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I am partly responsible for the uptime of a Windows Server at work. We have only been assigned a small amount of space for backups (50gb or so). This is no way near enough space for backing up .VHDs of the actual server. Instead, the sysadmin says we should just back up important files. I am not sure if he means important system or user files, but either way, this is not really a robust backup strategy. No strategy in terms of media rotation, etc, nothing. I see no value in this - at all.

The server is AD/DNS server, so it has some special considerations. Also, how should I backup AD when there is also a secondary AD on a VM on ESX?

Note: I am a developer but for various reasons (skills gaps, politics), I have the majority of responsibility for doing these sysadmin tasks. I don't mind as I learn a lot, but I have very little support from other people (the sysadmins are very unapproachable so I rely on SE and my trusty books). I am like a semi-professinal system admin and I am an experienced developer. Because I run HyperV at home, this gives me some basic grounding in system administration for Windows Server, thus I am the favourite for all of this.



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What are you using for a backup software? – cole Jul 12 '10 at 23:53
I have no dedicated backup software lol. WBAdmin would work well but it's not really designed for HyperV (this is to be enabled in the future). – dotnetdev Jul 13 '10 at 22:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It sounds like you are doing the backups to some small part of a hard drive, possibly a shared drive. That's not a backup, it's a disaster waiting to bite you where it hurts.

You really should be looking at a proper backup system. i.e. Something that will backup everything you need and allow you to take that away from the thing being backed up, with my preference always being tape. If the company can't or won't pay for such a system at least try to convince them to let you buy a couple of external hard drives for the purpose (rotating them and not relying on any one copy). While I abhor hard drives for backup they are a whole lot better than nothing and if they are external you can at least meet the requirement to separate them from the source.

Above all else, test your backups, regardless of what method to choose to do them.

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+1. Sound advice. – joeqwerty Jul 13 '10 at 3:04
Backups location is a network share, so yea, a shared drive. Everything you've said I agree with and I will have to flag this as a major concern. What medium do you recommend for backups? Tapes? – dotnetdev Jul 13 '10 at 22:34

Is the server in question a production server? Is it in fact one of the AD\DNS servers for the company? If so, I find it highly irregular that the sysadmins would have so little concern for it. If that's the case then I have to say that personally, I find it shameful that you're in the position they've left you in.

At the very least, if you have no other recourse, find a way to perform a daily System State backup.

All that being said, if your AD DNS zone(s) are AD integrated and if both servers are also GC's, and this server is not the single point of failure for any other service or application, then technically you could tolerate the failure of this server. You could simply sieze the FSMO roles if neccessary, build a new DC, and be happily on your way.

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The server is not production, it's for dev. It's just AD/DNS for 5 users (small dev team). I work in a big company and there are other servers which act as AD for thousands (I hope those are backed up properly!). What does GC mean? Daily system state backup to the network share is my temp and only feasible solution. At least it won't be on the local server. – dotnetdev Jul 13 '10 at 22:29
OK, that explains the sysadmins lack of concern then. GC stands for Global Catalog and the first DC in a forest\domain is always a GC. Additional DC's can also be made to be GC's. – joeqwerty Jul 14 '10 at 11:00

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