Diaster Recovery - How to have a second server ready for backup server?

Jaime Campos
Jaime Campos used Ask the Experts™
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We have Server 2003 Standard and it is running as the domain controller/Active Directory, DNS, DHCP and file server. I need to put together a diaster recovery plan and test how easy it would be to recover the server on different hardware at a differant location in the event that we lose our live server.  

Assuming that in the event of a disaster, that the only media we will have are the installation disks for Server 2003 and the last full backup tape with differential tape. What do I need on the second server to be up in the event of a disaster?

I am using Symantec 12.5 for my backup to tape jobs, again I run differential backups with full backups of my data, system state, Exchange and active directory.

I also have an Exchange Server 2007 and currently backing up to tape, I would have to get email back up and not sure if it would be possible to recover on the same server?

I would like to understand the steps involved.
nimdatx

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Krzysztof PytkoSenior Active Directory Engineer
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Add also to your backup %WINDIR%\SYSTEM32\DHCP to backup DHCP database. For redundancy if it is possible add another DC with DNS service. You should be able to restore it without any problems but I don't know anything about Exchange, so let's wait for other Experts :)

Regards,
Krzysztof

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Commented:
iSiek,

Can you provide the step by step on how to add another DC with DNS service on second site for a "backup" server? Can you explain?

Author

Commented:
Thank you
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Krzysztof PytkoSenior Active Directory Engineer
Top Expert 2012

Commented:
Yes of course.

Prepare another server with OS installed. Set up IP address of yur DC in DNS section on new server.

Run DCPROMO on it and during promotion select additional domain controler for this domain. Make it as Global Catalog

After that install DNS server from Manage Your Server.

That's all. Of course if it is in another location, you have to create new Site under Active Directory Sites and Servces and create new Subnet to assign.
I would have a VMWare box built for restoring the servers from backups and kept at an off-site location.
You can have your backup software loaded on it beforehand.

If you take images of your servers periodically, then the image could be backed-up to tape/disk and resored as a guest Server OS on the VMWare hosting server.  Then, for instance,  the Exchange backup could be restored the the new Exchange server image.  Your users will need to have access (VPN) to the DR site locaiton once the recovery is completed and the AD & Exchange servers should be the same.  Server performance may be quite a bit slower but your services could be restored into servers operating as guests to the VMWare hosting server.


Author

Commented:
iSiek,

My current Server is rapa.local domain and this server runs DNS and DHCP for our business office. All other offices use their router for DHCP. Am I going to add another domain name for example backup.local or do I use same domain name? How would I restore back to this domain?

If I install a second DNS server will it effect my current DNS server? How do i name it and how do I make sure it doesn't interferre with current DNS server?

intergrateman,

You recommend running VMWare and have a separate servers? 1Virtual server for DC, Active directory, DNS and fileserver, second server for Exchange server? Would that work and is VMWare free?

Thanks,
nimdatx
...so many directions.
DR - this is a disaster recovery scenario:  if you have a server running VMWare ESX or ESXi then you have a single physical host which can be used to restore the images of your servers stored on backup media, since they "were destroyed in a disaster".

DNS - if you start a second DNS server make sure the domain forward lookup zones are created as "SECONDARY" (so the server will look to your original DNS server for a copy of the zone information).

Another Domain?  What benefit is this providing?  Keep things simple with Active Directory, if possible.

Senior Active Directory Engineer
Top Expert 2012
Commented:
OK, you should add additional DC for your current domain (rapa.local) and make it as Global Catalog. Now you have redundancy for Directory Services. I don't know how do you have your DNS configured on DC (I assume that it is Active Directory Integrated zone), so set up also DNS for the same DNS domain as AD-I on the new DC, it won't affect your existing one. You will have DNS backup server with DNS replication (so zone will be always up-to-date).

If you need assistance I would try to prepare doc for you (if required)

Regards,
Krzysztof

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