This is kind of long but I am hoping someone can offer advice....
Our shop has about 400 windows server images, about half VM guests, about half physical. They are a mix of Win2000 (decreasing but still there), Win2003, and Win2008 server.
My concern is the physical servers. We used to use Tivoli Storage
Manager which included a system state restore. We had problems with
that. Now we use a product called SyncSort Backup Express. For BMR it
also takes a system state backup of the C: drive & OS and writes a
NetApp snapshot to a NetApp filer. During recovery the BMR utility is
booted on the server, the menu comes up, and you point to the snapshot
on the NetApp filer, and the system state and the C: drive are then
restored and then you can boot the OS. But we have and continue to have
many problems with SyncSort BEX. Long story short, we still do not have
what I would call a highly reliable windows DR backup methodology that I
can have confidence in.
One of the biggest reasons we have Syncsort BEX problems is dissimilar
hardware. We run pretty much Dell Poweredge servers, while our DR
(disaster recovery) provider uses HP proliant. So when we try a DR test
recovery we are recovering on quite different hardware. I.E. there are
driver issues, firmware issues, etc.
My research seems to indicate that when doing a BMR of a windows server,
if you are not restoring to the exact same make and model (and even
that may not be similar enough) machine, you are bound to have these
kinds of troubles.
Having said that, I am sure that many shops have this exact same problem with their Wintel DR environment.
So, what I am wondering is - for a good old Windows physical (non-VM)
server, that may be W2000, W2003, or W2008, how can you reliably back it
up and restore it to dissimilar hardware without all these issues? Is
it even possible?
Some have mentioned having all physical servers boot off SAN. That's
well and good...But if the C: drive and OS are on SAN, and they are
being replicated to DR, then you try to boot dissimilar hardware off
that replicated C: drive at the DR site, aren't you still in the same
I am interested in hearing anyone's recommendations on this...What are
you doing to address this? What products, vendors, procedures, tips
& techniques do you use? We just so far haven't seem to have gotten
this right, and we are at risk if we can not restore windows serves in a