Extra server to backup first server..

I have a client who has asked me to quote them on a setup to have a duplicate server at another location that they can bring to their current location in case of catasrophic failure.  They are running SBS 2003 Server SP1.  I know you can not have more than 1 SBS server on the same domain, so, that is out of the question.  They plan to do a full backup everyday and restore the backup to the new server the next day, this way they can bring the new server over and replace the old server if need be.

I am wondering what the best steps to take would be.  I suppose I could get another server, do a backup of the main server and then restore everything from the tape, but, I am guessing there will be little issues with doing that if the hardware doesn't match 100%.

Any ideas?

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An of site Windows Server with DC role with a daily copy (xcopy) of the files on SBS is a partial hot backup.  
The main problem is Exchange (and SQL server)  To solve this you can have the Exchange server installed but the licensing will be probably more than those for the SBS.  Of course you can solve it by something like potentially cheaper IMAP proxy server that will maintains a copy of all the mails,  and is also accessible through Outlook.

Microsoft talks about hardware compatibility:

•      If you are restoring to a different computer than that which was originally running Windows Small Business Server 2003, make sure that the following items are the same on the original and the new computer:
•      SCSI controller. You can restore to a computer that has an IDE controller if the original computer had SCSI.
•      Motherboard chip set.
•      Number of processors.
•      Hard disk size. The new computer’s hard disk should contain matching volumes the same size or larger than those on the original computer.
•      Drive letter of the boot partition.


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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:

You have a couple of options.  You can create a "cold state" backup which is allowed per SBS Licensing.  This would essentially need to be a machine with an identical hardware configuration to the current server.  A full backup including system state could be restored to this server without a problem.

The second option, which I like a bit more, is to create an image backup that allows restoration to different hardware.  Until recently, the only way to do this was rather expensive (Symantec LiveState, Acronis TrueImage and the like --- well over $1,000.00 for the software alone).  There's a new company that's going after this market and is much more aligned with SBS than the enterprise stuff.  Take a look at http://www.storagecraft.com and review their ShadowProtect ExactState backup.


Hi there Acronis True Image server for windows is only $699 and storagecraft is around the same pricing, plus storagecraft for servers is still in beta will not be released till mid april.

Acronis also have an add on product called universal restore which will allow you to restore to a virtual machine or another machine with different hardware.

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Mid April is next week.  Plus I'd expect that they will offer discounts during the initial release.  It's a great product, I've been testing it for a few weeks now.

CoastalSlnsAuthor Commented:
We ended up installing a Windows 2003 Standard Server.  We made it a dc in the active directory, then moved it to another location.  We setup a VPN between the 2 locations so it can keep an active copy of the active directory database.  We then did a complete backup of the main system data files and restored them to this server.  Everynight, the backup server scripts a robocopy of the other system for changed files.  We do not have to worry about exchange or SQL as they do not use that part of Small Business Server.  In case of an emergency, we have additional logon scripts and group policies ready to be implemented to move the PCs from one server to the backup server.

Thanks for the information, I split the points as recommended.
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