Tuesday 1 April 2008

SBS Migration - ShadowProtect speeds up those final steps

When we are working our way through an SBS Migration we have now taken to making sure we have created a full ShadowProtect (SP) backup the night before we plan on the final swap out of the old server with the new.

When we arrive on-site with the new box, we immediately login to the old server and run an incremental SP image. One of the main reasons for this is the amount of time it takes to create the incremental image: On an old P4 based server box we Swung out this last weekend we had 4 partitions of various data volumes incrementally backed up in about 20 minutes ... with no worries about missing anything post Swing.

As soon as the SP image begins to initialize, we kill the Internet connection to the old SBS box. We are not worried about loosing anything with regards to email since our clients are setup with two tiers of MX records:
  • The ISP that is hosting the @MyInternetDomain.com that is gathered by POP3Connector once an hour
  • Direct SMTP via direct Internet connection and MX pointer.
While this type of email MX setup is not exactly the best possible method for running email redundancy, it does work relatively well. This is especially true for our smaller or non-profit clients that may not be in a financial position to afford services like ExchangeDefender, or Reputation Services (Trend).

As soon as the backup is finished, we down the old server and bring up the new one. We run the CEICW right away on the new SBS box to pickup the correct ISP IP(s) and ISP DNS settings. We initially CEICW'd the new SBS box using our in-house Workbench Internet access for the ongoing configuration needs.

From there it is a matter of:
  • Mounting the fresh SP image in Read Only mode
  • Copying the Exchange databases
  • ForkLifting them to bring the existing Exchange mailboxes online
  • A quick SyncToy run via the SP image client data against the data we already have in place from a previous SP image we used earlier in the Swing.
The above steps greatly simplify and speed up many elements in the Swing Migration.

Having that final image also saves us from having to fire up the old box if there is any "just in case" situations with the client's data, email data, and general setup during those first few vulnerable days.

One of the last things we do before turning out the lights: Setup SP and run a full backup of the server.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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