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Recomended Symantec Backup for Windows Servers

Posted on 2010-11-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10

We have approx 4 Servers running Windows Server 2008.  1 Server is running Symantec Backup Exec 2010.

Its was mentioned to me that Symantec do a Automated Disaster Recovery option within Backup Exec however I can not find any details on this.

Can you please advise what would be the best option within Backup Exec that will offer the most efficient way of recovery a full server in the event of a Disaster?

My initial thoughts are simply to cover C:, D; and System State?
Question by:IMUK

Expert Comment

ID: 34187614
I run BESR 8.5 on about 400 client desktop machines. I am not aware of any "Automated Disaster Recovery option within Backup Exec". However I have successfully recovered system states of clients using the "Recover My Computer" option in the Tasks menu. Right now we we have it set to recover all hard drives on any system and I have had no problems with recovering any data or systems states. Hope this helps.

Author Comment

ID: 34187743
Thanks for the feedback.

I am aware Symantec do an additional software called "System Recovery" but we do not have this.

As far as I am aware with the "Recover My Computer" I would need to at the very least have the replacement server rebuilt with all previous software installed.  Then I can recover the system state and data.

Ideally what I want to do is take a full image/backup of a server so if I need to recover a full system recover I can boot from another device and reinstall the full system.

Expert Comment

ID: 34189193
Do you mean IDR (Intelligent Disaster Recovery)?  This should allow you to recover from a blank hard drive, although when I tried in Backup exec 11d I could not get it working reliably.  Unfortunatly Symantec seem to restrict most of their support pages to customers with accounts so I can't link to the relevant support pages.  There will be an option to run the IDR wizard on one of the main menus though.

You are correct in that to recover your computer manually you need to install Windows, apply all the same patches and updates, then recover the files etc.  Also if you restore the system state etc then the hardware needs to be the same or you will probably just get a BSOD as it will have restored the drivers etc which will not be correct for the new hardware.

Are any of these server domain controllers?  Also have you thought of virtualising?  If you virtualise then you can just backup the whole virtual machine although you would need some VMWare or HyperV agents for Backup Exec for this.
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Author Comment

ID: 34189296
The Server with the Backup Software on it also connects to the others machines.  2 of those machines run Hyper V and have 2 Virtual machines running on them

No machines are Domain Controllers but they do a number of bespoke roles that we are concerned will be difficult to recover in the event of a serious failure.

IDR I believe is what is was called now you mention it however it seems this is not a feature of the latest Symantec products.

Expert Comment

ID: 34197450
Sorry for delay in continuing this discussion.  Also there are a lot of questions below, I'm just trying to get a full idea of your setup and intentions so I can make usefull suggestions.

I would be very nervous about backing up the files of running virtual machines or databases without specific agents as things can get corrupted.  There are ways arround this but normally they cost money.

Is it possible to turn off all the virtual machines etc while the backup is running?  That would ensure that you have a consistant backup of the files.  What kind of technology is involved in the bespoke roles you are running?  Are there databases, web servers, etc involved?

You have Backup Exec 2010, did you buy any agents or optional extras with this?  Also is any downtime while taking the backups acceptable?  Overnight or during the day?  How frequently are you planning to take the backups, daily or weekly?  Are you backing up to disk or tape or something else?

To answer your original question although not sure if this will work for you : I would turn off all the advanced stuff (virtual machines, databases, etc) then do full backups of C: D: and system state.  To restore you could then reinstall the OS and backup exec agent and recover the files etc.  I would strongly recommend identical hardware for the recovery (which might not be possible depending on the type of disasters you are trying to protect against) and you really want to do a few full test restores to ensure there are no issues.

If you can answer the queries above then a better solution might be found.

Author Comment

ID: 34197594
Thanks for the reply.

On the Virtual servers there are no databses.  These act mainly as Terminal Servers offering a basic setup.

Its not possible to turn of these machines whilst the backup is running as they will be in use for most hours.  Weekly backups maybe an option but certainly not daily.

The other servers will run databases amongst other roles.  Specifically these server have been configure by another department within the company so I don't have the full details to hand.

With backup Exec we run a Daily, Weekly and Monthly backup.  Daily is planned to be an incremental backup rather than a full one.  Downtime is not really an option as the system are in use at various times over a 24 hour period.  There is the possibility for downtime on a weekend but its not ideal.  Backups are to LTO 4 Tape using a 24 slot Autoloader.  Finally The license is for a standard Backup Exec 2010 Server edition with Open File Agents.

On the Symantec License Configure Options I can enable IDS so I assume the license covers us for this amongst others.  I need to transfer the software to site to double check this.

Accepted Solution

CyrRei88 earned 1000 total points
ID: 37078017
Backup Exec was primarily designed for backing up data and not for full Server recovery. You won't be able to completely restore your Server with Backup Exec. Like it was already mentioned above, you will need to manually re-install Windows, install the latest patches and install all drivers and then use Symantec Backup Exec to restore all your data.

If you want to be able to fully restore a server you will need to invest in some kind of Disaster Recovery Software  like:

- Symantec System Recovery Server

- Acronis Backup & Recovery Server

These programs allow you to completely restore your server to identical or dissimilar hardware within minutes. The solutions mentioned above create a complete image of your server, which you can then use to restore. Once you have restored your operating system you can use Backup Exec to restore your data.
For example if your hard drive fails you can just install a new one and then restore your system. Even if your whole server goes bad (fire, water, etc) you will be able to restore your complete system on a new server (new hardware).

Since you will run databases on your servers you have to make sure that Backup Exec is able to backup those data bases. You might have to get separate Backup Exec agents to properly backup/restore your databases.

I hope I could help with this, but let me know if you got any questions.

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