How to create a backup exchange server for quick disaster recovery
Posted on 2013-01-26
We have a SBS 2011 installation with exchange that has about 20 users on it. The server works great but I am worried about disaster recovery in the event of hardware failure and more importantly what to do if someone were to break in to the office and steal all our servers.
Currently we use backup exec 2012 to back up to external drives. These drives are swapped daily and the drives that aren't online are taken offsite. The problem with this is that if something were to happen I would need to procure new equipment (preferably the same since not having the same hardware causes all kinds of restore headaches) which could take days even weeks. To get around this I want to get another server running VMware ESXi and use backup exec's convert to VM function which would create a clone of the physical hardware into a virtual machine.
This solves the problem of a hardware failure in my opinion (please correct me if I'm wrong) as we could be back up and running within an hour or so but doesn't do anything to help us if someone breaks in or if the building gets flooded/sets on fire.
So I am looking at possibly leasing a server from a provider such as softlayer running windows server 2008 enterprise and installing exchange on it. But I don't know of a good way to make this work. Exchange doesn't seem to have any kind of automatic replication built in and doing a nightly backup over WAN (even incremental) could be a problem with the amount of files we work with on a daily basis since our office connection is limited to about 2mbits up.
Does anyone have some suggestions for creating a solution that would allow a remote exchange installation (including active directory and everything else required to allow users to log on to their computers) which could be brought back online within a matter of hours if the primary server was stolen or physically damaged?
Thank you in advance for any help in this matter.