Setting up a failover server / Server 2003

March 22, 2011 at 06:00:46
Specs: Windows XP
We currently have 1 server running Windows Server Small Business Edition 2003. I'd like to setup a mirror'd server, or some type of failover server, in the event that our primary server crashes - all services, applications, files, etc have been sync'd to the failover server and the business can run from it until the primary server is repaired, and minimize downtime. I believe failover clustering is much simpler in Server 2K8, but i'm not sure where to start since everything we have is currently residing on Server 2K3. Our current server runs A/D and is also a file server, and i believe a print server. It's also setup with a RAID configuration, but the owner would like to inquire about a backup server in case the current one goes down (we had a system crash earlier and he's getting worried about the server).

I haven't purchased the secondary server yet, i'm still trying to understand what will be needed and how to configure it. if the primary server fails, i'll need all workstations pointing to the secondary server for A/D, file storage/shares, applications/services, etc. I believe our networking equipment is running DHCP, so i don't think that's a concern.

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March 22, 2011 at 08:08:56
Try Google next time...

as for your files you can setup DFS on your server which will replicate your files to another file server. Then you can setup namespaces between the servers so that it appears to be transparent to the workstations when a server goes down.

be careful when you do this. Make sure you have a tested full backup of your files and ACLs before you start.

As for hardware, I would get a good 8 port switch to go between the servers to eliminate replication lag. I would also get two NICs for each server for redundancy.

Good Luck.

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March 22, 2011 at 08:29:21
Unfortunately DFS will not address the applications, only the data.

Microsoft clustering is expensive starting with the requirement of Enterprise/Datacenter versions to do it. Then you need a SAN and either run iscsi or fiber host adapters to connect the two servers to the common disk storage.

We use a product called Marathon. Web search Marathon clustering for more info. It is cheaper overall than MS clustering.

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