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sbs 2008 bare metal restore

Posted on 2009-07-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Hi All,

I've got functioning SBS 2008 server running on an HP Proliant dl360 G4p.

My question is regarding the best way to ensure I provide a quick recovery time objective. In other words I want to (in the event of a HDD disaster) be able to get the server back up and running from a backup as qick as possibel.

Background info which might help:

Server has 2 x 146GB 15k RPM U320 disks mirrored using the HP Smartstart disk at install time. So hardware raid configured outside the OS.

SBS 2008 being backed up via the native new backup service (incremental daily) to an external USB2 300GB HDD.

2 X 146GB 10K RPM U320 disks (off ebay) standing by and waiting as secondaries for impending doom's day scenario.

Crux of the question:

Basically my recovery strategy (in theory) is to at regular intervals (say quaterly) power the server down, remove the primary disks, replace with the secondaries. Power the server backup and boot from the DVD (SBS disk1) and complete a bare metal restore alla Nickolas King's handy little article:


Where I'm a little hazy/concerned is how the HP hardware mirroring (raid) side of things would work. Specifically I'm worried that if I remove the primary disks and replace with the secondaries, the mirrored, logical disk created by the HP hardware prior to the OS having anything to do with things might be in some way changed/replaced.

Do any of you with more experience restoring from failed disk type scenarios on HP DLs have some light to shed on this. Is my plan valid or would I end up with (possibly a valid restore to the secondary disks) but unusable primary disks?

Question by:Jinsterficator
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Expert Comment

ID: 24868607
I think you would be better off getting something like acronis to backup your server to the degree you wish to.

Configure it as follows:

Daily to do diffrential backups, and then every hour you do incremental backups - at most you lost an hour, a day if the incrementals are damaged. Delete the incrementals after the next diffrential has finished, if you wish to conserve space, and always verify the backup, it may take longer, but it will save your a$$!
LVL 74

Accepted Solution

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 200 total points
ID: 24871058
I totally disagree.  You do not need Acronis for SBS 2008.  The native backup will do just fine.

You also don't need to follow that article you linked because that's about running SBS 2008 virtualized, which you aren't doing.

It's really quite simple.  If you should have a hard drive failure, you can restore the SBS Backup to almost ANY computer (it doesn't even have to be your server with replaced drives, I've restored an SBS 2008 to my laptop and had my network back up and functioning within about 30 minutes).

You can set the SBS Backup to run incrementally as often as every 30 minutes if you like.

To test your recovery, just restore the backup to a spare workstation if you have one.

If you have any crazy configuration that doesn't seem to fit the SBS's native backup parameters, I'd suggest that you look at adding BackupAssist which will provide all the extras you might need.


Author Comment

ID: 24893301
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the comments.

My feedback would be:

1. I don't want to use a 3rd party backup tool unless I really have to. I don't see my needs as anything over and above the functionality built into the SBS 2008 backup tool. I know it's limited but so are my needs. As long as I've got a backup of the OS, exchange, AD and redirected user data I'm happy.
If my needs do change I'll have a look at Acronis.

2. I may be showing my ignorance here but am I missing something on the CPU requirements of SBS 2008. I was under the impression that SBS 2008 (the version I've got at least) is x64. Will it really work restoring a 64bit OS to a 32bit workstation or LapTop?

Really my question was more around the the HP RAID side of things and if swapping disks will compromise the data/raid arrangement of the primary set of disks?

That being said, you probably will have worked out that I've got some experience in computing but not so much with Windows and x86/64. Any advice is well received.


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Expert Comment

ID: 25048912
I understand you aren't looking for 3rd party solutuions but I am going to make a software recommendation and explain why: I have been using ShadowProtect by Storage Craft. It comes in a desktop and a server edition, I believe that the server edition would give you the flexibility you need to attach whatever hardware backups systems you want to use and automate by various differential and incrementalal methods. While it makes mirror/clones of the drive, it does do in a way that the volume can be mounted (similar to in the Mac OS) and you can then see and restore individual files.

