing firewall can just run the whole time.



  • @SnowGhost:

    If it was ME I'd do this
    1. Take a full backup of the current working config.
    2. Pull the HDD and mark it, then put it somewhere safe
    3. Insert a different HDD
    4. Install new 2.3 version and restore the backup taken in step 1

    If it all goes to shit, reinstall the HDD and just carry as as if nothing ever happened.  Figure out what went to shit and start the entire process again (including step 1).  This way if something terrible happens (or you just misread the release notes) you have a simple revert process with no changes.  And the back up is just in case the HDD dies on you just when you really don't want it to.

    I have already done something similar. That's what I did for my 2.2.6 build and it's working great. but I'm still wanting more…. Please read below...

    @Derelict:

    Yes it will generally be faster to just reinstall and restore the config than it would be to do a "traditional" restore (like sector-by-sector, or a dump/restore, etc) in almost every circumstance.

    Why not just build the VM offline and restore a backup config to it and see how it goes? Existing firewall can just run the whole time.

    I'm not wanting a config backup, but an image. When restoring from backup config, how well does it handle installing of packages and the setup of pfSense being 100% exactly like the one that the config was taken from?

    I know that the config backup only does config settings and RRD data if selected. If I have other data on the drive…. Pcaps... or w/e I will not get that as part of the config backup. That is why I was wanting a full image backup of my install.

    Anyone have experience with an image backup of a FreeBSD box?