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Is it possible to take a backup of a Windows 2008 server, made with the built-in Windows backup, and restore it to an Amazon EC2 instance. If so, could you please outline the steps?

The machine that was backed up was running in a Citrix Xenserver VM. The backup is of c: drive and the system state.

The original hardware is no longer available - the backup is all I have access to.

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4 Answers 4

What form is your backup in, specifically - .vdh, .bkf, tape, other? Is this Windows 2008 "R1" or R2 (and is it 32 bit or 64 bit)? If it's a Citrix machine, won't it need to be on your local network anyway to get to AD, etc.? In which case why not restore to random hardware (which is likely to be much easier than trying to cloud-ify it)?

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The answer I got from MS was that restoring to different hardware (including a VM) is not supported.

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It is possible, although maybe not officially supported.

First read this for how to restore windows to a different machine. Restore windows server image backup from one server to another

Now for the tricks of getting it onsite to EC2. Likely easiest way is to restore it into a virtual machine on your site that is able to be Imported to EC2. Here's the details http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/vmimport/

The problem is it currently only supports Windows Server 2008 R2 and you said you're only at Server 2008. So the next option is to start new EC2 instance of Server 2008 and somehow use the Virtual Private Cloud feature to VPN back to your site to access the restore. Maybe an easier way would be to create a 2nd disk on the EC2 instance, copy your WindowsImageBackup directory to it over Remote Desktop, then try a restore from the EC2 machine.

If you get something to work please post a comment back on how you did it.

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Thanks Bret. I had a long talk with the MS guy. His advice was that while you might get lucky, chances are there would be stability problems and I should bite the bullet and rebuild. Which I did. –  John McC Apr 3 '11 at 0:32

Windows 2008 could be virtualized quite well.

Moreover, there are some software vendors providing backup solutions featuring restore to Amazon EC2. But you should use their backup solutions instead of Windows backup to make restore to EC2 work.

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