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Data Recovery scheme for Win Server 2008 R2 Foundation

Posted on 2014-09-28
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I want to create a disk image file for a Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation as part of a disaster recovery plan.  Currently I use syncback to make duplicate copies of the data on the server.  My C drive is about to run out due to the SQL database on it.  So I am either going to have to increase the disk space on C or move the database.  I just added a 3TB external HD since my previous external filled up.

So first issue is the disk image.  I assume that is my best option for a quick recovery from a disk crash, and I can then just copy the data back over.

I welcome any answers and also suggestions as to how to improve my disaster recovery without much capital outlay.

Thanks in advance
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Question by:jjackson2004
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Dan McFadden earned 500 total points
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First things first... move that SQL database.

Using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), you can detach the database, then copy the databasename.mdf and databasename_LOG.ldf files from the OS drive to the new volume you set up.  The back in SSMS, you just attach the database again.

Reference Link:  http://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertip/1774/move-sql-server-transaction-log-files-to-a-different-location-via-tsql-and-ssms/

That will free up space on the OS drive.

Included in Windows Server is Windows Backup Administrator (WBAdmin).  You can use this utility to create an image that can be used to do a bare metal restore in the event that your server HW dies.

Reference Link:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754015(v=ws.10).aspx

You could also use the script below to automate your wbadmin use.

Reference link:  http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/WSB-Backup-network-email-9793e315

Depending on where your data is stored, you may not need to continue using SyncBack.

Dan
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by:jjackson2004
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Thanks for the info!  Would it also be useful to turn on the shadow volumes?
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by:Dan McFadden
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Yeah, turning on VSS will be useful.  Windows Server backup takes advantage of the service when enabled.

Reference Link:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee923636(v=ws.10).aspx

Dan
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by:jjackson2004
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OK, last update, Windows backup was not an available service and needed to be added.  I had limited disk space and was concerned that the server had 100+ updates to install.
After further research, the SQL database was only 25 MB plus 5 MB the other file .
The 17GB i was hoping for was the backup file which has been appended to daily.
So moving database not so important.  I was advised the SQL DB needs 3X size when working.
So I thought I could move the paging file to another disk, but when I went in to check.  
It turns out Window Server figured out the disk space problem and already had the paging file on the D drive which has plenty room.
I was able to get back around 800 MB by deleting Syncback log files.  So their available space is now greater than in past.

Problem was happened back on thursday at which time I was at critical disk space on C.  I was curious about the SQL database and also the Symantec Endpoint protection.  Problem occurred when neither of them (paid tech support) could remote in.  IE kept telling me an add on failed to (load/execute? don'r remember which).

I was a little spooked about the Symantec person wanting me to use the Norton erase tool.  So I have this issue with them needing to connect in.  The other is another vendor needing to connect in.  IE reset suggests it may need to reboot.

One of my goals here was to get a bare metal backup.  But this other stuff has me concerned.  Symantec put a scare of me an I am afraid of a reboot without their tool.

Another issue is that I need to, aw hell, it is late and I need to go to bed.   I just need some other opinions on this so I can make a better informed decision(s).

Thanks in advance.
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by:Dan McFadden
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I would download the free Treesize utility which will allow you to get a view into what directories are using up space.  You can then drill down and get a look at what file(s) are consuming your space on C:.

Link:  http://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/

The other monster in Windows is the WinSxS directory.  I would check the size of that beast.  I've seen it (on some of my servers) as large as 10GB!  But there are varying opinions on managing the directory.  Some say don't touch but when the directory is using 40-50% of the OS volume its hard to not want to try to reduce its footprint.

Link:  http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/13da0ac2-0d95-4a19-802c-d11e632c6d73/how-to-cleanup-the-winsxs-folder-in-2008-r2

I would read thru that article and the one it links to, to get a view on the whole discussion.

You can reduce the size of the recycle bin on the c: drive, I usually set it down to 3-5% depending on the size of the volume.

I would also get CCleaner and use the utility to clean out your browser(s) cache(s) and the standard safe OS objects.

Also, you could redirect the backup files to new volume you added.  If you are using WBAdmin, you have the option to backup to local and network attached volumes.  No reason to keep the backups on the C: drive.  Also, you can just move the existing backup files.

