I was reading a blog post by Phillip Elder (SBS MVP) on recovering a Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) after a catastrophic failure. He was able to determine that a RAID 1 array containing the OS on their SBS had failed as well as a RAID 5 array with network data. The last time he had experienced a high level of failure like this was with a different backup services provider and his team spent the better part of the weekend working to recover from the failure. This time around things were different. This time around he had options!
After some initial testing they found that the SBS OS was at least operational. If the OS were not operational, they had the option to restore a ShadowProtect backup image directly to a new server using StorageCraft’s Hardware Independent Restore (HIR) technology. This would get the client up and running on a different physical machine as a temporary solution while they continued working on the existing hardware.
Fortunately, the SBS OS loaded (with a few stressful moments… I loved his narration through these pain points). So at this point he has the option of restoring his data partitions and putting the pieces back together into a working system. Because StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect backup software is an image-based backup solution and he has backup images of his partitions, he can recover specific point in time disk images back to a physical system.
About this time, Phillip mentions a few strategic decisions on why data and applications were allocated to specific partitions. For example, their Exchange data was stored on the OS partition so that business communications could continue as long as the OS was running. All of these decisions create options on how to rebuild after a disaster and with the right tools and skill set an IT Pro can work effectively to get a customer up and running with as little downtime as possible.
Kudos to Phillip and his team for working through a tough problem and showing us the importance of intelligent system design, powerful backup and recovery tools, and proper knowledge and skills. He makes the recovery look easy when in fact this could have been a serious problem and possibly resulted in losing a customer. Great job!