Existing Servers to be mirrored

Microsoft Windows vista ultimate - 32-bi...
December 7, 2010 at 03:02:37
Specs: Windows Vista, 2GB
Hi Guys, Ok - so i have started out running my own business in computer repairs, i have some knowledge of server maintenance and installation. A client has approached me with what it seems like as a large job.

Basically, they run 3 hotels and 1 business centre alongside this 1 server in India. They would like to basically "mirror" all data saved, in my eyes onto 1 primary back-up server - obviously incase anything goes wrong they will have that copy. In this respect, its quite new to me but i am always up for a challenge and to learn more. This client is understanding luckily as he knows this is out of my current range, obviously he is looking for a cheaper price than his current server maintenance.

I know its a lot to ask on a forum, but where do you guys think i should start. Do you have any tips on how to work this on the best basis possible as i know there are many ways to do what they want.

Do i just simply RAID all drives? or is there much much more into it?


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December 7, 2010 at 05:30:10
I monitor over 110 servers every day, from what i know, if i understand you situation properly does the customer simply want a backup of all of their data to one location e.g. your business?

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December 7, 2010 at 05:37:45
Just wanted to add, if you have never done any server builds or servers for customers i would start to read up on a lot. I don't see why they just have one server in India. all of our companies have servers at every site.

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December 7, 2010 at 06:03:15
Hi Daniel, thank you so much for your reply.

That's exactly it, there will be one new server that holds all data from every location which runs a server.

He just briefly explained it to me about India, but i would presume there would be 1 server per site.

I have the huge book on SBS 2003 & bought a server just for my house which runs 5 computers with back-ups - problem being, i think i have just touched the start of what's involved, i yet have to learn about exchange, hosting my website on it etc. Other basic things like, printing from remote locations, accessing all computers remotely for support is fine.

My main PC hard drives runs on RAID 0 but i will learn about RAID 1 as i believe this "mirrors" data.

I think this may be too big for me at the moment but hate to say no! thats my problem. Its those who dares wins but this carries a huge responsibility! :)

Not sure where to start.

Thank you again Daniel.


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December 7, 2010 at 06:15:10
Yeah i think the biggest problem will be doing a mirror from India to here, i would think that using Symantec backup exec to do an off-site backup to a NAS at your place would be easier.

Not sure how it would work from India but we do a few off-site to our location form other companies.

If you did use a NAS the you could install backup exec on the servers in India and set them to backup to you IP address and link the NAS to a network share. there is more to it than that but that is just a simple explanation of what can be done.

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December 7, 2010 at 07:49:43
That's exactly it, there will be one new server that holds all data from every location which runs a server.

The problem I see with this is you still need to do a backup on the "backup" server. Have you, or they, considered this? It's all fine and dandy to backup multiple offisite servers to a single remote server, but what if the building the backup server is housed in goes up in flames? What if the very next day you lose a server and need to replace the data........oops, no backup!

As I see it, you would want a backup of some sort in this location with removeable media and you would do daily backups of the data and then take that daily backup media offsite.....just in case.

Yeah i think the biggest problem will be doing a mirror from India to here, i would think that using Symantec backup exec to do an off-site backup to a NAS at your place would be easier.

As I see it, the biggest problem is bandwidth. You're going to need a big pipe in each remote location and also in the "backup sever" site. You'll also want to consider when you run the backups. If you have say, 4, remote sites backing up large chunks of data to site 5 and they're all trying to do it at the exact same time, that's going to create a bandwidth issue. Bandwidth costs money. Enterprise level connections cost more. You don't want to try to upload 10 GB's of data on a 5 Mbps ADSL line that only offers 512 KB's of upload bandwidth.

You also don't want 4 remote sites downloading 10 GB's of data each to a single 5 Mbps, or even a 10 Mbps pipe at the receiving end all at the same time.

Before I would consider implementing such an idea, I would look at a couple alternatives first.

1) There are already a plethora of companies out there that offer "off-site" backup like what you're talking about. They also backup their own servers. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I would look at the cost of doing your backups to an existing company that offers this service.

Is it more cost effective in the long run for you to do this yourself, or to use an existing business?

2) Backup locally at each location to some form of removable media that can be take offsite.

Again, you're going to want to consider the cost effectiveness of this as compared to other possible solutions.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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December 7, 2010 at 08:40:35
Replicating data is always a great idea but disaster recovery is a tiered operation.

In other words if you are not doing;
ups for power
mirrored/raided drives
volume shadow copies
tape backups
Minimum of two DC's in Active Directory
Same for dns servers
Written documentation of how you will do a server recovery

you are not ready for replicating data since the basics haven't been addressed first.

After that you would consider DFS and FRS [directory and file replication services] to replicate selected data between servers for redundancy.

Then you can move up the ladder to things like offsite snapshot servers and things of that sort.

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