Looking for server snapshot / NAS solution for faster disaster recovery

I'd like to implement a snapshot / NAS system that can replicate the state of critical servers.
In case a server like MS Exchange would crash, I'd like to be able to rebuild it quickly before restoring data from the daily backups.

I'm looking at something that could keep track of 4-5 servers.

Some product recommendations would be appreciated.

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Backup Exec System Recovery.

I use the LiveState version.
Works quite well.


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There are many ways to do this. You can look at NAS / Snapshot utilities but they work at the byte level of the hard disks. Therefore, they are great if you have the boot drives etc on an external array. Normally, boot disks are local, all other disks are external (NAS or SAN for example).

If you already have a NAS/SAN then this will come with some sort of snapshot software included.

My recommendation would be as follows:

1. Using a tool like GHOST or Alteris (HP Rapid Deployment centre) create images of the boot volumes. Store these images in 2 places. (1. on a hidden partition on the server itself for fast recovery and also on a shared network area for safe recovery.)

2. GHOST can use a networked version to track the servers and versions and also to push out the images using a PXE boot (if your network cards support PXE booting).

In practice, this means you can remove the 'failed' boot disk, and replace with a new one. Then push the image to the server and it will de-compress and install itself onto the new disk. All existing settings will be kept and the server will reboot and carry on working. I have used this on 2 servers and upto 500 servers in a large data centre. Works very well. I can push an image and get a Windows 2003 server booting within 30 mins of brand new hard disks being installed.

This assumes the following:

High speed network that supports PXE (most network cards do)
Images are kept up to date (I suggest weekly, and can be done without impact to servers)
All other data and applications are located on different disks to the boot drives. Important and best practice anyway.

Hope this helps
I agree with pgm554.

Backup Exec System Recovery is a great product.

Here is how it works: You install the software on the server you want to make a backup of. You then select which disk(s) you want to backup and you create a job. You can point the job to local disks you have on the machine or to a network share to backup to. Once the job completes you now have an backup of the running configuration of your system. Now say the machine goes down and you need to rebuild. You take the disk you installed the software with and boot using it. You then point to the location of the last backup you have of the machine. It restores the image and then the machine will boot to the state of your last backup.

Restore time depends on location of the backup, your network infrastructure and the hardware you are restoring to. May be a few other variables but these are just a few.
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