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Restoring Server Data

Posted on 2007-03-22
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I have to replace and rebuild my RAID 5 configuration due to lack of space on my current setup. I am runing Windows 2000 Server and  Microsoft Exchnage. I will have to back up and reinstall my operating system, along with restoring data, user information etc. How should I prepare for such a task? I'm concerned about DNS, Active Directory, User rights, network connectivity.... How can I ensure that problem issues will be minmized? It seems like a gigantic task...

Thank you
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Question by:jcarter123
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dbacks1000 earned 672 total points
ID: 18774884
If you have access to an imaging software like Symantec's Ghost or something you task would be greatly simplified.  At that point you can boot up that server with the Ghost boot disk, image the system to a laptop or another computer with a large enough hard drive.  Then you can pull the drives out, put the new drives in and reimage the server again.

Before you begin this process you should still do a System State backup, file backup, and Exchange backup in case something happens.

This is what I would do.  Otherwise if you have only one server it will ge a lot of work.

Hope this helps.
Mike
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by:Zenith63
Zenith63 earned 664 total points
ID: 18775253
Have you've looked into just adding drives to the current RAID set and extending the partitions?  This facility is available on most modern hardware RAID Controllers.  It is done "online" with no changes to the data on the RAID set necessary.  Obviously a complete backup is still very important.  Just thought I'd mention it in case you hadn't considered this possibility...

A further possibility, depending on what server you're using and what you're upgrading is putting both sets of drives into the server, one on each controller and let the controllers migrate the data.

I think if you gave us some more info on the server in question and what you're actually changing/upgrading it would be handy.  For instance if you happen to be on HP servers and can access a spare one for a short time you could look at the "HP P2P SMP" which is a cool new piece of software which allows you move data from any server to a HP server maintained the OS etc., with the option of moving to larger partitions.
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by:robstacey
robstacey earned 664 total points
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Is this server a domain controller?  That could cause a headache, but you could demote it to a member and proceed with the rest of my suggestion.  (if it's not your only DC at which point you're a bit stuffed without extra hardware)
If not try this: just stop all unnecessary services (Exchange, DNS or whatever) and then do a full backup of everything on that box (Windows Backup will do fine). Fundamentally your server is just a bunch of files, the problems with backup/restores arise when services hold some of the key files locked so they aren't backed up.
Then increase your hard drive size, reinstall the OS to the same Service Pack level, configure the drive letters to be the same as previously and install whatever drivers you need to be able to access your backup device.  Then do a full restore from windows backup of the data drives as the first job. Then do a separate full restore of the operating system drive and the system state. Reboot the machine, cross everything and voila! one server on bigger drive space.
I've used this technique to migrate from Compaq/HP to Dell hardware and when upgrading to newer hardware, simply upgrading the disks in the same server removes a lot of the hassles with different hardware specific drivers that I suffered from.,
Key points for this.  Restore server must be on the same service pack as the original (small updates don't matter too much, it's mainly the service pack)
If you're moving to a different piece of kit make sure that you install necessary RAID drivers for the destination hardware on the source box BEFORE taking the backup, if it can get to the operating system after the restore and reboot the battle is pretty much complete.
It's not without it's stress and worry moments but it does work
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