Restoring Backup of System State&Programs to different hardware? Taken with Backup Exec 12.5

Posted on 2009-04-23
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
This may be a stupid question...

Backups including System & Service State, & certain Program files folders are taken with Backup Exec 12.5.
OS is Windows Server 2003 (SP2 or R2)

If a server dies completely and the backup needs to be restored, but identical hardware is NOT available - what are the implications of the the Hardware being different?

Will Windows completely reject the System State on the backup tape?

If this will work, is it due to some special functionality provided by Backup Exec (&/or certain versions therein?)
Question by:Softech99754096
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    As far as I know, it won't work. The most likely outcome will be a blue screen and an unstable or completely nonfunctional system. This is more of a Windows limitation than anything to do with Backup Exec. I'm not aware of a BE version, or any other backup system that would support different hardware.

    Either have identical hardware handy or migrate to using virtualized servers (VMware/HyperV), then you won't have to worry about hardware.

    Author Comment

    Thanks, thats what I thought but was doubting myself.

    What about AD Data in particular?

    If, god forbid, all DCs died (fire, alien landing etc) and I needed to restore the domain -  Would Backup Exec/Windows support this in some way?

    (If only one/some DCs died then clearly Roles can be seized where necessary etc)
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    The situation with DCs is (again, as far as I know) exactly the same, you need identical hardware. If you lose every DC in your environment and don't have appropriate hardware to restore the backups to, you're pretty much screwed. Hopefully it'll never get to that, which is why it's paramount that you have sufficient redundancy built in. As you noted, with just one DC surviving you can promote other servers, replicate and seize the fsmo roles.
    LVL 27

    Expert Comment

    I got no experience if it is wise with DC controllers, but one big advantage of vmware servers is it always runs on the same hardware.

    So a backup of a virtual machine of one esx server can of cause run on an esx server with complete different hardware.

    Especially for  linux servers you no longer have to care for proper drivers for san, iscsi and such.


    It might be a good idea to consider acronis instead:

    After a system crash, Acronis® True Image Enterprise Server allows you to perform the entire server restore in just minutes. Complete system restoration can be performed to an existing system as well as to a new system with different hardware or to a virtual server (requires Acronis Universal Restore add-on).

    LVL 27

    Expert Comment

    Symantec also comes with restore on different hardware option:

    Features Available with  Backup Exec for Windows Servers System Recovery Option

    Restore Backups to Same or Dissimilar Hardware
    Recover from system loss or disasters to dissimilar hardware platforms.


    so in short, coccobill is right, without that software option you cannot restore your servers.


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