The really amazing thing about this software is that, unlike other cloning/back-up programs, you can build a cloned image to a bare metal machine which has a different hardware configuration than the machine it was cloned from--it allows for changing drivers during installation to work with the new machine--so for disaster recovery its quite amazing. I've restored both to the original machine and to different hardware, and it worked in both cases. Phone support is good. So I think it gets you the flexible backup system you need plus this added capacity for recovery in any environment,

When I had a RAID do down, I was able to rebuild the RAID but had lost the data on both drives as when the first started degrading it degraded the information on the mirror and I lost the image/data, swapping them out in my case didn't save anything. But since I had a StorageCraft/ShadowProtect disk image, I had the image on the RAID completely rebuilt within an hour, no loss of function or data. The advantage over the built-in back-up is that the StorageCraft boots from a CD to a small windows environment in a bare metal environment that lets you manage drives, drivers and images before anything is actually installed. giving a lot of flexibility.

Expert Comment

ID: 25049702
I believe StorageCraft uses a product called Zenith under the covers. They sell an appliance that can be used on-site but... depending on your infrastructure, the appliance may be a little under sized to provide adequate resources to maintain your production environment at time of disaster.

In terms of the questions that were asked...
1) Backing up using the SBS tools may meet your requirements but... keep the following in mind: what are your protecting against? This strategy will probably help you recover from a drive failure. I'm not sure how good the BMR process is but... If you can't find the same hardware you should still be able to recover it but... I would make sure you test this. Some other things to consider... how many generations of backup data do you need? what to do for remote recoveries (i.e. are you taking the disks off-site). How long would it take to recover locally/remotely? How much data can you afford to loose. Once you consider some of these things... you'll be in a better position to decide if the native tool will meet your needs.
2) My understanding on the 32 vs 64 bit is that you can go from 32 to 64 but not 64 to 32. This is what I've heard. I have been able to run a 32bit virtual machine on 64bit hardware.

In terms of swapping the drives... it's a legitimate question. Some RAID controllers are better than others and may have different ways that they handle a drive replacement  but... you should be able to import a foreign config. I would check with the server manufacture on this.

Hope this helps.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 25160291

"2. I may be showing my ignorance here but am I missing something on the CPU requirements of SBS 2008. I was under the impression that SBS 2008 (the version I've got at least) is x64. Will it really work restoring a 64bit OS to a 32bit workstation or LapTop?"

My laptop is x64 and it is true that you can only restore to x64 hardware.  I should have been clearer and stated "ANY x64 computer".

Secondly... I think I see where your confusion is.

You would never want to remove BOTH disks (if they are mirrored).  The entire concept of having a RAID is so that you can replace a disk WITHOUT restoring a backup.

Your full backup would only be needed should you have a failure of the RAID mirror.

So the fact that you have two extra "reserve" drives is fine, but don't expect that both of your primary drives will fail at exactly the same time.  (Although I have seen that happen before it's VERY rare).


Expert Comment

ID: 33151892
Hi Jeff,
I know this is an old post, however, I wanted to check.. I guess the partition of the SBS 2008 was small for you to be able to restore to laptop and you had BIG laptop drive or external USB etc....
I ask based on the bare metal rule of the partitions being at least same size as server.
Just checking that I understand.. and WELL DONE.. restore to a x64 laptop.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 33242263

The laptop's hard drive was plenty big to be able to accommodate a 60GB SBS Partition.  



Expert Comment

ID: 33537137
I use Storage Crafts Shadow Protect SBS server and have done many BMRs with it: SBS 2003.
* When doing P to P BMR make sure the hard disk is at least same size or bigger. One time I swapped out a RAID controller and the new disk array was slightly smaller. I had to restore to a single large HD first and then Ghost over to the new RAID (Ghost and Acronis can restore to smaller disks).
* SP restore is not fast: 4-10 MBs through put using DAS, eSata, USB it doesn't matter. No compression is faster with DAS, compression is faster with USB. At this rate a restore can take hours or even days.
* SP is susceptible to data corruption: if you don't regularly test mount your images the one you need may be corrupted! As a last resort, you can mount the image as writable, run chkdsk, then save and restore the new image.
* SP has very good HAL discovery: if you have the server drivers, you can load them prior to booting the new image. Much better than Acronis.
* You CANNOT restore to significantly different hardware. One time I tried going from an 8 cor MoBo to an old HP 2 cor MoBo and Windows OS prevented logon and registration (after two weeks of trying, MS support engineers said this was by design). Even with identical hardware but different RAID Windows requires you to register within 3 days.
* SP is very easy to restore a single file you just mount the image and copy the file over.

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