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production servers

I'm using rsnapshot filesystem snapshot utility to make incremental snapshots of local and remote filesystems for 10 production servers running on RHEL 5.x system. The rsnapshot commands makes extensive use of hard links,

so if the file doesn't change, the next snapshot is simply a hard link to the exact same file. How do I use the rsync command to copy my the entire snapshot directory /raid6/rsnapshot (around 4TB) to a remote server?
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If I recompile just the Linux kernel, do I have to recompile the whole entire applications/other files in my systems?
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Q. How do I simulate the upgrade first to confirm that the actions that would be taken are reasonable under Debian / Ubuntu Linux package management?
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