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Retrospect 7.7 Bare Metal Recovery Rocks!

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I have just completed my first Live BMR using the new R7.7 Bare Metal Recovery CD. What a Pleasure.

 

Fortunately I had done a couple of test runs, so when my customer's server crashed both mirrored C: Drive disks simultaneuously, I was able to recover the server in an hour and half. 30 Minutes to replace the faulty drives, reconfigure, raid, mirrors, bios, etc, and 45 minutes to recover ~50G System partiton.

 

I prefer the "Local" method where you run a Retrospect Server from the BMR Disk. Performance is MUCH faster than the Client approach.

 

The new BMR System is simple and effective, just what's needed in a tough DR situation:- The 6 step DR

1. Boot the BMR Disk

2. Prepare, partition, & format the new disk(s). It is important to repeat this process, if necessary, rebooting, till the disks show with their original drive letters. (If you dont, then windows generates tons of errors when it boots, and you will likely have to repeat the whole recovery)

3. Mount the Backup Set(s) (Configuration > Backup Sets > Add > More > Open > point to your Catalog File)

4. Restore Entire Volume, Replacing All Contents, in advanced mode, double check that the System Data & Security is restored.

5. Coffee Break

6. ReBoot

 

There are a couple of provisions which must be done and tested in advance to make it really slick.

 

The key thing is to have the Catalog Files for you Backup Sets available, (If they are simply left in their default locations, you will lose them along with your system drive, in the disaster, and then you will have to re-create them during your DR session, and this process can take HOURS per Backup Set. Definitiely NOT what you need in a DR Situation)

My Personal Favourite is to create a Duplicate job or two and Duplicate the Config77.dat, & *.RBC files ( or even the whole Docs & Settings\AllUsers\ApplicationData\Retrospect Folder) to :-

At the very least, a non system disk on the BU server, ideally the one with the backup sets on it

AND a disk on a different machine, (any Server, Desktop etc which is likely to be available in a disaster)

AND an offsite location, or a removable device which is taken offsite

 

Using Duplicate, rather than backup means you simply use the file without having to waste time in the DR recovering Catalog files (Double whammy here, if you don't have catalog files you will, at the very least, have to re-catalog the backup set with the catalog file backup before you can restore them)

 

Even better still, you can control where the Backup Set stores it's catalog files when you create the Backup Set. Set up a directory on a non-system disk and keep them right there. (This can even improve performance by adding spindles to the Retrospect environment.)

But don't forget to duplicate them as well.

 

The Second thing is to test your hardware setup so that the Retrospect BMR can actually boot, can See all the Disks, in the correct order, with the correct drive letters, and if necessary access Catalog files and BackUp Sets across the network. You may need to load Drivers for Storage & Network During the Retrospect BMR Boot Process, ensure you have them available and have tested loading them.

Ensure you have recorded your disk layout, and lettering scheme, and that you have documented the steps needed to re-create them, particularly running raid configuration utilities, bios setups etc. Practice this if at all possible.

 

I haven't tried it yet but it may be possible to add your own drivers, to the Retrospect BMR iso, using 7Zip or any other iso editor, and thus create a single customised BMR disk (Maybe the Retrospect folks could confirm this?

 

References:-

Retrospect Windows 7.7 User Guide Addendum

Retrospect Windows 7.7 Release Notes

Retrospect User guide (7.5 still seems to be the latest ???)

See Manaagement - Moving Retrospect for info on which files to keep to allow instant recovery of Retrospect

See Management - Catalog & Configuration Backups to elaborate on my suggestions

 

Good Luck , and may your DR be as painless as mine.:D

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I am referring to the Windows "Emergency Recover CD.iso which is included in Retro 7.7.341 in my case specifically.

The image is embedded in the Retro .7.7 download file (accessible with a License). You can also download it directly if you have a valid 7.7 license from here :- http://download.dantz.com/gate/bmr.php

 

This is a universal Windows Boot CD, which boots a Microsoft PE and offers to Run either a Retrospect Server or Client

 

The new EMR CD included with Retro 7.7 is very different from the previous approach used in Retro 7.6.

Retro 7.6 required a more elaborate scheme whereby a recovery CD had to be "Prepared" from backups, producing a CD specific to a particular machine. I never used this method, and cannot comment on it's effectiveness.

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I am referring to the Windows "Emergency Recover CD.iso which is included in Retro 7.7.341 in my case specifically.

The image is embedded in the Retro .7.7 download file (accessible with a License). You can also download it directly if you have a valid 7.7 license from here :- http://download.dantz.com/gate/bmr.php

 

Right - this is the disk i'm using. However, my restoration isn't going well. When i run the CD after having restored my hdd to the factory state and rebooting, the CD environment is assigning a drive letter to windows 7's system partition. Hence, I have C assigned to the system partition and D assigned to the windows OS partition. Once restored, I end up with a 1199 MB system partition (should be 100 MB), about 20,000 -1101 file/directory not found errors, and Windows won't boot even after attempting startup recovery.

 

My next step is to use diskpart to try to hide the System partition before restoring to see if that helps things. Any further suggestions are more than welcome!

