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Disaster Recovery of Exchange Server

We are setting up an off-site DR location of our exchange server. We few options either convert current exchange server to virtual server in vmware environment or restore to another physical servers.
Currently environment:
- edge transport server in DMZ
- exchange with role mailbox server, Hub transport, client access & Unified messaging
- Internal AD
- mailbox storage groups stored in SAN

I am wondering any precautions need to be addressed while restore from Acronis imaging to either physical/virtual to test out in DR environment.
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ethanwong
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ethanwong
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3 Solutions
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Restore the Backup to an exsiting ESXi server.
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Karthik RajasekaranConsultantCommented:
Things to follow .

1. using VMware Standalone converter, you can use convert the physical server to VM (with Exchange services stopped ) in the DR side, if you have a good bandwidth between the Primary and DR sites.

2. OR use Acronis to import as Arconis image and restore in the ESXi server, using the Vmware standalone converter. However it is a double work and takes more time if the DR side bandwith is very low.

3. Or purchase the Novell platespin tool , which you can configure the hot-cold setup so that you can use hot server as physical servers and cold server has VM and sync with them manually or configure automatic, so that the DR side replication is complete.

3. Make sure that the VLANS are ready in DR side also, so that you can anytime activate DR servers.

Let us know if you need more help on this.

With regards
Karthik Rajasekaran
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ethanwongAuthor Commented:
Thanks Karthik, Novell platespin is a great tool. Any idea how to simulate the physical to virtual like edge transport server located in DMZ in VM environment using vmware? For exchange server, can i store storage groups in external HDD via USB (to simulate SAN)?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You cannot use a USB disk as a datastore with ESXi.

You can add a USB disk to a VM though.

HOW TO: Add and Connect a USB Device to a Virtual Machine, hosted on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX 4.1 ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0
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Karthik RajasekaranConsultantCommented:
Hi

you need to plan lot of things like Storage , Network , phyiscal server (VM Esxi)for the DR site.

In DR side, make sure that the DMZ VLAN is spanned between DR and Primary site.

 i recommended to use the VSA  (Vmware Storage appliance) which gives the option not to buy external strorage and it is secured to VMs in the DMZ network.  ( use only for the DMZ VMs only to avoid of having risk ).

Let me know if you have any concerns.

With regards
Karthik Rajasekaran.
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