Backup / Failover solution for Linux Colocated WebServers

Posted on 2006-05-23
Last Modified: 2010-03-18

I am looking for a reliable, low cost backup / failover solution for my 2 colocated dell webservers.

We have 2 servers, COLO1 is running SUSE9.0, Plesk7.5 and manages the client accounts. COLO2 is running REDHAT, Plesk7.5 and manages our business websites.

Our hosting company wants to make some offsite NAS space available, and for us to backup over to that. In event of failure this would mean re-imaging the server with a current snapshot and taking the most recent plesk dump and associated files. Our coders arent too happy with this, as they have a LOT of custom applications running on the server, and not sure about the best ways of sending these over to the NAS storage.

Their solution is to install a 3rd colocated server with 3 partitions, 1 running a linux distro and used for configuring, the 2nd partition would be a mirror of COLO1 and 3rd a mirror of COLO2, using RSYNC or similar daily to mirror / copy over the drives. In event of failure, boot order can be changed from partition 1 to 2 or 3, and with some IP fiddling, should bring a mirror of the broken server back online.

My question, is this possible or unlikely to work? Obviously reluctant to spend on a brand new server, only to find it does not work.

Plesk Licensing is also an issue, but they are considering moving to Webmin to avoid the issues.

Does this sound any good, or is the NAS storage a better, safer route, OR is there a better way?


Question by:benhalliday
    LVL 27

    Accepted Solution

    Do you plan to have 3 bootable Linux copies on 3rd server?
    If yes, I see no problems with your schema. You also need to take a snapshot and to dump it to remote server (the same as with your NAS storage).
    The only difference with NAS solution, is a faster recovery time (just bring up new server and go). Probably that can be done with custom boot menu of your 3rd server.
    When you bring up your new server you are unable to backup remaining alive COLO server, just because you are running another system. Some software justification is required in that case.

    Also note, that your solution is a mirroring, not a backup solution. With backup you normally have several snapshots for different days. Suppose someone (hacker or worker) broke your system 2 days ago, then you are unable to revert to previous stable state because you don't have a backup. That's why backup is better. Or even better to have both backup schemas.
    BTW. How much disk is used on your COLO1 and COLO2 and how much do you plan to have on 3rd server?
    LVL 19

    Assisted Solution

    Sounds like a good time to start adopting Xen to me. v3 is rock solid, and makes things so much easier. You can snapshot your VM's, rsync the backups somewhere secure, and rollback in a matter of minutes with negligible data-loss. Also means you don't have to waste loads of money on expensive hardware that you really don't need.
    LVL 19

    Assisted Solution


    virtual servers can help, and you can make every server a mirror of the other server.

    in my case, I would recommend better "linux vservers" because they run with a lot less resources than Xen, and are fully transportable also, like in Xen.

    I'm using vservers day to day and performance in old hardware is a big plus for us.

    with this, maybe you need to add extra storage and maybe some more RAM for the case of one server failing and having the other server running both instances.

    you can do mirroring using rsync over ssh to be secure

    this of course is not a backup solution. this is a high availability solution which still needs backup in order to be achieved

    So in general, I think Nopius and alextoft said it all. I would use Virtual Servers, it's all.

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

    Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
    - Increase transparency
    - Onboard new hires faster
    - Access from mobile/offline

    I have seen several blogs and forum entries elsewhere state that because NTFS volumes do not support linux ownership or permissions, they cannot be used for anonymous ftp upload through the vsftpd program.   IT can be done and here's how to get i…
    Note: for this to work properly you need to use a Cross-Over network cable. 1. Connect both servers S1 and S2 on the second network slots respectively. Note that you can use the 1st slots but usually these would be occupied by the Service Provide…
    how to add IIS SMTP to handle application/Scanner relays into office 365.
    Sending a Secure fax is easy with eFax Corporate ( First, Just open a new email message.  In the To field, type your recipient's fax number You can even send a secure international fax — just include t…

    779 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    15 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now