DR for Exchange & AD

I have and Exchange 2003 and DC 2003 servers in my Data Center. Need to make a simple DR strategy for these. The DR site is ready with two additional physical servers. Exchange Information store backup which is a tape backup, system state AD backup is also done regularly.

Now need to make the DR site available for these servers.
1) Format of DR plan template  (simple)
2) Recover data to these servers in DR
3) Any Sign off doc required , if so format of the same
kurajeshSenior Systems AnalystAsked:
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Aaron TomoskyDirector of Solutions ConsultingCommented:
Don't DR a DC, just add another DC and leave it on in another location, site to site Vpn or something. Run an azure VM or similar with a software vpn.

As for exchange, have you considered office365?

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I would argue that you can't really do any sort of reliable DR with your existing systems. Exchange 2003 has been out of support for over a year. If you try to open a support case with Microsoft, they may not even try to help you. It was very hard to get an Exchange 2003 environment back up and running with Microsoft support, and not having support makes it significantly more difficult. Any effective DR plan IMHO requires moving to another platform such as Office 365, Gmail, Exchange 2010/2013, etc. They are supportable and have better DR options.

Windows 2003 faces end of support this summer as well. You should be looking at getting off these legacy systems instead of trying to figure out DR for them.

+1 for setting up another DC in the other site. I would make it a VM, as I would make all new servers.
Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
"Need to make a simple DR strategy for these"

Not really possible with Exchange 2003.
Your only options there are a recovery from a backup, or using a third party tool (if they still exist). Recovery from backup is risky, because you have no way of knowing if the backup is going to work, and depending on the point of failure, you could lose significant amount of content.

As already pointed out, you need to move to something more recent - don't bother investing anything in the older versions that are out of support. The money required to do so would be better spent on later versions, which will give you more functionality and provide you with something that the company can actually depend on working.

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Aaron TomoskyDirector of Solutions ConsultingCommented:
How are you backing up exchange now? Something like storagecraft will allow you to restore the image to a new machine. If you are doing db backups, this is a great tool that will allow you to restore it to another server or right to office365: http://www.lepide.com/exchange-manager/

Neither of these options are quick to run in a DR scenario, you would be down for a few hours at least (you do have backup mx setup right?).
kurajeshSenior Systems AnalystAuthor Commented:
noted all above, will post the update
Aaron TomoskyDirector of Solutions ConsultingCommented:
abandoned question, good answers given
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