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Fastest way to copy 20gb of LIVE email data from server to server?

Posted on 2011-09-22
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I have to move one email system (IpSwitch IMail) from one server (Windows 2003 32-bit Standard SP2) to a new server (Windows 2008 64-bit R2 Standard SP1) and I am trying to test this before I do it.  The problem is that in order to do this in testing mode or in the real migration, I have to copy 20GB of data from the old server to the new server.  I cannot get a complete copy of the email data when the email services are running and the fastest way I have found to do it (nic to nic) still takes around 90 minutes which is unacceptable for our company to be without email.  I am looking for the fastest way to copy this complete data from machine to machine whether it be all at once or using a utility which can copy files while they are being used or whatever.  Software, cables, hardware can all be options to make this work fast.  Thank you for your help!
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Question by:mjchevalier
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6 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 36581981
Switch to Exchange 2010 with DAG. Replication is instant.
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packetguy earned 2000 total points
ID: 36582029
By far the fastest way will be to dump the data to an intermediate flash drive, which will let you snapshot the data and get your server back online as quickly as possible. Ordinary USB 2.0 flash drives can copy data at up to 40 MB/s (megabytes per second), which would save your data in under ten minutes. An interesting article with benchmarks for USB 2.0 flash drives is http://www.everythingusb.com/speed.html. 32GB flash drives are widely available for $40 at retail electronics and office supply stores.

Depending on the interfaces your server has, you could also use eSATA 3.0 or Firewire 800 for even faster copying to an external disk drive, which can reach speeds of 100 and 300 MB/s, respectively. At 300 MB/s, your copy off the server would take only a minute or two.
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Author Comment

by:mjchevalier
ID: 36582122
A flash drive sounded like the best way to me originally so I tried a 4gb file as a test.  4gb took 21 minutes and at that rate, 20gb would take 105 minutes which I just can't do.  I think my possible solution is to use some command or software which can backup the data in a live environment so that the company doesnt have to be down, then at a later time, use a command or software which will backup just the changes from the original copy and do it with the services stopped so that we get ALL the data.  Does this sound feasable and if so, do you know how to accomplish this?  in detail?
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Expert Comment

by:packetguy
ID: 36582479
There is really no good way to back up live data from Exchange prior to the 2010 edition. You always run the risk of capturing an inconsistent state. However, if you have available disk space why not just stop Exchange long enough to make a local copy of the files you need, then restart Exchange and transfer them at your leisure? That's essentially the same process as with a flash drive.
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Author Comment

by:mjchevalier
ID: 36583103
I would make a local copy with the email services stopped but I do not have enough disk space.  This is part of why we are moving to a new server.  This is not exchange, it is an email server application from IPswitch call IMail.  I have to either run a crossover cable from nic to nic on each server or use a flash drive but both methods have tested out to be over 90 minutes.  Anybody else with an idea I have overlooked?
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Expert Comment

by:packetguy
ID: 36714578
Instead of a flash drive, try a high speed external drive over usb3, firewire800, or esata. If you don't have those interfaces, you likely could easily add them using a plug-in card.

Perhaps the limiting factor in your case is CPU or bus speed.  Can you provide the specs for the server?
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