Dan
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by:jjackson2004
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Have been using CCleaner to make space available.  WBAdmin has not been added to the server as I was worried about its size and how much room it would take up.  I wanted to add it so I could do a bare metal backup.
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by:jjackson2004
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Any suggestions on Internet Explorer or should I create a new question for that one?
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by:Dan McFadden
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As for IE, if you were getting an error that an add-on was failing, why not just uninstalled and reinstall that add-on.

But your comments about Symantec,  Norton tools and paid tech support, et al, do not make things clear as to what the scare was.  What does Norton erase tool have to do with rebooting your server?  Nothing.

At this time, if there are no major errors on the server, there should be no reason to be concerned about rebooting the device.  Someone not being able to remote into a computer can be due to devices outside of the server itself... firewalls, router, proxies, etc.
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by:jjackson2004
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The situation has become critical, so I am about to try to resize the C drive.  I was told that the tool for that is a part of the OS.  That I needed to move all data off of the D drive so that I can resize it.  Is this correct?
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by:Dan McFadden
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Can you state the sizes of the 2 hard drives in the server?

1. How big is C:
2. How big is D: (3TB as stated above)
3. How are the 2 HDDs configured in the server?  as 2 separate drives or have you spanned the volumes?

Dan
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by:Dan McFadden
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You can extend a volume but you have to have unallocated space available on the disk.

Reference link:  http://technet.microsoft.com/de-de/library/cc771473.aspx

Dan
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Drive C and D are on the same physical drive (or mirrored drives)  1 TB total, but C only had 40 GB allocated to it.  D was full, so I added an additional disk to the system.  Now goal is to divide D among the existing drive and the new drive.  We don't actually use D, rather there are two shares on D that we use as drive S and Z.
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You need your C: drive to be at least 120GB to be safe.

What I recommend, I would move all data on D to the new drive, reconfigure the apps that need to be aware of the new data location.  Then delete the D partition.  Extend the C drive to at least 120GB if not 200GB.

You can then reuse the unallocated space on the 1TB drive for something else.

Dan
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I was thinking of going to 100 GB, but 120 is fine.  Will have to move the swap file to another drive I believe as it is now on the C drive and I think it would affect the extension of the C drive.   So again I ask, is extending the drive the way it is supposed to be done?
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by:Dan McFadden
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Yes.  Extending a partition, if there is unallocated space on the respective HDD, is a normal procedure.  If it wasn't Microsoft wouldn't have put the necessary tools in place to perform the task.

Also, as an admin, you need to plan ahead for possible changes in the way an OS operates.  For example, in server 2008 and beyond, the OS manages updates in the WinSxS directory, which under "normal" circumstances can grow very large... in the realm of 10-20GB!  You have to take this into account when planning the build of a server.  A 40GB OS drive is not really an option anymore.  The OS, plus locate update cache, WinSxS dir, monitoring agents, additional OS features can easily consume 60-80GB.  Plus, if you don't immediately reconfigure the default settings in most apps, they will dump their logs on the OS drive.  With IIS installed & unmodified default settings, a high volume website configured... logging will quickly use up all space as the logs get created daily.

The point is, know what is running on your server, always reconfigure apps to save logs to a non-OS partition/drive, do not place database files on the OS partition, install only what is necessary and try to keep up with how the OS functions in terms of the installation of updates.

Dan
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Cam in this morning and 0 bytes avail on C.  Able to recover 80 MB.  is there any potential problem rebooting the server with only 80 GB?  There are over 300 MB in updates waiting to be applied not that I think that has any bearing.
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by:Dan McFadden
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Have you been able to determine the source of the disk consumption?  You appear to have an active process that is write data to the C: drive and it needs to be shutdown or reconfigured to write its data to another location.

IMO, you need to find space before you reboot.  Personally, my process would be to ID the offending process, stop it, move some large files to another partition, ensure there is between 500MB-1GB free, then reboot.

I also suggest installing the "Disk Cleanup" utility feature so you can see if you can clean up the WinSxS directory.

Dan
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by:jjackson2004
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Is it possible to extend the C drive to another physical disk?
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by:jjackson2004
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Ignore last question
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by:jjackson2004
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Extending was successful after a few fits.  Thanks for the assistance!
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