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I have to deploy a Windows 2008 Domain and all I have is two old (5 years) Hp 380.

Of course I know that the best in reliability would be to buy new hardware and I've told the customer that nothing good should be expected trusting old hardware in such a crucial service.

Done that I have to proceed anyway...

My question is: what could I do to make my installation the most fault tolerant (and of easy recovery - disaster recovery) possible?

Of course mirror raid will be done.

Is it wise to use vmware esxi? In which way?

Is it better to use normal windows backup? And restore it on the second server when the 1st one will die?

The servers I have are identical, hardware speaking.

No budget is available at all so I should solve the problem with the hardware I have and Windows 2008 R2 Standard.

I can, of course, use free software like vmware esxi.

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Is it wise to use vmware esxi? In which way?

Chance is that 5 year old hardware has no hardware virtualization.

The best you can do is simply setting up 2 servers. You only talk of active directory so far. AD is quite resdundant in itself.

Then use an external disc to backup.

Make a written statement about the risks, then say thanks and job finished.

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What do you mean by setting up 2 servers? I explain better: how should I set those servers to be one the exact copy of the other and allow me to recover fast the day one of the two will die? How should I backup to external disk? Windows Backup? Something else? Server should be both always on? –  Pitto Jun 11 '12 at 13:41
    
2 machines - windows backup. setting it up is complex, depends WHAT they do, many things are not easy to mirror. And yes, always on - how else would you try real time mirroring? ;) –  TomTom Jun 11 '12 at 14:32
    
The answer is for me unclear. I just need to know details about how to get easily two identical Windows 2008 Server (active directory, dns server, dhcp server) in case that one of two hardware server fails. I have a single Windows 2008 R2 Server license. –  Pitto Jun 11 '12 at 16:22
    
You do not. - active active with one license is illegal. Otherwise pull regular backups and be happy with that. If things fail, restore - either pay now, or pay in waiting, it is a business decision. Have 2 identical computers, make abackup to an external disc like - as often as you think makes sense. –  TomTom Jun 11 '12 at 16:53
    
to restore everything I have setup on the 1st server (dhcp, dns, active directory, group policies) can I simply rely on Windows Backup? I just need to check everything (system state and so on)? Thanks. –  Pitto Jun 15 '12 at 20:56
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