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SBS Disaster recovery

Posted on 2016-10-20
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Last Modified: 2016-10-20
We have an SBS 2008 server which is running quite well at the moment. We are hoping to use this server for a few more years yet. We are using SBS backup to backup to a couple of external hard drives which are rotated weekly.

I am concerned that because SBS is an obsolete product, if we have some serious failure and the server needs to be replaced, will we be able to restore our backup to whatever server we end up with afterwards?
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Question by:Merlin-Eng
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by:rindi
ID: 41851654
If it is the OEM version, then no (unless you live in the EU and closely connected countries like Switzerland and soon the UK, where you'll have to call m$ to reactivate the server on the new hardware.). Otherwise OEM only allows you to reactivate the license if you repair the server with hardware that is regarded as the same by the hardware manufacturer. For example you'd need the same mainboard model etc.

If it isn't OEM, then theoretically you can restore the backup to other hardware (or also to a VM), and reactivate the system. But probably it won't be that easy, as the new hardware will totally different from the old hardware, drivers won't match and you'll be likely to get BSOD's. You can try doing a repair installation, but that doesn't always work and is a lot of trouble. It would be easier to use a 3rd party backup tool, like what you can get from Paragon, which includes a migration tool so it will run on different hardware.

You'd probably still have to rerun many of the setup wizards of the server so that everything gets binded properly to different network cards etc.

The simplest, in my opinion, would be to virtualize the server. For example VMWare has the free Conversion utility which helps you create a VM from existing hardware. VM's are much easier to move between different hardware. But you'd have to do that before the server fails.
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Expert Comment

by:Stace Hema
ID: 41851725
Hi team,
Apologies if I'm out of place here - my first comment since 2005!  I totally agree with Rindi, the best bet is to plan that when the server dies it can be virtualized as fast as possible and either placed internally or on another server and launched as is; even uploaded to a hosting provider to run in its current form for you.

The best software I've had good fortune using with SBS 2008/2011 is Storagecraft's product, Shadow Protect.  The ability to take hourly, daily, weekly etc, incremental backups to USB, NAS or over the network/WAN is very simple and very reliable.  The product itself is good for carrying out HeadStartRestores to other physical hardware, say a new HP server or even Virtualizing to something.

Good luck & I hope this helps... :)
Staceman
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Author Comment

by:Merlin-Eng
ID: 41851844
Thanks for your replies Yes it is OEM and yes we are in the UK. So it sounds like we could get the server os installed again on new similar hardware. However, virtualising the server sounds a good idea. Do I understand correctly that I can virtualise the server on it's existing hardware? And if so, would the current OEM software get upset about the move to a virtual environment?  Btw the server is a Dell Poweredge T410.  I am looking at Paragon's and StorageCrafts's products.
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rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 41851894
Yes, you can virtualize it on the same hardware. You might have to reactivate it again, but that should be no problem. You may also have to rerun the wizards, as the virtual NIC's will have a different identification to the OS and to which many of the services bind to. But that should be a relatively straight forward action.

Whether you can move the OS to different hardware you should verify with some m$ partners in the UK, just to be sure.
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Author Comment

by:Merlin-Eng
ID: 41852050
Thank you very much for your help. It is much appreciated.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 41852164
There's one problem I think you should be greatly concerned with.

Exchange 2007 falls out of support early next year.  This is a MAJOR component and if you're running your own email through it, using an unsupported, gradually less and less secure mail server is NOT WISE!

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/search?alpha=Microsoft%20Exchange%20Server%202007%20Service%20Pack%203
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