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Optimal way to replicate a Windows NT4.0 installation another server

Posted on 2007-04-11
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Our question is, what is the best way to replicate an existing
NT4.0 server onto a new box, hopefully without the disk partition
limitations inherent to NT4.0.  The server is currently being backed
up using Netbackup on a UNIX system we have.  We also have Ghost available
to use as well.  

While we could potentially use either Netbackup or Ghost to replicate the
server, I'd like to explore other options as well.  Any utilities you know
about that would make this job easier to work with?  I'm putting high
points on this question due to time constraints.  Thanks for your help.

More information:

We have an old Windows NT box we use for Peoplesoft.
This installation has been modified, customized and patched
over the course of the years and we can't do a fresh install
on a new server because our peoplesoft developers cannot replicate the
current installation.  This server was built prior to my time, and
they put both development and production on the same server - genious.

We are now in the uneviable position of having to upgrade this server.

To make matters even worse, there isn't currently enough space
to upgrade the operating system on this server.  We would like to
replicate this server onto another one and work with the new server.
i.e. bring up a copy of this server with a new name and IP address,
bring up the development environment on the new server and work the
upgrade path on that server while production stays safe and sound
on the old NT server.  Once the dev environment is good we'll bring
up production on that server as well.  

Basically, we're stuck between the old and the new a looking for a better bridge.

mltets
(Jim)
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Question by:mltets
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jpboyce earned 500 total points
ID: 18890670
The biggest issue I see you running into with replicating to another hardware server is ensuring the physical hardware is similar enough so you don't run into a lot of problems.  Have you considered virtualisation for this?  VMWare Converter would allow you to backup your existing box to a virtual machine.  It seems to support NT 4 from what the documentation says.  http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/
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by:mltets
ID: 18890704
I've thought about it, one of the main problems we have is our budget, which is a whopping $0.  I could possibly squeeze a little fundage from the stone, but not too much...
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by:mltets
ID: 18890761
Is there a converter that does the same basic thing but to a Windows Virtual Server?  I'll have to look into that...
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Expert Comment

by:jpboyce
ID: 18890766
Ah, sounds like the typical scenario then :P  I've never personally done a ghost or backup of an NT server and then restored it to a different server, I know of someone who did it with 2000 and had all sorts of problems because the target hardware was slightly different (CPUs had a different stepping or something).  He was using NTBackup at the time for this.  That's why I suggested the virtualisation route.  The Vmware program I suggested does have a free edition, so you could investigate that option if you have the time and a spare server with some capacity.  THe other option may be some of the Disaster recovery programs out there which allow bare metal restores.  I have never looked into them much personally but I'm assuming you can restore to different hardware to that of the source machine.  Of course, being a niche market of sorts, they probably cost quite a bit too.
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by:jpboyce
ID: 18890802
Off the Windows Virtual Server FAQ:
Q. Does Microsoft offer a physical machine-to-virtual machine (P2V) conversion tool?
A. Yes. The Virtual Server Migration Toolkit (VSMT) is currently available to download.

Download link is http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/evaluation/vsmt.mspx  Works with NT 4 as long as you have SP6a installed.
 
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by:mltets
ID: 18890901
wow...  let me dig into this one quick...  hhmm..  I'm already downloading the free VMWare server software...  If you had to recommend one or the other, which would you prefer between VMWare and Windows Virtual Server?  I've used the Windows Virtual server a few times in the past and it's free as well...  Choices choices...
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by:mltets
ID: 18906000
The Windows Virtual Server won't be a viable option for us.  To use the Migration tool you have to have Automated Deployment Services (ADS) installed on your network which requires Win2003 Enterprise version and PXE setup and all that, I'm looking into the VMWare solution.  Wonder if that requires the full VMWare Infrastructure or if it will work with a simple VMWare server...  
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by:mltets
ID: 18931721
Great answer!  Thanks for your help.  It looks like we're going with the vmware solution...  Better options in the long run...
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