SBS 2003 remote mirror/backup server?

Posted on 2008-10-23
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I am soon to be installing an SBS 2003 R2 server for a business.   They have two sites, a main office and a small office a couple of miles away.  They have a VPN connection between the two, although nothing really goes on at the small office.

The company is pretty hot on backup and disaster prevention, and it has been suggested to me that I use the VPN to backup the SBS 2003 server to the smaller office.  They don't want to bother with third-party remote backup companies.

I think the idea is a good one, but I am unsure what my best option is.  Ideally I would like to set up a mirror server at the second site, that is automatically kept identical in every way.  I am not even sure if this is possible.  The company already has a Server 2003 box setu p which is being decommisioned (long story) and I could use this either in its current flavour or with SBS 2003 if possible.

The second option that has been suggested  to me is some kind of live, low-bandwidth backup link between the two sites.  I suppose I could make an image of the SBS 2003 server every week, and if the worst happens, restore it with up-to-date backups from the second site.

I am open to ideas on this one, cost isn't a massive issue.
Question by:Lord_Lovatt
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Expert Comment

ID: 22788814
What exactly are they trying to do here.....
Prevent downtime?
First - if the domain already has win2k3 in it I would leave it and put in a new machine.
Second I would add a second domain controller so if one machine goes down operations will still continue.
As for the 3rd party apps why not?

Alternatively with a small setup you could create a baseline image and do incrementals but I would go the other way I just told you.

Author Comment

ID: 22788877
ryansoto, the objectives are are to prevent downtime and data loss.

Long story about the current Server 2003, it is basically a highly complex corporate set up, too complicated for the business needs.  They are trying to dumb it down a little.  I have more experience of SBS 2003 so suggested this.

No problem with 3rd party apps, they just don't want to use remote online backup services.  Company policy I guess, nothing I can argue with.
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Accepted Solution

ryansoto earned 250 total points
ID: 22788956
Thats fine - what I would do then
1 SBS machine and load backup exec 2003 to backup email and data.  Data will be backed up to a local drive or NAS or external hard drive not online storage.
I would then add a second domain controller for backup domain operations.

The only bad thing I have to say with SBS is all your eggs are in one basket with exchange being on a domain controller and this machine being the root of the forest and all that comes along with SBS.

If your comfortable with setting up exchange without SBS then I would look at 1 win2k3 server operating as a domain controller and one std win2k3 machine operating as an exchange server.
But I would still use backup exec as the solution in both situations.  Hope this helps.
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Assisted Solution

firemanf29 earned 250 total points
ID: 22789236
I agree with ryansoto last suggestion.  But I'd say you need 2 domain controllers so you have one for redundancy.  With Exchange that would be 3 total servers.  And Backupexec is definitely the way to go.  One additional thing.. What is the bandwidth to the remote office?
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 22789258
I owuld also say 2 domain controllers but left one out due to possible cost overruns.  But f you can afford 3 boxes that would be the stellar way

Expert Comment

ID: 22853013
OK, I'm looking to do something similar. My client has a single SBS server on a reasonably specced server (2 x Xeon, RAID drive array, twin power supply.) I run Backup Exec, onto tapes AND disk.
But what would a recovery time be in case of a server failure? What about a Bare Metal restore?

1. Local additional domain servers can replicate AD info for sure, but replicating all of that to another server is a  L O N G  process
2. Cannot move RAID drive array to anything other than the same hardware (iin this case built into motherboard) (so should I consider a 2nd server of the same type?)
3. I want to get off-site backup working without using a third party, and we can provide additional hardware at other company sites.

I'm thinking Double-Take for SBS. However, when I last tried this 15 months ago, it was hopeless. (And doesn't support failover.)

Thanks for any contributions

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Expert Comment

ID: 22853073
BrianMilnes - start a new thread

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