Restoring An SBS 2003 Server - Backup Exec 11d

Posted on 2009-02-19
Last Modified: 2013-12-01

I am testing DR for our network. We have an SBS2003 server with two other DCs. I have successfully tested restoring the SBS server using ASR, although I am looking at the process of restoring the server in the case of a hardware failure, say the system disk, and for some reason the ASR is not possible (e.g. someone lost the floppy). We use Backup Exec 11d for all our backups across the network, backing up the disk.

Suppose I have a backup of the system partition, shadow copy components and system state. I replace the failed disk and start to re-install the OS. After the install I boot into Windows. At this point you would usually continue setup to configure the server if doing a fresh install.

What do I do now? I can push the remote agent out to the server, but how do I get the BE media server to restore to this server? I can't rejoin the server back to the domain with the same name without deleting the original DC object out of AD, and without the server being back on the domain with this name BE won't connect to it. I can't redirect the restore as this just restores the system state files to folders on the server.

I know in a non-SBS domain the easiest thing would be to reinstall and DCPROMO, but with an SBS server I'm unsure if this is possible.

How can I get the SBS server back up and running from these backups?

Thanks in advance.
Question by:gcz
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    In SBS you can reinstall and DCPromo, but best way to have the type of backups you need is hardware RAID. Disk failure, the system just notice you of the dead disk and keeps running.

    Or you can have a solution that mirror's the entire disk/partition like (comercial) Acronis True Image for Microsoft® Windows Small Business Server. There are opensource solutions but not good as this for Server hosts.

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    I know it's possible to DCPROMO an SBS server, but I'm concerned about the implications of doing so in an existing domain. As far as I can see, in order to get BE to push the restore out, it needs to 'think' it's restoring to the same server. If I am re-installing the OS, this means I will have to join the machine back to the existing domain with the same machine name.

    This isn't possible (or at least I haven't figured it out!) while the DC's computer object still exists in the directory, and I'm sure that this will also cause problems when trying to DCPROMO the machine back into the domain. I think that deleting the original DC object out of AD is a big no-no, even if I was to authoritatively restore the SBS server's entire AD database. I am assuming that this in itself would cause replication problems after the authoritative restore.

    As far as RAID goes, we do use this to protect data such as our Exchange DB, but I wouldn't want to solely rely on this to protect our data, and this also wouldn't help us in the case of a fatal crash of the OS.

    The real issue is how do I get BE to restore to the newly re-installed server without affecting AD on the other DCs?

    I think I'm missing a trick somewhere!
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Don't know if is this you trying to get, but in resume, after a little reading, i find out that BE works pretty the same way Acronis True Image (wich i use);

    You can restore a backup to same hardware, dissimilar hardware and to virtual virtual environments (just like says in BE site).
    In identical situations (with Acronis) i was able to restore one server to identical hardware, and a workstation to a virtual machine (just to get back user definitions). In dissimilar hardware never had chance to test it.

    So i think in the same way, in a situation of a hardware failure (disk, memory, etc.) you can restore a BE backup to a new server. In this situation, no worry about the AD, because is transparent, the machine (and it's configurations) are exactly the same before the old server failure. The AD notices no changes in the machine (it's an exact copy).

    Hope this helps...
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the reply, although I think you're referring to Backup Exec System Restore, which is an imaging app. I am using Backup Exec 11d.

    I have experimented with Acronis and the built in ASR, but I am looking at a worst case scenario!
    LVL 27

    Accepted Solution

    It's probably best that you have either a 3rd party imaging app or ASR for your disaster recovery.

    However, failing this you could use ntbackup to locally back up the server, either to a network share or to a local disk and then get Backup Exec to pull the bkf files back to the media server.

    In a DR situation, you could perform a base OS install, then push the ntbackup bkf files down to the new server. Then use ntbackup to restore the server to it's former DC state by performing a system partition and system state restore in DSRM mode. Reboot and you server will be back on the domain as a DC.

    If you are restoring to different hardware using this method, you will most likely have to re-install drivers for NIC, video etc, but no biggy. If the server won't boot due to hardware issues, perform a repair install from the Windows OS CD and you *should* be up again.

    Again, this isn't a nice way to do things and would be a last resort if you can't perform a re-image or ASR restore.
    LVL 27

    Expert Comment

    I forgot to mention - when you push the bkf files back down to the server, you can 'redirect' the files, negating the need to restore to a server with the exact same name / domain membership.
    LVL 1

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks - this workaround looks like the best it's going to get!

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