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Preparing a standby MSSQL 2000 Server computer

Posted on 2006-11-02
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In a Windows SBS 2003 domain, there is a member server, configured with MSSQL Server 2000 in support of a mission critical ERP application. Routinely, the application database is backuped via an Enterprise Manager maintenance plan. Additionally, the master, model and msdb databases are also backuped at the same time.

I am planning to prepare a standby server and would appreciate some ideas and suggestions from experienced quarters. Specifically,

- The standby server computer is of a different hardware configuration - consequently, restoring from an image backup is of limited use.
- Instead, I plan to have MSSQL and the ERP application installed fresh on the standby server, and
- Ready for the most recent database backup available to be restored in a disaster recovery situation.
- Will MSSQL 2000 server configuration be fully restored from just the master, model and msdb databases, in addition to the application database?
- Given the above scenario, are there any other considerations? And gotchas that I should be aware of?

As you can see, it would be weight off my mind once I have got a standby server ready to spring into action, should the need ever arises. Thanks
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Question by:garychu
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sanjaykp earned 500 total points
ID: 17865686
Gary,

You seem to have most issues sorted out. To answer your question, yes, if you restore the system db's and the application db to your standby server, it should more or less mirror your production server's dbs.

Just a few caveats;

1. You have pointed out that your hardware configuration's different. Look carefully at the CPU (or number of CPU's) memory and disk sizing issues in the standby server, comparing it with the production server, and whether it can sustain the load of a similar number of users and load. The last thing you want is a spanking good DR plan, only to see that the standby server falls over because it cannot sustain the load imposed upon it.

2. Think your backup stategy through if you want to restore the logs to the point of failure. For example, consider a combination of a Full Backup and a Differential backup to see whether it's more efficient in terms of helping to reduce backup time.

3. Apart from the regular backup, it's a good idea to always script application databases, just in case...

4. I know this is a cliche, but always test restores, and not just once. Do schedule them. You'll be surprised how many DBA never test a restore... I'm not going into the consequences!

5. Test your DR plan once every 3-6 months, and actually run your production system off it for testing it's reliability.

6. Run through network connections to the prod server and document them. Ensure that they can be reproduced on the standby system.

7. Because of the complex nature of todays' systems, it's always handy to have a list of people to contact with their relevant telephone numbers and their responsibilities, with the DR documents. There are a few instances of DR plans failing because the Platform Administrator's absent, and no one knows the password of the DR system. You can guess the outcome.

Cheers, and best of luck.
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by:garychu
ID: 17878130
Thank you very much indeed for your suggestions, sanjaykp.
And considerations that I will most definitely take onboard.
Meanwhile, can you help me on;
1. It is too costly to configure a standy server with close enough grunt to the production server, to be acceptable to management. I suppose it would be okay to agree on a limited (much smaller than normal) number of key users and period of time the standy server will be used. The time it takes for the production server to be replaced. You think this will be okay?
2. I have not thought about the transaction logs. Will the transaction logs be backuped as well in a Full Backup scenario? Presently, backup time is not a key consideration. 24 hour old backup is acceptable to management.
3. Script apllication databases - what is meant by this?

Your continued feedback and suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks again.
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