"Duplicating" existing SBS 2003 -- preparing for the worst case sc

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by Panagiotis Ladas, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. Hi

    I have an SBS 2003 and I want to prepare in case the existing hardware
    fails. I want to ask if there is a way to setup from now a few high end
    computers with windows 2003 (or anything else needed) so that they will work
    as a cluster or at least as a backup solution.

    There are 3 services that I need. 1) Email 2) File server 3) Backup domain
    controller. Any suggestions on what can I do to minimize downtime in the
    hardware failure case?

    and BTW what would you consider a worst case scenario? a fire/flood?
     
    Panagiotis Ladas, Oct 18, 2005
    #1
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  2. SBS cannot itself be clustered. You can have a cluster in an SBS domain
    though.

    The key here is point 1). If you use SBS Exchange for mail it must be
    running on the SBS, no failover scenario is possible.

    Of course, you can have additional DC's (even make them GC's) and/or
    additional fileservers.

    OK, so you need Exchange and it must be on SBS, what's our disaster plan?

    What can happen to an SBS?

    Any part of the server other than the drive controller and HDD's may fail.
    The drive controller may fail.
    One or several HDD's may fail.
    Someone may walk in and walk out with the server in their arms.
    The earth may open up and swallow the building.

    Two or more of these events may occur simultaneously, none are exclusive.
    (YEAH, I saw it all on the security video(offsite), smoke came out of the
    box then this high pitched whine started coming from it, this guy walked
    into the room and just picked up the box, we watched him drive away then the
    security camera failed as the building fell in this FREAKIN HUGE HOLE!!! :)

    A lot of people in/around New Orleans know all about 'worst case'.

    What can you do to minimise the impact?

    If the HDD(s) and controller are intact moving the installation to other
    equipment is possible. A worst case would require a 'repair install' of SBS.
    If the controller dies it can, in most cases, be replaced and the system
    will come up _reasonably_ easily. This could be somewhat catered for by
    using 'duplexed' controllers.
    A single HDD failure can be made insignificant by the use of RAID. Multiple
    drive failures would probably mean restore from backup after replacing the
    drives.
    Whole system failure or missing requires the backup to be taken offsite.
    (How far offsite? Katrina and Rita flattened a large area)
    Generally, restore from 'image' (ghost or similar) is quicker than a
    standard restore from backup.

    So...

    Put the system together and complete the configuration, create your users,
    bring her up to current service pack levels, basically, get her ready for
    production.
    Shutdown and image. A VAR/VAP might use a transportable drive to hold an
    image of client systems 'ready to go', this image may be updated
    periodically.
    Maintain a comprehensive backup plan.
     
    SuperGumby [SBS MVP], Oct 18, 2005
    #2
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  3. I posted this seperately because it's a bit 'out there'.

    Virtualise the SBS.

    Pretty soon Virtual Server will support some features that have me intrigued
    somewhat. The main points being that Exchange will be certified for
    operation under VS and VS itself will support clustering (HOST clusters, it
    already supports creating clusters in the virtual machines).

    I'm already moving to a dual server scenario. One box for SBS and a second
    as TS. The reduced cost of maintenance by having everyone operate under TS
    pretty well pays for it in a couple of years. Support for remote users is
    greatly enhanced in this scenario.

    SO, I seem to have drifted from the point somewhat, hey? HECK NO!! If I'm
    gonna have two boxes why not cluster the pair? Run VS on both. One box
    becomes the primary mount point of the SBS image, the other becomes primary
    for the TS image. Either box fails and the other takes up the task. Of
    course, I'm backing these suckers up still, and taking that backup offsite,
    GUESS WHAT? I have a copy of my SBS and TS virtual machines. In a worst case
    scenario I can grab 'any old hardware', install VS onto it, and run up my
    servers.
     
    SuperGumby [SBS MVP], Oct 18, 2005
    #3
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