Windows Server Backup and Restore Objectives

Category: Server & Network

As you have setup and configured your initial running server environment that basically is a running and configured Domain Controller (e.g. a DNS and the AD-Domain Service, ev. also a DHCP) start thinking how to backup and restore the server in case of system failure. How to setup a server image backup on a predefined schedule can be easily found on google so here I want to give some hints based on the experience I made ... 

The backup files created by defined schedule should be located on a separate independent hard disc (e.g. not a disc within the servers RAID) and should have the size of the hard disc where the servers operating system is installed. This assumes that you only backup the servers system drive (located on a separate hard disc) as I did. If you also want to backup your data drives increase your backup drive accordingly (I do not setup my data drive because its as the system drive embedded within a RAID 1 configuration - so should be quite fail safe - and the data traffic on this drive is too high to backup it every day).

If you got a major malfunction of your server system you are well advised to recover your system from the backup image from the last known good and running state. However because sometimes you might have to restore the servers operating system from scratch you have to boot your server with the installation disc and then click the repair option and choose the appropriate image backup from your backup drive (e.g. where you defined to store your images).

Restoring the servers operating system from scratch can sometimes be error-prone because of some constrains of the architecture of the underlying hardware. Therefore I advise to put some basic services on this „physical" server (e.g. the IIS, Remote-Services and the servers Backup-Service) but then create Hyper-V virtual machines for the rest of roles (e.g. the DNS, DHCP, AD-DS, IIS, CERTSRV , Exchange, …). Of course don’t create a virtual machine for every service but for example put the DHCP, AD-DS, IIS, CERTSRV in one virtual machine and the Exchange server in another one. This gives you the advantage that the virtual machines can be restored very easy and reliable from the running operating system of the physical server from where the image backups are created.

You should always consider if the performance of your hardware permits an additional virtual machine or if you need wo put that on another physical machine or increase your current systems capabilities. For details on the individual steps just google the related terms (prefer english because often you’ll find a lot more results).