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Disaster Recov; Restore to "New" machine

By Fred Fillis ·
I'm not a tech so pls bear with me. Have NT Server on a Dell Poweredge 1300 with Exchange 5.5. Using HP Dat24ex6 tape drive and NovaNet to perform backups daily. Our "real" tech (no longer with us) was very slack on the backups and there has never been any testing to make sure we can restore our server in case of disaster.

I have a "spare" machine in the office and I have bought a second tape drive. My plan is to test using this machine and make sure everything is working before we move it off site as a luke warm spare.

My problem is basically this. Our current backup is storing EVERYTHING to tape. Our luke warm spare is not identical (not really close at all) to the Dell server. If I try and use HP OBDR features or a boot disk on the spare to restore from tape, is this going to effectively recreate my current server on the luke warm spare?

I know I will probably have all sorts of issues with drivers etc so I guess I need to understand whether or not I need to increase the granularity of our backup or should I build an indentical luke warm spare or am I just way off base with this plan?

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Disaster Recov; Restore to "New" machine

by curlergirl In reply to Disaster Recov; Restore t ...

You will probably find buried somewhere in the documentation for your backup software a disclaimer or warning that says that you should not consider the disaster recovery backup procedure to be used to upgrade your server. This is because, as you obviously know, you will run into too many driver problems when the hardware you are recovering to doesn't identically match the hardware of your original server. The "spare" server you are contemplating really needs to be almost identical to the oldserver - particularly things like the SCSI bus, which is a pretty basic component. If the SCSI controller is different, then the system won't boot at all, regardless of anything else.

Whether or not you have a spare server and the objective of testing your backup tapes are actually two different topics. You can test your backup tapes adequately without doing a complete restore of your system to a different server. All you really need to do an adequate test is to restore one or two fairly substantial (several hundred MBs) directories to a different location on one of your existing servers. If you can do this successfully, and the files are usable after restoring, then you are in good shape. You need to do this type of test on an ongoing basis, as tapes will deteriorate over time and repeated use. When a tape fails the test, then replace it with a new one.

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Disaster Recov; Restore to "New" machine

by curlergirl In reply to Disaster Recov; Restore t ...

The idea of having a spare server, on the other hand, is a great one, but only really workable if you purchase the spare at the same time you purchase the original server - back to the problem of not having identical hardware. There are a few arguable reasons for having a spare server: (1) your original server config was not done with disaster recovery in mind - i.e., it has not been configured with built-in fault tolerance such as RAID hard drive configuration, duplicate NICs, backup power supplies, etc.; (2) you cannot afford even a few hours of down time on this particular system; (3) you are in a disaster-prone area, such as a flood, hurricane or tornedo alley, and there may be a few others I haven't thought of today.

Hope this helps!

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Disaster Recov; Restore to "New" machine

by Fred Fillis In reply to Disaster Recov; Restore t ...

Is there a line I can draw in terms of using a spare server. For example, is it feasible to have my spare sitting there with the OS installed and then just restore my Apps and data and away I go? Probably not is my guess because of registry issues.
My aim is to have a machine in another location that we can bring up within hours in the event of natural disaster or terrorist attack. Unfortunately, something we must plan for in the DC area.

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Disaster Recov; Restore to "New" machine

by Fred Fillis In reply to Disaster Recov; Restore t ...

Are driver / registry issues more a factor with NT Server than with W2K ?

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by hairymick In reply to Disaster Recov; Restore t ...

Try Powerquest's v2i protector worth a look at

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