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I was assigned to maintain an accounting server (2008 r2) in a small office recently. Then I found out they only have 1 hdd on it, didn't have a backup system at all - not even a backup of the databases.

I read up about windows drive mirroring (since the server does not have a hardware controller) and thought of setting it up on the server. Is it a good idea to do that? My concern is, what if the data on one drive gets corrupted due to bad sectors? Will it mirror to the other drive? And is it possible to mirror the os partition as well, so if one drive dies, server will still boot off the mirror drive?

After that any recomendations for a second backup?

I have 0 experience with servers, so I apologise for any stupid assumptions I made.

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3 Answers 3

RAID or other forms of mirroring in the same machine are NOT a backup. What if the whole server dies and takes its disks with it? What if there is a power surge or a fire or flood?

And what if someone accidentally deletes a file or database? Those deletes get mirrored too.

Get a proper backup solution in place. If you don't have the skillset to do that properly, hire someone who does or work with a vendor to get one setup.

If people balk at the cost, remind them how much trouble they would be in if you lost all your accounting records. What would that cost the business?

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Yeah I don't have the skillset to do that - I can only manage networks so far. I think we'll outsource for now since we need it fast. But just out of curiosity, what is the norm in server backups? How do you manage when the boot disk dies? –  eds Mar 30 at 3:09
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Backups to tape, hard drives in a NAS or backup appliance, or to internet based storage. Restore with software that cones with it. I highly recommend Unitrends appliances. No affiliation, just a satisfied customer. They are easy enough to use for a novice and they offer installation services to get it up and running fast. The appliance can even run a backup as a virtual machine if the real hardware dies, so payroll keeps going while you wait for spare parts. –  Grant Mar 30 at 3:20
    
Thanks for the quick answer! I'll pitch that to the boss! –  eds Mar 30 at 3:25

Windows software mirror is not a true mirror and if your primary of the set dies you are left with a big paperweight. Granted your data is preserved, but the server will not be bootable as I have discovered. This is a poor backup solution (as is all RAID).

A cheap backup is a USB hard disk. Use some simple software like Backup Assist and back up to the external drive. And in the event of a fire or flood an external drive is very portable. (But I wouldn't risk my neck for it.)

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Disks are flimsy and not as reliable as tape, though. –  Deer Hunter Jun 24 at 4:58

In Anyway Mirroring still useful when it comes to physical hard drive error because it mirrored only the data's not the physical health of a hard drive. so, still you can recover important latest data's/files or databases being mirrored before the time primary hard drive crashes. But still you must have a full system back-up of your server. see server features for a full system backup.

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