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Disaster Recovery Option for AD on SBS 2003

KuldipSidhu
KuldipSidhu asked
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Last Modified: 2008-03-10
We have installed SBS 2003 Premium and it is running as the domain controller, exchange and file server. Whilst practicising a diaster recovery scenario and how easy it would be to recover the server on different hardware - we have found restoring the active directory a bit of a nightmare.  

Assuming that in the even of a disaster, that the only media we will have are the installation disks for SBS and the last full backup tape.

I believe the easiest and simplest solution would be to add another W2003 server as a domain controller that would replicate with the primary domain controller running on SBS.  This controller could be based remotely to improve resilience. I am not an expert on this, but could someone please advise if this would be a valid approach and if there were other alternatives.

Assuming this is valid approach i would like to understand the steps involved. Many thanks

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Technology and Business Process Advisor
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Just some thoughts....

Can you use something like Norton Ghost to clone your existing server and put the image onto a "backup" SBS server? This "backup" SBS server will not be online but only contain an image of your current system. May be you can schedule to clone the image every week?

What I am thinking is that if you have a second DC running Windows server 2003 you need to put on Exchange (and SQL and sharepoint etc) manually. You will also need to copy all the data across and resetting all the permissions (I think robocopy can handle that).

I am not sure about the licencing issue if you have SBS2003 AND a Wins server 2003 running at the same time. Can your current SBS CALs be used to the Windows 2003 server? And in case of diaster, can they be converted? Better to find it out before a desicion is made.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Commented:
> Can you use something like Norton Ghost to clone your existing server
> and put the image onto a "backup" SBS server? This "backup" SBS server
> will not be online but only contain an image of your current system. May
> be you can schedule to clone the image every week?

Something like this is only available through software assurance - but technically wouldn't work with SBS since SBS must be the FSMO master DC.  Imaging itself is fine, but to another server is not without the appropriate licensing.

> What I am thinking is that if you have a second DC running Windows
> server 2003 you need to put on Exchange (and SQL and sharepoint etc)
> manually. You will also need to copy all the data across and resetting all
> the permissions (I think robocopy can handle that).

Why?  You can have multiple DCs in an SBS environment.  And they don't need to be running Exchange and other applications.

> I am not sure about the licencing issue if you have SBS2003 AND a
> Wins server 2003 running at the same time. Can your current SBS
> CALs be used to the Windows 2003 server? And in case of diaster,
> can they be converted? Better to find it out before a desicion is made.

SBS CALs cover all servers in the network.  You still need a license for the Windows Server itself, but not the CALs.  
Leew,

What KuldipSidhu mentioned in the case is that he wants a w2k3 server as a backup so if the SBS server breaks down he can get everything back on quickly (seizing the FSMO roles I suppose). There why I said putting Exchange on the w2k3 server otherwise if the SBS server broke down he will be without Exchange.

Yes I found out that SBS CALs cover other server too but do they need to convert to w2k3 CALs?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
One needs to balance the cost of additional server redundancies and how much down time costs.  If he is a stock broker, the server being down for a couple of minutes can cost milliions of dollars at the wrong moment.  If he's selling floral arrangements to people off the street, it's not such a big deal.

You can't just put exchange on another server and expect it to take over if the primary one fails.  You would need some kind of server mirroring software and an appropriate license for SBS.  If this is a critical environment, then SBS is not the right software for him to be running.  He would need something like enterprise editions of Windows and Exchange and have a cluster setup.  This is NOT cheap.  The software licenses for these alone will hit 5 figures.

I don't know what you mean about converting to w2k3 licenses... SBS CALs are the only CALs you need. Period.  Until and unless you migrate away from SBS.

Author

Commented:
If we were restoring back to the same server, then it wouldn't be an issue.  However, when we tried to do a restore to a different server its not that simple.  We can restore everything back ok, including Exchange if you have used the same computer name and exchange db name, but restoring the system state including AD just wouldn't work.

We have a limted number of users, so could create them all manually and set up shares, security, etc.  However to avoid the hassle having another domain controller in the network would help recovery times.

The cost would be for a W2003 server license and the cost of some hardware - which could even be a PC i guess ?

I still need to look at the link LEEW provided and will get back to clarify any points.. thanks

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