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Secondary server for disaster recovery RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm running Exchange Enterprise Server 2003 w/SP2 and Windows Server 2003.  I'd like to simply setup a "hot spare" of some type. If my current server all of sudden dissapears, I'd like to be able to "dump" my backups onto this new server and get back up and running in the minimum amount of time.  This second server will not be the same hardware.  The idea is to just have something "just in case" until we procure something else.  I'm looking for minimum down time.  I'm guessing that the systems would have to be nearly identical in terms of OS setup and the machine name would probably have to be the same which precludes the system from being on the network but that's OK assuming it could be made to work.  Interested in hearing ideas on this.

    Ken

    Monday, November 22, 2010 7:41 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    An option is to keep the server on the same OS and OS patch level as the running Exchange server and then if the running server totally crashes and can't be brought back you can do a Exchange installation with /disasterrecovery switch. When you patch the running Exchange server remember to download the patch so you can apply it to the standby server when Exchange has been installed. You can follow the guide here if you want to follow that scenario:

    http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Recovering-Failed-Exchange-2003-Member-Server-Using-Disaster-Recovery-Switch.html

    If you are planning for an Exchange upgrade soon you should dive in and have a look at DAG's in Exchange 2010, might be worth the upgrade just to get to that functionality.

    /Martin


    Exchange is a passion not just a collaboration software.
    • Proposed as answer by mracket Wednesday, November 24, 2010 7:33 PM
    • Marked as answer by Evan LiuModerator Friday, December 3, 2010 8:26 AM
    Monday, November 22, 2010 8:36 PM
  • Hi,

    I the case that your primary server breaks down completly you will need to rename the backup server to the name of the primary before going about installing Exchange with the /disasterrecovery switch. The procedure is descripted in the article that i mentioned earlier in the thread.

    /Martin


    Exchange is a passion not just a collaboration software.
    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 7:32 PM
  • Hi Ken,

     

    In addition to Martin’s suggestion, you can know more about from the following links:

     

    Recovering an Exchange 2003 SP2 Server

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/exchangesvravailabilityandisasterrecovery/thread/97c20928-b562-4c80-8eb5-01ebe74af9dd

     

    Member Server Recovery Methods

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998116(EXCHG.65).aspx

     

    If anything is unclear, please feel free to let me know and I will be glad to help.

     

    Best Regards,

     

    Evan


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Friday, November 26, 2010 11:11 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    An option is to keep the server on the same OS and OS patch level as the running Exchange server and then if the running server totally crashes and can't be brought back you can do a Exchange installation with /disasterrecovery switch. When you patch the running Exchange server remember to download the patch so you can apply it to the standby server when Exchange has been installed. You can follow the guide here if you want to follow that scenario:

    http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Recovering-Failed-Exchange-2003-Member-Server-Using-Disaster-Recovery-Switch.html

    If you are planning for an Exchange upgrade soon you should dive in and have a look at DAG's in Exchange 2010, might be worth the upgrade just to get to that functionality.

    /Martin


    Exchange is a passion not just a collaboration software.
    • Proposed as answer by mracket Wednesday, November 24, 2010 7:33 PM
    • Marked as answer by Evan LiuModerator Friday, December 3, 2010 8:26 AM
    Monday, November 22, 2010 8:36 PM
  • Thanks Martin, that was what I was thinking accept that I normally go through backup "test procedures" on a regular basis. That is, I test my backup procedures to see if they work.  From what I can tell all these methods aren't reproducible "live", ie, the main server must be gone for you to make it work and I can't take down a production server just to test.   I don't want to have to wait until it a disaster actually happens before I find out it won't work so I need to be able to test to see if it works on a regular basis.

    This project is in tandem with upgrade plans. If we stay with Exchange we will most likely move to 2010.

    Ken- 

    Monday, November 22, 2010 10:39 PM
  • Hi,

    How much do you want to be able to test in the backup procedure? You still have the option of restoring Exchange database and use ESEUTIL to test the health of the databases, but of course there is not client access test in that scenario. If you want to be able to do a complete test you will need to create either a lab environment that contains servers with the same names or you can go the Cluster way and introduce the second server in a cluter where you can test the failover in the service window you have planned out.

    /Martin


    Exchange is a passion not just a collaboration software.
    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 7:59 AM
  • Well, am doing it using symantec backup exec system recovery which will allow you to capture the image for the server and deploy it on the cold backup server (Offline Backup server) even if the hardware is deffirent including all settings and configuration then if you got hardware  failure you can restore your backup to the cold backup server. it will be intersting if it can be done using microsoft tools but acctually i dunno how because you are using windows 2003, but for windows serer 2008 and later you can use windows AIK and Windows PE. but its always recommended to have High availablity base solution such as DAG's in exchange 2010.
    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 11:59 AM
  • Hi,

    Not quite sure what you want then. Do you want to be able to restore from the Backup Exec system receovery to a server and verify that it works in the production network? I would not recommend doing that since you will then have two servers with the same name, and shutting down the production server while testing isn't really something to recommend since you still have two servers with the same name. I would use the secondary server to either a cluster server or a standby server to install on. If you do have an image it should not be a long restore fase you are facing in case of a breakdown.

    /Martin


    Exchange is a passion not just a collaboration software.
    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 12:07 PM
  • Hi,

    You can prepare same setup on test environment, but different network.

     


    Dinesh
    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 3:30 PM
  • Thanks Guys.  Well what I want and what I can have has been proven not possible via this thread :-)  From listening to all in this thread it's pretty clear to me that I can't setup and test my procedures live.  I know I can take a copy of the store and bring it up on another server to access the data.  I'm just looking for a short term recovery scenario that works.

    I'm thinking the way to deal with this would be to have a 2nd server running the same OS but different server name in the domain. If and when disaster strikes, install Exchange with the /disaster recovery switch and then perform a restore of the mail store to this server. At that point I would need to do what in terms of getting mail flowing again?  I know the server name is different so I'd need to change DNS and possibly MX records. What do I need to do in AD?

    Ken

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 7:29 PM
  • Hi,

    I the case that your primary server breaks down completly you will need to rename the backup server to the name of the primary before going about installing Exchange with the /disasterrecovery switch. The procedure is descripted in the article that i mentioned earlier in the thread.

    /Martin


    Exchange is a passion not just a collaboration software.
    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 7:32 PM
  • Hi Ken,

     

    In addition to Martin’s suggestion, you can know more about from the following links:

     

    Recovering an Exchange 2003 SP2 Server

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/exchangesvravailabilityandisasterrecovery/thread/97c20928-b562-4c80-8eb5-01ebe74af9dd

     

    Member Server Recovery Methods

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998116(EXCHG.65).aspx

     

    If anything is unclear, please feel free to let me know and I will be glad to help.

     

    Best Regards,

     

    Evan


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Friday, November 26, 2010 11:11 AM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    You are on the right track in looking for a short Recovery Time Objective (RTO) if your primary server dies. 

    This is very easy to do with our Managed Service, myManagedBackup.com We can configure to take snapshots of your server every 15 minutes and export to a virtual (Hyper-V or VMware) or physical standby server automatically. If you box dies you simply startup the standby server. It's already updated with the most recent backup.

    You don't need identical hardware. We can provide the solution on a dedicated appliance if you like. We can also replicate the server to our data center providing you with complete server disaster recovery.

    The backups themselves provide for granular restore of all items, emails, contacts, etc..

    Get in touch if you'd like more info.

    Eric

     

    • Proposed as answer by NetGuy747 Saturday, November 27, 2010 6:41 PM
    Saturday, November 27, 2010 6:41 PM