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Spare Server Anyone?

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip

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Posted: 19 Apr 2002

Here's a conversation from the support forums about building a spare server and keeping it around ... just in case. If your only spare is in your trunk, this tip might be for you.

The situation:
We have approximately 100 remote sites with a workstation-class machine running NetWare at each of these locations. No mirrored drives, no RAID, and no backup at the remote locations. We batch copy data to a central location for backup purposes. We would like to have a spare server at the central office, and are interested in the quickest way to build a spare so we can ship it a site and have it dropped in place, as necessary.

The suggestion:
Using Server Imaging you can do most of the base prep by creating the spare server from an image. After installing DS onto the server all that is left is to create the missing DS objects. Check out TID-10063721 for coverage of those details. Other products can usually be included in the base image and related configuration files modified just before DS is installed. Using either Server Magic or Ghost for NetWare this all can be accomplished in a couple of hours.

Not covered in that TID is the process to save the current object references to the existing/crashed server. That is covered in a number of different TIDs and depends on server versions currently deployed. The combination of the two concepts can handle just about everything you need.

There are steps to make this process easier, like backing up server-specific info using DSRepair on a regular basis and copying that to a central location. This eliminates the need to "fix" the DS problems introduced with replacement servers.

The best software (IMHO) is Storage Manager from Portlock Software -- far faster, far easier and what's nice is you can image ACROSS an IP connection. Then use ZENworks for Servers to finish it off with apps and a site-specific policy.

Another option would be to create a script that handles all of this for you by just slipping the site specific CD into the drive and turning it on. Fairly straightforward to create this from an existing installation with minimal effort. Then use ZENworks for Servers to finish it off with the correct apps and a site-specific policy.

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