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We have a Windows 2008 VM running IIS and SQL Server Express (it's an all-in-one web application). We need to have another copy at our secondary datacenter site.

What is the best way to do this? It doesn't have to be running all the time but it has to have almost the latest copy of the current VM. I took a look at VMWare Fault Tolerance and after the heart attack at the price I starting looking for another solution.

If need be I wouldn't mind copying it over to a cloud VM provider, if I can find one that lets me copy my own VMs up and start them up without any conversion process.

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Can you say more about the storage where the VM's are kept and what hypervisor you are using? –  Jeff Hengesbach May 28 '10 at 0:30
    
Jeff - given that he got a quote for VMware FT, he's probably using VMware for the hypervisor. –  mfinni May 28 '10 at 13:56
    
Ah my bad. Yep, it's running on VMware vSphere. –  zippy May 28 '10 at 21:22
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It depends on your requirements for RPO and RTO, and your budget to support those requirements. Recovery point objective : how much data can you afford to lose. If you replicate every 30 minutes, you can lose up to 29 minutes fo the most recent data. Recovery Time Objective : how fast does the restored service need to be up and running?

VMware FT means that you pretty much run a second VM in lockstep, so that your RPO is near 0 and your RTO will be measured in seconds, depending on your network infrastructure. That's why it's expensive.

Now, with SQL Express, you can't do mirroring, clustering, or even log-shipping, so you're going to have to roll your own, buy a third-party product, or upgrade to Web or Workgroup to do Log Shipping, or even higher to do mirroring or replication.

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/cry. I'll give you the answer but it sounds like I'll just be running regular backups on the VM. –  zippy Jun 3 '10 at 17:46
    
It's a question of budget and needs. What's your budget, what are your needs? And by "your needs", I mean the needs of the business. –  mfinni Jun 3 '10 at 17:51
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If your running hyperv then steeleye or doubletake will replicate these just fine, its a bandwidth issue at that point. The next issue then is your network infrastructure as far the guest ip/dns etc.

stretching a vlan is the best solution if you have this capability! tr

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Sorry, I should have mentioned I was running VMware in my question. –  zippy Jun 3 '10 at 17:45
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