Make SBS fool proof (Q2)

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by jd, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. jd

    jd Guest

    a) What is the best way to secure my data?
    b) In such a way as to reduce downtime and configeration overhead in the
    event of a filaure.(ie I dont mind creating custom hardware solution
    beforehand but want simplicity when a failure occurs)

    If I install or the file directory stores on drive E: and mirror to drive F:
    will SBS work in the event drive E fails (assuning I add in the new path
    after failure)

    Remotely located backup is required. But want to reduce cumbersome/scary
    stories with backups and sloooow restores.
    Can I have 2 SBS servers? One as a cloned backup of the first, can 2 coexist
    with the 2nd demoted in some way??
    jd, Jan 30, 2006
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  2. jd

    Russ Grover Guest


    Depends on what you mean by Secure? Government/Bank Secure or Typical
    Business Secure..
    And what Security are you talking about? Internet/Intranet/Local PC/USB
    Drives. Password Policies.
    (There are So many Topics on Security, this is not a one answer.)
    (I know I'll get flames for saying that.)
    Depends if you want TRUE 24x7 100% Uptime! a SBS2003 is not a solution for
    You can bring a Hard down SBS2003 server up in usually 1-2hrs.
    You can get a server with Redundant Power Supplies etc.
    If you want Simplicity SBS2003 is the best answer...
    A 24x7 Solution is simple for the Seasoned Tech, but not for the average
    company with No IT department.
    Are you talking RAID 1? then yes the other drive will work if one dies..
    Remote as in FTP? or Remote as in Offsite?
    If Remote as in "FTP" better have good UpSpeed on your Internet connection.
    Remote Offsite? External USB Drives.. Cheap and Reliable...Under $400 for 2
    Many of my Clients use 2 of them and rotate off site...
    Nope Only 1 SBS2003 In the same Domain.I suggest you find a SBS2003 Consultant in your area, He/She can spend about
    1hr or so talking about the pros and cons of SBS2003, If He/She knows the
    product they should have no problem taking 1hr to tell you all the
    features.. (If they say, SBS2003 doesn't work, find another Tech.)

    Russ Grover
    Small Business IT Support
    SBS Rocks!
    Portland/Beaverton OR
    Email: Sales at SBITS.Biz
    Website: http://www.SBITS.Biz
    Russ Grover, Jan 30, 2006
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  3. jd

    jd Guest

    Thanks Russ,

    Yes, SBS is working for a newbee thats me!

    Configeration, updates, policies etc all take time in the event of a
    hardware failure. Access to CDs/drivers and so on.
    Complexity of restoration is a KEY issue. As is downtime. Security is not
    that important.

    Current Setup:
    My file server (winxp-1) simply does a "backup" everynight to a spare
    (winxp-2) file server which as your question asks is located on the LAN but
    in a different building. Safe from fire or theft.

    If file server (1) fails I can simply redirect clients to the spare server
    (albeit I have to uncompress the backup file). In Clients outlook folders
    (no exchange needed) I have a "new" folder who's "Home" page is a URL to a
    simple links page on my webserver, where upon I can update the links to the
    spare Fileserver without the clients ever knowing! eg \\winxp-1\files
    becomes \\winxp-2\files

    The above is robust and quick. But with data loss of 24hrs. Also requires a
    little Security and permissions work (noAD) by adding the users to both

    The problem I have is that SBS add's a number of layers that increase
    complexity. Complexity=Risk!

    As in the above setup, Im looking for simple locations of files that can be
    backed up and then restored.

    SBS adds AD and Exchange, although I wish to use these functions along with
    SharePoint, I would like to treat them seperatly. That way I always have a
    "files" harddrive accesible to my office in any event (even if I have to
    plonk the files-drive in a client PC and share it out! thats takes
    10minutes!!) Compare that to restoring SBS and you get my point.

    This is one reason why I dont like stripe raid arrays in a SME enviroment.
    The complexity+downtime of rebuild outweighs the benefit, unless we are
    talking HOTSWAP mirrors and stripes in an enterprise solution.

    Perhaps Im going about this the wrong way.
    Perhaps what I require is a free standing file server or drive, and SBS to
    handle Exchange and Sharepoint.
    That way users will always (<10minutes) be able to access the files and as
    Outlook is in offline mode their emails (I have a spare mailerver!)

