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Advise on Disaster recovery solution

Posted on 2011-09-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Good Afternoon all

I would like some advice on DR solutions.

The customer has 2 x server 2003 servers , one as DC, file, exchange  and the other as TS.

We currently use Symantec backup exec v11D with a 320GB RDX drive.

The company want to implement a DR solution and would like to be back operational within 4 hours if there a server failure....

What would your advice be and sort of money are we talking about

Thanks again

Question by:MARKWILKY
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 36504282
Shadowprotect from storagecraft is ideal for this. Actually it has options so you can run the servers from Oracle's VirtualBox while you have the servers' hardware repaired and doing the restore to the servers. So you are ready to go almost as soon as you notice the server is down.


Expert Comment

ID: 36504539
I'd recommend that they virtualize their environment.  Then their backups can use the virtual machine files.   Have either a ESXi box or Hyper V server ready to go in the DR site.  Then restore the virtual machine backup files...
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 36504569

It is kind of hard to do if money is real limitation here.

DC is very big thing if most of your user and services using it, such an Exchange. Exchange also consider to be critical to business.

Active Directory
You need to replicate your DC (AD). Active Directory cannot be just backup, a lot of other thing need to consider when doing backup, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727048.aspx

Having replication is the fastest way to restore, you need to change the FSMO role to the healthy instance.

If AD failed to up, so does your Exchange server. So make sure AD is up and running.


Exchange setup consist multiple roles. The best strategy to exclude the mailbox storage role to  SANS (if possible) or other server, then replicate all other roles. You have to make sure mailbox have some other type of backup, like disk backup, since you cannot simply replicate mailbox. Backup Exec is among the best tools, but there are a lot more that much more cheaper compare to Backup Exec.

So how you go?

What we have done over here is using the HyperV as virtualization tools - it is enteprise class hyper visor and yet it comes free with Windows 2008 - for enterpise edition you can host up to 4 guest OS free (http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/virtualization.aspx).

Over here you can have 2 hyper-v host and a server to host mailbox (you need another one for backup). Each hyper-v will host DC, Exchg (and roles) and TS, so in case one host down or one guest OS down then you have another one to take over the role in some few minutes (hopefully).

As for file sharing, I not consider that as very important, you can use the mailbox server to host the file sharing if it's suite you, then you can just backup the whole server to other place periodically.

Try using differential backup when you backup the mailbox or files and have full backup at least once or twice a week.

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Expert Comment

ID: 36508241
Already have the tools to do that, because BackupExec can recover all system disk and restore on bare metal or virtual machine.
As far as I can see only left design the DR Protocol. If interesting on that tell as to give you a couple guidelines.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 36509177
Yup, BackupExec can help you in doing backup.

But DR is more than just "make sure you data safe", it is also means business continuity.

Try to come out with some DR plan, including different location to consider. It will not help if your backup exist in same rooms as the production and fire happen.

You can design DR plan like the one I attached:

DR Site
Just forget about having FC or SAN. They are heavy on your pocket. You can have the same design with cheaper at cheaper cost using normal swithc and storage server, of course it will as good as FC and SAN are, but it will done the job well.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 36509189
opps... "of course it will as good as FC and SAN are, but it will done the job well. " - suppose it said, "it will NOT AS GOOD as FC and SAN"... I guess I've run out of caffine by now.
LVL 16

Accepted Solution

Michael Ortega earned 2000 total points
ID: 36517588
Sounds to me like you're looking for more of a business continuity plan rather than disaster recovery. Any image based backup application will provide you with the quickest restore path. I would always avoid tape backups if you're looking for a quick restore. Backup to disk is faster in terms of restore.

BESR, Acronis Backup and Recovery, Shadowportect, etc. are image based backup applications. I do not believe you will achieve what you're looking for with Backup Exec v11d. You need an image based backup solution.

If you have a budget for this I would definitely look into virtualizing your environment. You could even leverage the built in Windows Server Backup (the replacement to NT Backup). It's image based.

Thinking in terms of SAN, etc. right now doesn't resolve your issue completely. A SAN still represents a single point of failure unless you perform replication between multiple SANs, and presumably multiple sites. Keeping things simple and low cost, use the right image based backup application and backup to external drives. Make sure to rotate those drives offsite.


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