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Clone Win2K server for upgrade / disaster recovery

Posted on 2004-04-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
We have planned some upgrades for one of our Win2K servers. Turns out now that the upgrades have turned into an almost entirely new machine. Before installing the upgrades / launching the 'new' server, I tested various backup methods. What I ended up with seemed to work well:

(1) Shut down the server and boot with PowerQuest floppy.
(2) Create an image of the system drive on a second hard disk.
(3) Reboot into Win2K and burn the PowerQuest image to a DVD.
(4) Shut down the server, pull out the system drives (mirrored array) install matched pair of backup drives.
(5) Create the RAID array on next boot, then reboot off PowerQuest floppy.
(6) Restore the PQ image onto the new drives.
(7) Reboot Win2K.
(8) All is good! Functioning sever, no grief with AD, etc.
(9) Shut down, reinstall original drives, final reboot into Win2K

When the new hardware showed up, I tried the same test:

(1) Put the matched backup drives in the new machine, and then created a new mirrored array.
(2) Booted from PowerQuest floppy
(3) Restore the PQ image onto the drive(s).
(4) Remove PQ disk, and reboot into Win2K...

...or at least I hoped. Initially, all seemed well. The progress bar started filling across the bottom of the screen, etc. The next thing I know, Blue Screen Of Death! It said that if this is the first time this has happened, try a restart. No luck the restart either. Since then, I've found that different hardware is probably the culprit:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Applications/Q_20921100.html

However, each solution I have found seems to deal with workstations only, and not server versions. I'm spooked because my backup solutions in the past have failed me. Last time a drive went south, I ended up having to reinstall Win2K server (I know what you're thinking, but I screwed up the mirror!) and restore from backups it caused me all sorts of grief. None of the workstations would recognize the new DC and I had to go to each one and rejoin them to the 'new' domain. Ouch!

The server in question is still up and running, so there is no panic to get an answer in the next two minutes. However, solid, reliable disaster recovery / hardware upgrade advice is paramount.

Anyone that can supply a solid solution that doesn't require me to go out and buy new software and/or hardware can name their amount of points and I will gladly award them.
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Question by:TunaMaxx
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JamesDS earned 500 total points
ID: 10848358
TunaMaxx
You can't restore a DC like that, there are all sorts of reasons why. It is almost impossible to offer a FREE DR solution, but here goes:

Firstly my apologies to all those DR wizards - I am trying to do this with no expediture!

I suggest you try to become a veritas partner (www.veritas.com). Veritas supply free software and "Not for Resale" licenses to their partners for use in house. Veritas backup exec is the best system BY FAR for backing up and restoring servers, workstations and DCs in the SME business environment. Backup exec support backup to disk so you dont need to backup to a tape drive.

For creating backups of DCs you can look into Active Directory Restore mode and Authorative restores, but my favourite solution is to create a Virtual Machine (VMWare Workstation www.VMWare.com) as a DC and use that as a secondary store for the AD database. This VM can be left running on another machine and guarantees a second DC in the event of permanent loss of your main DC in a single DC environment. This will allow you to rebuild your usual DC and not lose workstation domain membership or any of your policies, accounts etc.

I am the first to admit that this solution is not ideal, but it is free and I know from experience it does work.

Cheers

JamesDS
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Author Comment

by:TunaMaxx
ID: 10850062
Thanks for the response, JamesDS.

I'm a bit confused though; I WAS able to restore the server with the method I described. However, it only seemed to work when I replaced the drives and restored from backup. In fact, I couldn't find anything that wouldn't work: no unexpected entries in the event log; client machines could log on and were assigned the correct group policy settings; networked applications ran, etc. It's only when I tried the same restore technique to the new hardware that the problems started. Maybe that's what you were refering to when you said it won't work.

I'm currently downloading an eval version of Backup Exec as I type this, so I'll give that a kick in a bit.

If a truly 'free' or very cheap solution isn't available, will Backup Exec provide a *fairly* painless way of creating a backup for DR or hardware upgrades? Or am I foolishly holding on to the thought that this really can't be THAT hard, and others must do the same (or similar) things everyday?
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by:JamesDS
ID: 10852900
TunaMaxx

Yup, right there, but if you're interested, try restoring to a differnt DC but with the old NICs in it - that will work. Something to do with the relationship between the MAC addresses and the machine account in the domain.

Backup exec has an intelligent DR module, which I have use several times - it is VERY good.

This isn't that hard, but it isn't free! that's why the like of veritas and tivoli exist and make huge profits.

Cheers

JamesDS
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12294728
This question has been classified abandoned. I will make a recommendation to the moderators on its resolution in a week or two. I appreciate any comments that would help me to make a recommendation.

Unless it is clear to me that the question has been answered I will recommend delete. It is possible that a Grade less than A will be given if no expert makes a case for an A grade. It is assumed that any participant not responding to this request is no longer interested in its final disposition.

If the user does not know how to close the question, the options are here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hs5
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Author Comment

by:TunaMaxx
ID: 12301925
I went and downloaded an eval copy of BU Exec, but got sidetracked and was unable to test before it expired.
I sure that BU Exec is the way to go, I just have not confirmed it through experience yet.

Thanks,

Tony
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