Most reliable way to clone a server to new hardware?

Whenever I need to clone a server to new server hardware, it sometimes goes easily and sometimes it is a nightmare. I typically use either Backup Exec System Recovery or Acronis. Very often, when restoring a BESR or Acronis image, the restore will succeed but then I won't be able to boot into the OS because it bluescreens and reboots immediately and no amount of installation CD repair will recover it.

The other problem is that I often cannot find the drivers I need for the new server hardware. The Acronis CD is BartPE (XP), and so often there are no XP drivers for server RAID hardware. The same is true of the BESR restore CD... often there are no drivers that work with it and the destination hardware, so I can't restore.

I'm hoping somebody like me who clones servers to new hardware all the time has figured out a better process. What process do you use? What process works most reliably for you, with the fewest headaches? Many thanks.
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jameso99Commented:
I've found that if you remove the IDE controller drivers from the Device Manager before you do a clone it will not blue screen, but that kind of depends on the hardware that you are moving it to.  You'll still need to install all the device drivers but this way your OS gets moved.
You'll need the motherboard's manufacturer CD, often shipped with servers especially if it is an Intel board and if even easier if stuff like LAN and audio connections are all on-board.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
There really is no good way to do this, due to the HAL under Microsoft's operating system.   Drivers are not loadable/unloadable, and there is incompatibility. Heck, I've seen 2 motherboards with different revisions have different and incompatible drivers.

The only way that I have found that is extremely reliable is to virtualize a golden config PC, and run Vmware (ESXi 4.0 is free) as the primary O/S and then you can put cloned images on them  with just about any O/S you can imagine and it will work.  You can then add virtual network cards, disks, whatever, as part of a configuration file and add them with a few clicks.   I know this is an unexpected solution, but the question was the most reliable way to clone a server, to different hardware, and this, by far is the most elegant way to do it.  I can take multi-core server with a half dozen ethernet cards running exchange and a RAID with a dozen fibre channel disk drives, and put it all on a laptop with a single 2TB disk drive, and the virtual machine will work just fine.  (But slowly)




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Tech_StigCommented:
I've never found a reliable way to do this consistently. However in emergency cases I've had great luck with BESR using the recover anywhere feature. You're probably better off defining standard images for each hardware spec you have.
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rogitorCommented:
I have successfully used the latest versions of Acronis Universal Restore to do this, which specifically provides for injecting a new HAL and storage drivers into the OS during the recovery process. I know they also support WinPE 3 as their bootable media for support of the latest hardware.
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