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Windows Server 2008 R2 Thread, Complete server replication. Is it possible? in Technical; Hi, So we've now got our new network up and running and we are looking to utilise one of the ...
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    Complete server replication. Is it possible?

    Hi,

    So we've now got our new network up and running and we are looking to utilise one of the older servers again as a backup server so if the main one goes down we can get the backup server up in a matter of hours.

    Our main server is currently the main controller and doing pretty much everything, GPO, AD, SIMS.net etc. This is too risky for my liking but the manager wants it this way.

    I have tried restoring the backup server with an image created using windows serer backup on the main server but it failed complaining that efi and bios are incompatinle.

    What would really be nice if the two server could act like a raid so changes get copied to both servers but im not sure if its possible to copy absolutly everything so we could switch servers without anyone knowing.

    The easiest way would be to use the backups of the main server but as mentioned this doesnt even try to work.

    Im guessing there is a way to do something like this. Could anyone point me in the right direction please. The biggest problem would probably be applications such as sims as they are not standard windows features.

    Many thanks.

    Dan

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    somabc's Avatar
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    I would be interested in everyones thoughts on the best method but in the short term, join the backup server to the domain so that replication can occur and use robocopy or something to sync the data. You could also setup DFS on any shares.
    Last edited by somabc; 10th January 2012 at 11:08 PM.

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    AD, GPOS and logons are easy - just make both servers DC's and Global Catalog servers, files are quite easy if you set up a DFS and replicate the data using that, Sims is harder, perhaps a script to replicate the data overnight to the other server and just a repoint of the .ini if needed. Printers can be set up on both servers and just a change of a GP to repoint should one server fail.

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    dany2010 (11th January 2012)

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    Doubletake

    Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Solutions & High Availability Software

    Have this working and tested between our London and New York offices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesreedersmith View Post
    AD, GPOS and logons are easy - just make both servers DC's and Global Catalog servers, files are quite easy if you set up a DFS and replicate the data using that, Sims is harder, perhaps a script to replicate the data overnight to the other server and just a repoint of the .ini if needed. Printers can be set up on both servers and just a change of a GP to repoint should one server fail.


    This looks to be a good free solution.

    Would anything need to be installed onto the backup server before it would start replicating AD? At the minute its a clean install with no features or roles installed.

    When we add the role of global catalogue server is there a guide on how to strt replication AD? Would this do GPO's as well?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dany2010 View Post
    I have tried restoring the backup server with an image created using windows serer backup on the main server but it failed complaining that efi and bios are incompatinle.
    This is why people use virtual machines - transferring a virtual machine between physical hosts is easy. DRBD will mirror disk volumes over the network in a similar fashion to RAID-1, and is just right for things like SIMS, but as has been pointed out Active Directory has its own replication mechanism. Also, an exact mirror of file areas is rarley very useful - you most often want to restore a file from a few days or weeks back, so a backup server that can store multiple versions of files will probably be more suitible.

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    dany2010 (11th January 2012)

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    I agree, a virtual machine would be ideal. Unfortunatly everything was set up with regards to sims when i got here and the manager wouldnt be keen on changing the setup as its working. Not sure why but the idea of virtual machines doesnt seem to go down well here.

    At some point today i will be creating a virtual network to test everything out on before implementing onto the main network.

    Before setting the backup server as a global catalogue would i need to install AD or anything? What about the GPO's? Will they copy over? How would you initialise the replication?

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    add your server to the domain
    run dcpromo

    after that it will automatically copy ad and gpos

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    dany2010 (11th January 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Also, an exact mirror of file areas is rarley very useful - you most often want to restore a file from a few days or weeks back, so a backup server that can store multiple versions of files will probably be more suitible.
    achieve able using robocopy/xcopy to a different location on a backup box each day or is there a sleeker solution?

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    zag
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    Virtualization.. virtulization... virtulization..!

    But if you want to do it the hard way...

    You can replicate the main file server with a simple xcopy command. Its surprisingly effective!

    Sims is easy enough as well, just setup a new SQL server instance and use something like backupexec to make regular restores to it.

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    One thing I would be interested in is if the main DC server goes down is it easier to get all the rolls working on the backup dc or is it easier to restore a system state backup to the main DC.

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    Very easy to do on *nixes, but for windows you'd probably need a virtualisation clone

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    You will be able to do this using Hyper-V Replica once Windows Server 8 is released later this year.

    Last edited by Arthur; 11th January 2012 at 12:07 PM.

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    Have a look at CA D2D

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Very easy to do on *nixes, but for windows you'd probably need a virtualisation clone
    I have recently been using Computer Associates ARCserve D2D, and I have to say it's very effective. It will back up a live server to an image hosted on a network share, which can be updated on a regular schedule - hourly if you wanted. This image can be restored to "bare metal" from bootable media.

    Best regards

    Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by SHimmer45 View Post
    achieve able using robocopy/xcopy to a different location on a backup box each day or is there a sleeker solution?
    Yes, although if you can use deduplication of some kind then you'll be able to store more backups. Either use a file system that does deduplication or, each day, clone the previous day's backup folder using hard links instead of copying files and use a tool that just replaces changed files to copy from your live file store to your backup. I know rsync does this, but robocopy/xcopy probably do too.

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