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Current possibilities with Disaster Recovery Add-on

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Can somebody tell me what the current possibilities are with the Disaster Recovery add-on? The information on the product website are not extremely conclusive and (I feel) might be outdated.

 

This is all I can find (source: http://www.emcinsignia.com/en/products/smb/retroforwin/addons/ ):

 

Disaster Recovery

The Disaster Recovery add-on enables a bare metal system recovery for any Windows computers that are being backed up, avoiding time-consuming software installation and reconfiguration. Retrospect gathers the data required for disaster recovery as a normal part of the back up process and stores the required information on the backup media. Retrospect is unique in its ability to create a disaster recovery (DR) CD for any point in time when an incremental backup was performed. If a disaster occurs, Retrospect can create a DR CD, even for a computer that is no longer working. When a computer boots from the DR CD, it loads the operating system, drivers, and the Retrospect application or client. Then all files, folder, applications, and settings can be restored from the backup media. Even systems with RAID controllers, which require low-level device drivers, are supported. A single Disaster Recovery add-on license protects the Retrospect backup server and all networked client computers.

 

This description suggests to me that it would allow the user to restore a server with a Retrospect 'produced' "DR CD" -ONLY-. So I need to have made a backup of that system and I then would only need to insert this CD into the system and it would be able to boot with it and access the needed files from the backup server's storage?

 

What would be needed to create a restorable backup of a Windows 2008 server running MS-SQL? Do I need open file backup and the SQL add-on? What -exactly- can be done with this product and, very importantly, what can't be done with it? (For example, I figured it can't do a 'universal restore', which is a pitty, but 'bare metal' will do for now.).

 

So far it's not very clear to me... Can somebody give me some pointers and advice.

 

For reference, I'm exploring the possibilities for using Multi Server as a platform for all our backup needs of our online webservers running Windows 2003 and 2008. A lot of these servers also run SQL. So we are already considering getting the SQL add-on for handling specific backup needs of the databases. But this is something different.

 

We have three needs:

- Backup of systems (OS and installed software and all settings)

- Backup, Duplication and Archiving of directories with data, like IIS logfiles, etc.

- Backup of SQL databases.

 

This topics question merely focuses on the first of our needs. But this way you'll have an idea of the 'complete picture'.

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See

 

http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=1070&p=2

http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=9524&p=2

 

http://video.emcinsignia.com/retrospect/installing_retrospect/9.%20Disaster%20Recovery.wmv

 

The DR Add on does not support Windows Vista or 2008 Server. You would do a Live restore instead:

 

http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=9691&p=2

 

You do need the SQL add on to handle the backup of SQL Databases.

 

 

 

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Notice that disaster recovery is supported on identical hardware only. (This is a limitation in Windows, rather than Retrospect. Normally, you can't take a boot drive from one server, connect it to a different server and boot. If you can do that, then Retrospect's disaster recovery should work, too.)

 

We have MS SQL Server to create a dump file of its contents just before the backup runs and we backup that file, and excluding the MS SQL data files. To do that, you don't even have to buy the MS SQL Server add-on.

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@ Mayoff >

Thanks for the pointers, now I'll have something to study! ;)

 

'Slightly' off-topic:

 

Will there be an ´unlimited´ version of the SQL agent available in the near future? I need at least eight agents for our sollution, and likely more on a irregular basis.

 

Does anybody know if the current SQL agent works with MS SQL 2008 (released yesterday). We will be switching to that version really soon.

 

@ Lennart >

 

Yeah, I would have liked something as functional as Acronis Universal Restore. Which is very usefull when restoring to different hardware or a virtual machine. However it's not as centralised as Retrospect Multi Server. Besides that, Acronis' sollution is not cheap (for multiple servers).

 

I'm aware one doesn't need the SQL agent per se. We currently have a similar backup stategy you are suggesting. But because we use eight SQL servers it's not as easy to control and check. For that Retrospect's centralised interface might be more convenient. Not sure yet, we need to test if it does what we want it to do.

 

Keeps me off the street I suppose... :D

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Will there be an ´unlimited´ version of the SQL agent available in the near future?

 

This is not planned.

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Hi Robin,

 

For the 'live restore' you mention, I presume it would be best to create boot volume backups using the Open File add-on?

 

And am I correct to presume for the 'live restore' we don't need the DR add-on?

 

Will DR be compatible with Server 2008 in the near future? Or will the 'live restore' method be the only option?

 

Thanks.

 

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Will there be an ´unlimited´ version of the SQL agent available in the near future?

 

This is not planned.

Ah, too bad, but I can understand the marketing behind it.

 

Thanks.

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Hi Robin,

 

I have two questions about the following;

 

See

 

http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=1070&p=2

http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=9524&p=2

 

http://video.emcinsignia.com/retrospect/installing_retrospect/9.%20Disaster%20Recovery.wmv

 

The DR Add on does not support Windows Vista or 2008 Server. You would do a Live restore instead:

 

http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=9691&p=2

 

You do need the SQL add on to handle the backup of SQL Databases.

 

I'll give the live restore a try. However I want to know what is meant by "Install a temporary version of Windows with the identical version you backed up.". Is an install with the same SP good enough, or do I need to know -exactly- which MS patches and fixes are/are not applied to a specific machine (which seems undoable).

 

And do I need the open file backup to make a succesfully restorable backup in the first place?

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Vista and 2008 require the same service pack and security updates be installed.

 

2003 and earlier (including XP) only require you to install the same service pack version.

 

You do not need open file backup add on to get a successful system backup. Just close all programs to limit your errors.

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Vista and 2008 require the same service pack and security updates be installed.

 

2003 and earlier (including XP) only require you to install the same service pack version.

Thanks Robin,

I talked to one of our senior engineers and he didn't like to keep track of what security patches were installed on which server. In the near future, will the situation for 2008 (and Vista) be the same as it now is for 2003/XP? That would be far more useable. Another argument would be a 'virgin' re-install of a specific server takes much longer if it needs an installation of all SP's and patches. From our point of view the way Acronis handles these restores are much more convenient, as you only need to put in their universally bootable CD and can handle the entire restore from there without the need for anything else but the (network available) backup image. This combined with the rest Retrospect does would be really perfect to have! The way it works now is just an ~okay~ sollution. Handy to have if things go really wrong and things like RAID-mirrors fail. But it's not really quick and easy to get it up and running. Especially if you don't exactly know which security patches were installed at a specific point in time!

 

You do not need open file backup add on to get a successful system backup. Just close all programs to limit your errors.

Ah, that's good to know. But realise these servers are mainly used as web and SQL servers. So they need to be up 24/7. We'll be setting up a test soon to see what works and what not.

 

[color:gray]Now I'm off for the weekend! So to be continued on Monday :)[/color]

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You do need the SQL add-on to backup the SQL databases.

 

If you are able to install the temporary system version into a new path, like "wintemp" then you don't need to install any service packs or updates. You can just install to "wintemp" and then restore your system.

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You do need the SQL add-on to backup the SQL databases.

I think we are going to be a very good client for EMC! :D

 

If you are able to install the temporary system version into a new path, like "wintemp" then you don't need to install any service packs or updates. You can just install to "wintemp" and then restore your system.

I don't think this can be done with Windows 2008 Server. During its install you can't specify a directory, so this is probably not going to work. Any idea when DR will be available for Windows 2008?

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When an existing install is detected, you might get path options during the install of a 2nd copy

That might be the case (I don't think 2008 Server offers this), however we also have to plan for total disc failure.

 

I think we need something that boots up a server and makes it (network) accessable for a Retrospect backup server, to restore its boot partition.

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