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Cloning VM Server

Posted on 2010-11-18
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I am looking to make some changes tone of my VMware servers and was wondering what would be the fastest way to do this would it be cloning the server or creating a snapshoot so that if something happens I can revert back to the previous.
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Question by:ahmad1467
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9 Comments
 
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 34167501
Hi

A Snapshot of course.

Clone is just a copy of that machine. And you can only clone if you have vCenter Server.

Jail
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:mittermueller
ID: 34167520
I think your are talking about VM guests, right? So BestWay is right. Use shapshots (check storage usage first).
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Author Comment

by:ahmad1467
ID: 34168060
The server that I want to make the changes to is an Exchange server, but if I create a snapshoot and have to revert back to the snapshot will lose the emails.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:pnrhait
ID: 34168125
Since this is the exchange I would not be looking at the fastest way to do this even if it is critical you may be looking at a rebuild. If you have a test environment that is completed seperate from your production you can clone the exchange and move the clone into your test environment. Edit the properties so that there is no connection back to your production environment.

Or you could do a combination, I honestly have never done this so I cannot comment on the backlash, so take this suggestion and dig deeper.. clone the exchange.. on the current one take a snapshot and do your change and if the change fails revert to snapshot.. If reverting to the snapshot does mess with the mailbox store you could power down the exchange convert your clone to a vm and bring it back up.. *But like I said I have not tried this so dig very deep*
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Author Comment

by:ahmad1467
ID: 34168164
Cloning sounds like the way to go.

Thank you.
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LVL 5

Accepted Solution

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mittermueller earned 1000 total points
ID: 34168174
Maybe you have some kind of production timeout (at night?). You could block incoming mail (best on firewall), then do your snapshot, then your patches and tests - and if sucessfull open incoming ports.

A different approach would be the deal with exchange transaction logs - but quite difficult....
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:pnrhait
ID: 34168687
Snapshot is still a good idea cause best practice would suggest to do this during an outage where you will stopping the services anyways to take a clean snapshot
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 34169132
Killing all mail services (firewall) would force inbound mail to seek your secondary MX record...hopefully an SMTP relay that will hold it for you during  the planned outage.

That should give you time to backup/snapshot/clone or any other type of maintenance.  When you're done re-enable the mail services and your backup SMTP relay should start feeding the backlog to the server.

It won't know or care that your server is on a new host.
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 34170399
Hi

If you a problem the emails, just backup that part.

Cloning a Exchange and then restore it is not a good backup solution. Or do you have a backup tool(like Veeam) that make you a good backup from your VMs, if yes, thats ok, but if not, cloning a VM(like Exchange) is not a good backup solution. But this always is a Baku from the VM, not the Exchange Store itself. For this you need backup the Exchange Store, or emails accounts.

Stopping receiving email, services or other solution, is not of course a good backup police.

You need to have a normal backup that will backup your emails(backup Exchange DB and/or emails accounts) during the day, then do also a snapshot.

Then if you have problem, just reserve to snapshot, then restore your emails DB to the last backup.

On every backup on Exchange, you will never restore a backup with the real emails, before the crash. You cannot have a backup every 1m. So or you have a Store DB replication on Exchange side(and can replicate this into a different disk, or shared folder), or you need to restore the db from your backup, and of course the emails received/send-it between that time will lose.

Now again, stopping services, receiving emails, this is not any type of solution for a Exchange backup.

In other hand, if you have a problem when you are restoring your Exchange with the inbound emails, then like aleghart refers you need to have a secondary MX record in a SMTP relay to hold the emails while your Exchange is of. But that is another question.

Hope this can help

Jail
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