I have exactly the same situation with my internet connection when the county supplier messes up (frequent) I end up being their firewall :-(
I am just glad they do not manage my SIMs as well !
Might take a look into Mirroring SQL 2005 at some point
Will need a couple of spare boxes to test it first though!
Why not use the built in replication features of SQL server just set the backup server as a replication subscriber to your primary server and set it to transactional replication which will keep it up to date as the data changes.
SQL Server Replication
How to Configure SQL Server Site Database Replication
Given that it is a simple one way replication handled entirely in the background by SQL it should not cause any issues with the SIMS software and so hopefully they would still support it.
I in all honesty was not aware that it was able to do so ! i will look into that asap thankyou maybe I can do this over a cross over cable so the backup server is only avalialbe for that purpose (all the servers have 2x NICs)
I think soon enough, we will be testing the "live transfer" option with vmware, so that if for example the physical server breaks we can just get the virtual machine transfered on another server very quickly. when we had a problem a few months ago.. believe it or not we had sims running of a laptop while the server was being repaired
I know you can do a live sync with another server, i dont know weather it would work with SIMS but i suppose its work a try.
(appologies about some of the words, i cant think of the correct words at the moment lol)
I didn't even think of using replication but yes, this would be the best way in my opinion moving forward also.
If you did this, and maintained a synchronised copy of the S:\SIMS directory you would literally need to just redirect the S drive in however your clients pick it up currently (login script or so) and reboot to be back up.
Have a machine that is capable of running a virtual machine. Create an image and update the image's sims setup folder after every sims upgrade.
Have a local backup of the sims.mdf and sims.ldf or a .bak file updated every night.
If your primary server fails, boot up the virtual image attach the database and edit your dns setting and sims is back up and running.
Keep virtual server running until primary server back up and then once it is copy the sims database back over to the primary server at the end of the day.
I'm surprised no one's suggested RAID1. Two hard disks mirroring each other (for those that do not know), so if one drive fails, the other takes over until you replace the faulty drive. This actually happened at one of my schools a few months ago. It saves a lot of time/hassle and is a very cost effective way of providing redundancy.
Ideally hardware RAID is recommend, however Windows Server 2003 (which I suspect most people will be running) supports software RAID.
SQL Server's device files are always open so tricky to backup. Live/Standby server copying of databases is usually done by dumping and loading log backup files very regularly. This would be entirly possible with SIMS. Obviously theres more to it - your application files and services would need to exist on both servers and the clients would need to be repointed or the name/fixed IP of the standby server changed to take over from the live box in case of a handover. Indeed even the SQL logins would need to be fixed to allow users access to the standby server. There are ways of having database updates replicate to additional servers and clever techniques of sharing remote storage between different live servers but not terribly appropriate to school budgets or supported by the way SIMS is coded to talk to SQL server.
Our SIMS server is virtualised, and we take several snapshots a day. There is also a Disaster Recovery rack that is part of the VMWare farm and is capable of running all the core servers if necessary. There is a mirrored NetApp in this rack which takes our primary snapshot (for disaster purposes) at 1am every day.
This covers all the requirements for us, but it wasn't exactly cheap - to be fair though, the solution was really a business continuity plan primarily.
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