UPS: How to bring servers backup in a sequence?

Posted on 2004-11-18
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
We have 12 servers, of which 2 are DC, one is Exchange and the rest are either web servers, storage, backup, imaging, etc.  Our UPS unit is a Powerware 9170+ with Web/SNMP card using ConnectUPS netwatch sofware.

The problem I am facing is when power is restored, how do I bring the servers up in a sequence?  Ideally I would like to bring the DC's up first, before any other server, then Storage, then Exchange and then all the other servers. Exchange services depend on the DCs and fail to start if the DCs aren't up.  The UPS unit doesn't have any segments that can be timed, neither does it have any such features.  All it can do is just restore power after a set amount of time and the server are on their own after that.

I tried changing the boot.ini file before, just adding another option in startup and telling it to wait so many minutes, assigning different times to different servers. That works   until we have to restart the server manually, and regardless of what we do, it will always wait that many minutes before starting up, which leads to an even longer startup time.

I am sure I have confused everyone by now, but the bottom line is I need to be able to put a pause during startup, without messing with the boot.ini file.
Question by:GinaR
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    hmmmmm ok i know you dont want to mess with the boot ini but this should pause the startup of whatever server you want but at the same time you can just press enter and it will boot straight away for instance heres my boot ini

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

    why dont you put a dummy option in like

    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Do not select me" /fastdetect

    which will never boot anything but will give you a menu upon startup of something like
    Microsoft Windows 2003 server standard edition   ¦          
    Do not select me                                                ¦
    Timout in 30 seconds                                         ¦

    I know it means messing with the boot.ini but if your looking to change the way the pc boots i dont see any other way

    Good luck



    Author Comment

    That is exactly the same thing I had, mine was

    Windows 2000 Server
    Windows 2000 Server Safe Mode.

    I figured it would help in timing the startup and allow quick access to safe mode if I ever need to get in.

    But here is what happened some time ago with that setup.  Our storage server was set to wait 5 minutes at that screen.  A problem with RAID occured and while working to fix that problem, the server had to be restarted several times.  Everytime the server would get to that screen, it would not let me hit enter. It would not respond to any key strokes.  So basically I had to wait 5 minutes each time I had to restart.

    What I was thinking was a service that gets started before most services that tells the server to pause for so many minutes.  That way Exchange services don't get started before the DC is up.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    whoops sorry bout that it must have been a kick in the stones i know of a very good bootloader thats used  for linux machines howver i used it for a multi boot machine i had (it had win 95 98 2000 and xp on it) i havnt used it in years ill try and get the name for ya
    LVL 2

    Accepted Solution

    Just a thought, but you can edit the exchange services to reload on fail after a set time in the Service Manager.  Click on the recovery tab of each service and setup the options as you prefer.  The best thing would be to restart the services after 10 minutes or so, whatever works in your environment.  This can help you in more than just the backup scenario.  Do the same with any other services that require the ADS and you should be good to go.

    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    Maybe you can have a look at this project:

    I think you need some intelligent ups, with capabilities to comunicate thru the network, and with a central monitoring software on the computer that starts first. I know the APC's intelligent UPS units has additional modules to connect to the network, but I haven't studied much because my company is on a centralized UPS with diesel machine backup. Never had any problem with the starting order of servers.

    Author Comment

    cwisofsky, I think I like this idea the best.  Should also help if an Exchange service fails and needs to be restarted.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Thanks Gina, I think (and hope) that solution will work out for you.  Good luck with your power issues though, I know how frustrating it can be when the power frequently blinks or goes down.


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