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We have a main node in a DC data center and want to setup a back-up node in Seattle. The back-up node will only be used if the DC node goes down and we switch it over while DC node is repaired. The question is, what kind of services out there allow me to sync the data, I suppose we want to do it fairly frequently so if something goes down there isn't much loss in data between the time of failure and the last back-up/sync. Is there any common solution for this?

It's Windows Server 2003 running Parallels Virtuozzo.

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PlateSpin Protect is one product that can do this. However like all the solutions in this space, it's kinda messy, difficult to work with, and I wouldn't recommend it.

I'd advise a case-by-case look at your replication requirements:

  • For AD domain controllers, setting up an additional domain controller at another site and using the inbuilt replication is the way to go.
  • For windows file servers, you can use DFS to replicate files between sites
  • For SQL, you can enable one of the mirroring/replication features available internally to protect your data between sites
  • For many other workloads, you can use products like Backup Exec to perform cross-site backups, ensuring you have restore capability if a site becomes unavailable.

You're on the fringe with a virtualisation product like Virtuozzo. There would be more options available to you if you were running Hyper-V or ESX. Whatever you end up going with, reliable and fast WAN links are always the key, and once you beef them up to a decent spec, doing things like full backups between sites becomes entirely feasible.

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Yeah, DFS for files and Secondary DC are they way to go in my eyes – LordT Jun 5 '10 at 11:05

You really shouldn't sync this way.

The easiest way is to have the backup (Seattle) server become a backup domain controller for the domain. If the primary goes down, the backup will automatically service the network. You can also setup what's called a RODC, or read-only domain controller.

Also, the underlying protocol that runs the DC's (Active Directory and the like) will automatically sync everything for you alot more efficently than anything 3rd party.

For Data syncing, simply use a scheduled task and a batch file to copy files over the network during an off-peak time during the night, or what ever your required schedule dictates.

If you simply copy the hard drive images (Virtuozzo images) you'll have EVERYTHING in sync, including SID's, which is not a good thing!

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Does a back-up domain controller actually sync all the data too? From what I'm reading it just backs up user accounts... we want like our SQL server and all our web server VMs to be synced. – ioSamurai Apr 15 '10 at 15:29
But SQL Server, web server VM's are NOT a domain controller - and shuld not be installed on one. The answqer answers your question. You seem not to have known what to ask ;) – TomTom Jun 5 '10 at 9:19

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