Disaster Recovery, Offsite Backup Server

Posted on 2009-04-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hello everyone,

We are currently attempting to setup a backup server to our main server in the event of disaster.

We are running SBS 2003, so as you can image theres alot going on with just this one server.

We need to have the backup server as close to a replica as we can get to our main server.

We currently have named this backup server the same name as the main server, as well as the domain names.  The machines are NOT part of the same domain, but the domain name is the same.  This is so we can restore the Exchange Mailboxes from an NT Backup on to the backup server without any problems.(Had to do a brick layer backup last time, not too fun, and couldnt do all of the mailboxes, since many mailboxes are over 2gig, in the event of disaster we obviously wouldnt have time to run around and manually download everyones email into a .pst since our server doesnt exist anymore).

We are going to have this server offsite, and it will be part of an SQL replication chain.  If disaster ever occurs, we will take the ntbackup data and restore the hard drive files that we need on to the backup server.

This obviously means that email coming in to the server will be halted unless we divert the mail with a backup mx record to the backup server.

Theres also a small issue with the ADMT, it will not let me migrate user accounts from the current domain to the new domain (since they have the same domain name!).

The primary issue here is the naming, same server name and domain name.  This is required to do an exchange restore yet its going to cause problems with ADMT, putting it on the same subnet on our network to finish updating/activating(so it can access the router/internet), and of course there might be a problem with SQL replication.

Like I said, the backup server should at all times be in a state where if our server was to be destroyed in some manner, stolen, malfunction, hit with a nuclear warhead, melted in a fire etc, that the backup server could take over in a couple hours after doing some file data restores.

Anyway, my primary concern is this naming conflict.  I dont understand why I am required to have the same name exchange server, when doing so causes problems elsewhere.

Seems like SBS wasnt built for disaster recovery.

Question by:recruitit
    LVL 18

    Accepted Solution

    Double-Take Software has an SBS solution that you should look into. It will make your life a lot easier. Can configure automatic failover and failback or manually do it with the click of a button.

    Author Comment

    Too be completely honest I think the whole thing is totally overboard.  I mean what are the chances that anything like this is ever going to happen.

    To top it off, as long as I have a complete windows backup set and exchange (ntbackup).  I can restore the data to another machine (although not active directory/system state, another pain in the rear), and would at least have our data intact.

    I mean, if we were a humongous corporation with normal Windows Server machines capable of AD replication/Exchange Replication/File System Replication, etc etc etc, then this sort of thing would be a piece of cake, but trying to do this with SBS is just rediculous.

    Anyone have any suggestions?  If it were me personally, I would just get some fancy imaging backup software that can do bare metal restores regardless of the system hardware.

    Author Comment

    Thanks, just checked it out, looks pretty good.  Unfortionetly it also sounds like its going to cost alot of money.  If its anything more than the imaging backup software my boss isnt going to go for it.  Will take a look though.

    Dont understand why they have to call me to setup a demo though ><

    Author Comment

    Yea, Double Take is going to cost too much unfortionetly.

    I guess I am stuck with manually reconfiguring the entire AD.

    Thanks anyways
    LVL 18

    Assisted Solution

    This is the problem with most small business. You need to sit down with management and go over your current strategy. Go over what needs toe be done, by whom and how long it will take. Take in to account the downtime that will occur and come up with a round number that will reflect lost potential income as well as what you are paying your working for to do nothing during the transition. Odds are these numbers will be far greater than paying $5,000 - $7,000 for a piece of software that will give you piece of mind and let you sleep at night...

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