Is there an easy way to duplicate a mysql database. We are going to be converting from one software to another, but obviously don't want to do so in a production environment and the database is roughly about 550MB so it would be very inconvenient to do this through phpmyadmin if it's even possible for a file of that size.
I agree with nerdie.
You can use SSH and dump the database to the new one.
Because the process on your host then it will be faster too.
If you are on shared hosting I doubt its possible.
But you have always add --host to mysqldump.
And please do not forget some keys like allow-keywords etc.
Otherwise you can lost some vital data in your dump.