Last night my dedicated server with Hivelocity crashed. The admin told me after 6 hours of requesting support that my hard disk is down and it's showing up as 0MB. I've requested a server reload that is still to be executed.

I took a backup 5 days ago so the damage is not so severe and I will be back up in a couple of days.

But one of the applications on the server is mission critical. It has to stay up, and I can't afford to have a backup that's older than 5-6 hours.

I am considering setting up a RAID 1 mirror for my main hard disk, but that won't help if the Data center has a fault. I also don't trust the DC guys so much now (after yesterday's performance) to do quick fault-correction.

The second option I am considering is setting up a redundant server which would mirror all the data in my main server and in case something goes wrong with it, I can just shift the Domain Name to the new server.

What do you recommend?

  • Is there any automated tool to build such redundancy (entire server).

Send me your suggestions and feedback.

And also if I want the HDD to be sent to me for possible recovery, how can I get the server company to do that.



  • OS: Windows Server 2003

  • Backup needed for: MS Sql databases, Mysql databases all website files.

  • More data is really required to give an appropriate answer. What OS is the server running? What's the nature of the data your needing to back up? Is it just a bunch of files, is it a database, etc? – EEAA Oct 14 '09 at 4:56

Just a few bullet points:

a) Any production server should be using a RAID solution for quick failover. If an application is truly "mission critical" then this is a no-brainer.

b) I don't know about your hosting provider, but at the managed hosting provider where I work (one of the biggest, if not the biggest), we have lots of managed backup solutions available for our customers. You may want to discuss solutions with your host; if they have any kind of decent support, they'll have experts who can help you figure out ways to work your issues.

c) A better solution than a "redundant server" and "shifting the domain" for your site wouldbe setting up multiple web servers (at least two) behind a load balancer. Instant failover, plus the benefits of load balancing. If you're going to have redundant servers, might as well have them work for you.

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  • I would give you +3 if I could. Hell I'd give you +3 just for point a) -- RAID is an absolute must. – Josh Oct 14 '09 at 22:57

In short, there's no "magic bullet" that you can install and have it take care of this for you. Both MSSQL and MySQL have the ability to replicate databases to a remote server. This isn't all that difficult to set up for either system, and there are guides aplenty online that will show you how to do this. If the two servers are in the same datacenter, this is quite easy. If they're not, however, things get a bit more complicated and you'll need to start thinking about a VPN between sites to allow secure file transfers and db replication traffic.

Regarding the website files: if these files are just the application logic, from the server you should really just be checking out the source tree from whatever VC repository you use (svn, git, cvs, etc.) By doing this, you ensure that 1) your server is never the "master" code repository and 2) both servers will be on the same version of the files. When you update the website code, just run an svn update (or whatever the equivalent is for your VC system) on each server and they'll both be up-to-date very quickly.

About getting the hard drive back from the hosting provider. It's most likely that you'll find this very hard to do. While it's true that the data on the disk is yours, the disk itself is property of the hosting company. If they're in a good mood and if you have a good relationship with them, they may be amenable to some arrangement like this, but I wouldn't count on it. Even if you did get the disk back, you're looking at a fairly large outlay of cash if you send it to a professional data recovery house (Ontrack or the like).

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  • I've never had server people kind enough to send me the faulty hdd. But some days one of my servers with Turnkey crashed and they mount it up using Trinity Rescue it and enabled SSH. I was able to recover my data. – Cyril Gupta Oct 23 '10 at 4:29

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