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NTBackup restore of Win2k3 DC, DHCP, DNS server

RLAInc
RLAInc asked
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
Our Windows 2k3 standard x86 server is on deaths door. Well, not completely. 1 of the disks in the RAID5 partition went south and caused parity issues to the point that the only solution is to rebuild the RAID array. The only catch is that this is still a live production server (DC, DHCP, DNS, Application, File, and network backup services). This was not my design. I've inherited this mess. So now I have basically our entire network running on a broken RAID5 server.

Anyway, once I get the volume shadow copy service functional again which was working before the crash (I am hoping the http://support.microsoft.com/kb/891957 hot fix will fix this problem or a call to Microsoft), I am planning on doing the following:

1. Run a complete system backup of SERVERX C: drive (including system state) and its D: drive (about 450gb worth of data) using NTBackup to an attached USB drive.
2. Restore the backup from step 1 onto the new server. This new server will have a Win2k3 OS patched w/ the same rev level as the old server, with exact partitions (i.e. the C and D drive). Fix  / config / replace all driver issues. This restore will be done not connected to the network. Once its in a stable state (i.e. drivers and the like). Take the old SERVERX off line and put the new SERVERX on line.

Heres the fun bit. Once I get SERVERX working on the new hardware, I will need to fix the old hardware and do this exact same process again but in reveres so I can free up the new hardware.

I would love to just rebuild the whole thing, but I just dont have the time.

Any thoughts out there on my plan? Should I use something else beside NTBackup (say, like Acronis). Ive done system state restores before w/ NTBackup, but never on a server w/ these many services.


ADDITIONAL NOTE:
I just realized that the Win2k3 server discs that I have are R2's. My SERVERX is not on SP1. Am I screwed using NTBackup for my move?
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Commented:
Here is what I would do - Image your first machine.  Recreate the raid array which will most likely wipe out the data.

Boot from the restore cd then image the data back to the nice and new raid array.
Now you can bring server 2 online and make it another domain controller

Author

Commented:
Thank you for your suggestion. If I had a tested reliable BU, I would do such a thing. Unfortunately, I don't. If I proceed w/ your suggestion and wipe out the old server and the restore doesn't work, we are dead in the water.

Remember, the old server is up and running. I am using the new server as a failsafe. My line of thinking is that if the restore bombs in a way that's not hardware related (i.e. hardware drivers), I'll know it right away w/ out the loss of the functional old server.

Since SERVERX is running all of these services, should I rely solely on the backup of the system state or should I take extra steps of doing individual service backups (i.e. DHCP backup, DNS backup)?

Am I screwed w/ using NT Backup as the restore system to the new server since the new server is R2 and the old server isn't (its at SP1)? If so, I do have Acronis True Image Echo Server at my disposal. Any issues that I should know using Acronis?

Commented:
Acronis is superior in backup up then NTbackup.

When you image the machine it is a backup.  So lets say you proceed with my plan and something goes wrong.  You can boot from the cd and put the image back to the original disk array as if nothing happened.
This same technique can be used to move an OS to a new raid array in the same machine.  The OS doesnt care what array config it sits on (Ie raid 5, raid 1, etc) as long as it has the drivers its happy.
Since you will image the machine while its working (which means it has drivers) you will be fine.

Author

Commented:
My fear is that installing Acronis on the SERVERX may break it. This is why I am trying to get this to work w/ NTBackup

Commented:
If just one of the raid 5 disks went south then it will be fine the performance is just going to be degraded.

JMO - ntbackup makes it so much harder to do what your doing and I would take the chance to install and run Acronis.

Author

Commented:
Have you used Acronis?

Commented:
Many times.  Moved mission critical machines with it with no problems

Author

Commented:
I think at this point I am going to roll the dice and do the imaging thing but add a little VMware to it. Of course this is all a moot point if I can't get VSS to work.

- Image SERVERX.
- Restore image to a VM on the new server. I am thinking that this approach instead of a P to P would avoid any funky conflicting driver issues.
- Once I am satisfied that the VM restore worked (i.e. disconnecting the old SERVERX form the network and conecting the new VM SERVERX to the network), I can then rebuild the RAID array then do a restore while having my "new server failsafe" in place in case everything goes south.

What do you think?

One nagging thought in all this is that would it be better to do this offline (i.e. imaging to a USB drive)? We're talking about a 436 GB data partition and a 16 GB system partition so the backup / verify would take a long time to complete.

Commented:
I did the same thind but no virtual servers.
The problem or hassle is lets say you image the real machine then port it to a VM and run it live.
Now they are not exactly the same so you would need to image the VM and place the image back to the real machine once the array is fixed.

When i imaged my file server it was also very large about 500gb
So when I imaged it I did it to a NAS storage unit on the network.  An external HD woudl work fine as well.

Another route would be this....

Pwer down the server install an IDE hard drive or sata if you have the spare connection.

Image the machine to the hard drive.  Boot from that single disk make sure the image is OK.
If ok then do this - power back down replace drives as needed (in the raid array)
Start  machine
Configure array
Boot from single disk
Now you should have booted from the single disk and the raid array will be shown in disk management you may need to initilize it though.
Now you can image back from the single disk to the array.
Power down and unplug single disk
Boot from array

Author

Commented:
An update:

I am still working on getting my VSS fixed w/ MS. I am now working w. the VSS development team.

Commented:
10-4 keep us updated
Commented:
This one is on us!
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