 

update: trying to hide the system partition failed - restoring the volume installs over it.

Edited by luckycharms

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I have just completed my first Live BMR using the new R7.7 Bare Metal Recovery CD. What a Pleasure.

 

Fortunately I had done a couple of test runs, so when my customer's server crashed both mirrored C: Drive disks simultaneuously, I was able to recover the server in an hour and half. 30 Minutes to replace the faulty drives, reconfigure, raid, mirrors, bios, etc, and 45 minutes to recover ~50G System partiton.

 

I prefer the "Local" method where you run a Retrospect Server from the BMR Disk. Performance is MUCH faster than the Client approach.

 

The new BMR System is simple and effective, just what's needed in a tough DR situation:- The 6 step DR

1. Boot the BMR Disk

2. Prepare, partition, & format the new disk(s). It is important to repeat this process, if necessary, rebooting, till the disks show with their original drive letters. (If you dont, then windows generates tons of errors when it boots, and you will likely have to repeat the whole recovery)

3. Mount the Backup Set(s) (Configuration > Backup Sets > Add > More > Open > point to your Catalog File)

4. Restore Entire Volume, Replacing All Contents, in advanced mode, double check that the System Data & Security is restored.

5. Coffee Break

6. ReBoot

 

There are a couple of provisions which must be done and tested in advance to make it really slick.

 

The key thing is to have the Catalog Files for you Backup Sets available, (If they are simply left in their default locations, you will lose them along with your system drive, in the disaster, and then you will have to re-create them during your DR session, and this process can take HOURS per Backup Set. Definitiely NOT what you need in a DR Situation)

My Personal Favourite is to create a Duplicate job or two and Duplicate the Config77.dat, & *.RBC files ( or even the whole Docs & Settings\AllUsers\ApplicationData\Retrospect Folder) to :-

At the very least, a non system disk on the BU server, ideally the one with the backup sets on it

AND a disk on a different machine, (any Server, Desktop etc which is likely to be available in a disaster)

AND an offsite location, or a removable device which is taken offsite

 

Using Duplicate, rather than backup means you simply use the file without having to waste time in the DR recovering Catalog files (Double whammy here, if you don't have catalog files you will, at the very least, have to re-catalog the backup set with the catalog file backup before you can restore them)

 

Even better still, you can control where the Backup Set stores it's catalog files when you create the Backup Set. Set up a directory on a non-system disk and keep them right there. (This can even improve performance by adding spindles to the Retrospect environment.)

But don't forget to duplicate them as well.

 

The Second thing is to test your hardware setup so that the Retrospect BMR can actually boot, can See all the Disks, in the correct order, with the correct drive letters, and if necessary access Catalog files and BackUp Sets across the network. You may need to load Drivers for Storage & Network During the Retrospect BMR Boot Process, ensure you have them available and have tested loading them.

Ensure you have recorded your disk layout, and lettering scheme, and that you have documented the steps needed to re-create them, particularly running raid configuration utilities, bios setups etc. Practice this if at all possible.

 

I haven't tried it yet but it may be possible to add your own drivers, to the Retrospect BMR iso, using 7Zip or any other iso editor, and thus create a single customised BMR disk (Maybe the Retrospect folks could confirm this?

 

References:-

Retrospect Windows 7.7 User Guide Addendum

Retrospect Windows 7.7 Release Notes

Retrospect User guide (7.5 still seems to be the latest ???)

See Manaagement - Moving Retrospect for info on which files to keep to allow instant recovery of Retrospect

See Management - Catalog & Configuration Backups to elaborate on my suggestions

 

Good Luck , and may your DR be as painless as mine.biggrin.gif

 

This sounds great but too good to be true. Before I set up a server to test this on I just want to make sure: Let's say my server's C: drive crashes rendering the server unbootable -- taking Windows, any programs installed on that drive, any data on that drive with it. Assuming I use the "local" restore method the BMR will allow me to restore my Windows server without having to: dig out windows installation CDs, driver CDs, MS license key codes, applications that were on that drive, etc? Basically I just need the emergency recovery disk and the backups you name in your article? Any Windows mapped drives, shortcuts, display customizations, user profiles that were there before the crash will be restored through the Retrospect Emergency Recover disk routine? It would be a Godsend if so....

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Retrospect promises to (I quote):

 

"Completely restore a previously backed up computer that has failed with the Retrospect Emergency Recovery CD." Note the word "Completely".

 

However, what about the files that Retrospect refuses to back up unless you spend thousands on the Open File Backup option (currently 217 files as of our Friday night backup)?

 

I have used Retrospect for at least ten years, and have recently upgared to Version 7.7, but I am sorry to say that I am rapidly loosing confidence in it as a backup tool.

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As the song Elderberry Wine says, it has been passed around like a...well, never mind. It has been shuffled between companies like an unwanted orphan. Let's hope that, now that it's owned by the people who develop it, things will improve. I do wish the new company would try a lot harder to communicate with its existing customers about the future -- we've had the silent treatment for years, now. Like you, I'm looking over the side of the ship, wondering if I need to prepare to jump...

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