    Then I need a simple backup solution for SBS to include the Accounts,
    customised Sharepoint settings etc.
    Restore SBS and point the relevant parts to the "simple" fileserver or

    With this in mind can I hookup sharepoint to the file-server drive? By
    simply "redirecting" userfiles to the "files"-drive or "files"-server. But I
    am suspicous that SBS/AD will have a view on this and will a) claim that im
    over the 18gb limit and b) Write onerous NTFS permission which would prevent
    direct access to the drive if it was pulled and dumped into another PC (of
    course I could overwrite the ntfs and add new ownership but then after
    rebuilding SBS no doubt it wouldnt be able to recover and apply the old

    Lastly and in reference to the other post. If SBS fails then cleints cant
    connect to the internet, in fact they wont even get IPs to access the backup
    fileserver becuase SBS was the DHCP server. This is why I want to add SBS
    onto the network rather than making it "critical" to the network. I call
    this "redundancy"

    I appreciate that I should speak with an SBS advisor, however, they are too
    expensive and arent awake at 3.00am to fix problems.

    Yes, I have implemented UPS. This is second order, cheap, quick and easy.
    Unlike SBS backup/restoration! In fact I have battery UPS and a 6.5 KW
    diesal generator that kicks in on a power cut! (so that kids can play Xbox
    when the powers down :)

    In essence I prefer to work with simple file directories and permissions and
    then link to this from a complex, exciting and dynamic SBS/Sharepoint system
    without fear of loosing anything!!
    jd, Jan 30, 2006
  4. Microsoft support is 24/7 if you find yourself in a bind. Unlike consultants
    such as myself, Microsoft support is actually quite inexpensive because they
    bill you per incident, which may well last over 5 hours for what I would
    charge in two hours. They will work with you and escalate your case as much
    as it is necessary for your business to be back online. By the way, those of
    us who care about your business will fix it at 3am. I just finished a
    support call and it's 5am here. The idea is to provide you with a solution
    that won't require an after-hours call to begin with. Incidently, Microsoft
    Partners have some very good support options with Microsoft to make sure
    that your business operates after we leave after a disaster strikes.

    Use the backup wizard to backup directly to that second server.

    With regards to Microsoft Backup, you would have a choice of restoring the
    System State and basically rebuilding the machine from scratch or just
    restoring files from that server. This easily supports both of your
    scenarios where you would have a quick restore of your essential files while
    you focus on the server rebuild with less anxiety.

    You seem to have an awful lot of standby servers. A far more cost-effective
    solution is using exchange with a backup MX service, a robust disk array
    properly configured to separate Exchange transaction log files from Exchange
    databases, and a solid backup solution. I can rebuild such a server in less
    than 4 hours with no mail loss.

    I strongly recommend hotswap disk arrays to anyone who cares about their
    data. The cost of an array solution is far less than the bill you'd see from
    someone like myself when the hard disk will inevitably fail. A SATA array
    doesn't cost all that much. If you do not use Exchange, you are setting
    yourself up for some major problems as soon as your users exceed 2GB in
    their PST files. Downtime is zero if you do it right. Rebuilding a RAID5
    array is not an option for my solutions, unless the RAID5 volume is used for
    nearline file storage only.

    Now, I sell some true high availability solutions that can be deployed from
    coast to coast, but then your minimum budget should be over $25,000. :)

    Time for some sleep for now, but I'll probably follow up on this thread once
    I get some time to be more detailed.
    Leonid S. Knyshov, Jan 30, 2006
  5. JD -

    To get the full functionality of what you want (failover of file server,
    mail server, Sharepoint, etc.) - SBS is not the solution for you. The sort
    of infrastructure required to do that is going to require multiple servers,
    experience with setting up and maintaining clustered environments, etc. To
    do this, you're most likely going to be well into the 6-figure range.
    Considering that you indicate that an SBS advisor/consultant is too
    expensive, I'm thinking that spending $100k+ for this type of failover might
    be out of your budget as well.

    We have a decent number of SBS servers deployed (several dozen) - and
    haven't had any major issues. Your best bet is to invest in quality,
    server-grade hardware. Set up a RAID array (personally, I prefer RAID 5)
    with a hotspare, and if you truly want to minimize your downtime as much as
    possible while staying on an SBS budget, purchase key replacement parts when
    you buy the server (e.g. extra motherboard, RAID controller, power supply,
    etc.). All of our customers who are concerned about uptime have these extra
    parts on the shelf - and it did pay off for one customer when their RAID
    controller died. They were back up and running within an hour (of course,
    half of that was the time it took us to get there to swap the controller).


    Chad A. Gross [SBS-MVP]
    Chad A. Gross [SBS-MVP], Jan 30, 2006
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