Transfer existing system to bootable iSCSI target?

Posted on 2006-04-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
We have an existing system (Windows NT 4.0 Server) that we need to tranfer to a bootable iSCSI target. The initiator machine has an Adaptec 7211 HBA, so I know it supports booting from iSCSI. The target is a Snap Appliance 4500. Although this is my first attempt at iSCSI, I'm pretty sure I understand how to install a fresh OS booting from the iSCSI target (Adaptec has a pretty good article on this). However, I need help with transferring an existing system. I was thinking something like Norton Ghost would work, but Symatec says no (due to no iSCSI drivers in WinPE environment). Has anyone come across another tool or program that will do this?  Thanks very much....
Question by:technologyworks
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    Wow, this is tremendous dichotomy of OS/HW here, NT 4 which is dianosaur for windows, and ISCSI snap array !!  Wow, you deserve point for getting such and old OS to work with such a new disk arrray.

    Nevertheless, no, you will not be able to clone this setup.  NT 4 is pathetically deficient in hardware flexibility, it freezes at slightly different video card, you will never get it to work transporting SCSI drivers.

    Steps - 1. install NT4 (sure you dont want to do 2003?) on new array, after you make iSCSI array right.
    2. boot the NT 4 (2003?) OS until stable with the snap SCSI array, and then install all the drivers you will need for the other apps to come in next step, if not do this, NT4 will freeze solider than Antarctica.
    3. Having installed the iSCSI drivers, rebooot NT4 and clone all your data from other setup to this disk.
    4.  GO to other setup, export only the program files and links, and the other key OS settings like installed programs.
    5. import them to the new setup and dont try to clone any registry packages, this is where you will foul up.  Good luck you can get this to work, you earned your pay.  Now upgrade to 2003 and move ahead !!  
    LVL 3

    Author Comment

    LOL, I would LOVE to to 2003 instead. Unfortunately the production software that this server runs only works on NT4 (and the $500k upgrade is not in the budget any time soon).

    So, given that I"m stuck with NT4, I guess I will have to try the install from scratch.  What would you recommend I use to backup/restore the programs, etc. (that won't interfere with the iSCSI drivers on the new system). I thought about doing a full backup using either Veritas or Ghost, but am concerned that would overwrite my new drivers, and put me back at square 1.

    Any additional tips are much appreciated.  :)

    BTW, I do have a separate box with identical hardware and a mirrored copy of the hard drive, which I will use for testing. At least I don't have to experiment on a production server.  *whew*

    Thanks again...
    LVL 44

    Accepted Solution

    I would do a complete clone with ghost, if you can, and do incrementals/diffs with veritas, I dont trust veritas to restore a complete setup without some show-stopping "gotcha".  It bites you in the ....

    The biggest challenge with ghost will be to get drivers to recognize the iSCSI array and the SNAP appliance correctly, it will need a DOS level driver for the DOS boot disk to clone the setup, and I think you will struggle to find drivers, that is a guess. So you will probably be stuck with Veritas, for better/worse.

    Let me give you a real gem of program to save ALL the windows system registry, I use it all the time, it is free, and it will save everything in NT4 that is open.
    This is written by a swede, Lars, and it is a life saver.  Download it now, and set it up on your own system so you can see how it works -- 1 full month backup of the registry once each day.

    Now this opens up a whole gamut of possibiliites.  You can just Xcopy the whole NT4 contents to the SNAP array, then ERUNT the registry, and do the same in reverse -- it removes all the problems of veritas not completely recoving the open registry files.  Try this, you will see how simple a clone is with this gem.
    LVL 3

    Author Comment


    According to Symantec, Ghost will not work in this scenario due to no iSCSI drivers in the WinPE environment. So, as you pointed out, I'm probably stuck with Veritas or the erunt utility. I will definitely take a look at that.

    Thanks very much for your assistance.  :)
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    Thought as much.  Well veritas by itself is not dependable, but with ERUNT, I would be confident, ERUNT is basically flawless at getting the key registry files.  Good luck.

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