Image of an OLD Server

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by ralph123, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. ralph123

    ralph123 Member

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    We have adopted a new network and all its servers.

    Now there are a few servers that currently have services running off them, ie websites and in house applications, DNS, DHCP etc.

    Now no one from the other company has touched these servers, and no one really knows how they are used etc...

    These Servers are really old, two of them have TURBO buttons on them, which shows the vintage..

    Currently we are doing other major projects to really focus time on them.

    However it is a big operational risk for us to not doo anything in case they fall over etc.

    What is the best way to image these servers? I thought of doing just an image of the PC using a bootdisk, however there are 2 concerns.

    1. if we turn it off, it wont come back..

    2. if we image the PC, using a boot disk and another HD the hard drive may fail from the constant thrashing of the imaging process.


    Are these concerns valid? Can someone suggest a way we can get an image without impacting the servers? Any other options?

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. HyRax1

    HyRax1 ¡Viva la Resolutión!

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    What are these, Windows boxes? Linux boxes?

    Believe me, I've worked with some pretty old clunkers myself, and if they haven't already failed, they're not going to fail on a reset or a power off/on or with imaging either. The drives are already spinning 24/7, so a moving magnetic head isn't going to somehow wreck them.

    One thing I would probably recommend is not to move the machines until you've imaged them in case the drive heads don't park properly.

    I would probably utilise the lowest-level of imaging - get a Linux boot CD/stick/floppy and use dd to image them to external media of some sort. If these systems have USB ports, even if they are 1.1, then do it to an external drive. If they don't have any USB ports, then see if you can image off to a network share or something (I hope these machines aren't on coax networking or something!!).

    If you're not interested in the OS itself and only want the data, then a faster method will be to rsync the lot to an external medium.
     
  3. fR33z3

    fR33z3 Member

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    Sorry, I'm going to disagree with you on this. The drives have been in a known good state while spinning. Changing this state will increase the likelihood of failure. Its nots going to be a failure as you describe though - it won't be the seek arm breaking and writing scratches all over your disk. It'll be subtle mechanical issues or electrical issues that only become and in issue from the stress of a powerdown/powerup sequence or similar. Its also not limited to disks - powersupplies are probably the next most likely.

    If its a raided system, is it possible add another mirror disk to the set? This could be an easy transparent backup to guard against disk failure. You could then take an image of this disk, or P2V it etc etc.
     
  4. driver

    driver Member

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    That sounds some what scary in itself. Having to reconfigure the monster is one thing - but not knowing what the box is doing at all??? :confused: Gotta love inheriting IT systems though :p

    Can't you logon and see what services are running on the box (and/or open files)??? Surely from that you'd be able to sus out some idea of what it's doing and it's network config. At least then you'll know what you'll be breaking.

    Or you could also run a packet sniffer on it's LAN link for a hint of what's going on too perhaps.

    EDIT: Maybe make sure it's not an already de-commissioned server too? :D I guess it probably sounds stupid - but granted no one knows - who knows?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  5. RoNiNSan

    RoNiNSan Member

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    Install shadow protect and pull a live image, no need to reboot it or use any boot disks. Im pretty sure they have a 30 day trial.
     
  6. chunksoul

    chunksoul Member

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    can you at least plug a monitor in and see what they are running

    knowing what os will give you more options.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    ralph123

    ralph123 Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    They are running Windows NT, and windows 2000 server.

    They are running old school versions of Apache etc, so they are webservers, and also a Domain Controller. we know what are the major services that are currently being in use, so the plan is to image those units.

    One has raid, and one of the HD's have already failed!!! :( so most likely the other one is on its death bed.

    They do have Ethernet based network cards which is good :)

    The services can be moved, but it will take time to migrate, essentially we are in the middle of a virtualisation project, and wan upgrade project. So the IT staff (ie 3 of us) already have a full plate.

    So to mitigate the risk by making a full image of the device, and putting it on a newer PC, so that if it goes down then all we have to do is power on the new unit to restore services.

    i'll have a look at shadow protect, as keeping the box up while making an image is an attractive option
     
  8. PsyKo-Billy

    PsyKo-Billy Member

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    What is your virtualisation platform? Try it's P2V first. most of them can do an online P2V these days.
     
  9. gbh

    gbh Member

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    P2V them, put the images on a decent machine, peg the old boxes, move on
     
  10. kingborel

    kingborel Member

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    So you want to get the data off them, but don't want to stress the HDDs in case they fail? Sounds like a lose-lose situation. Just image them and be done with it. If they're so close to failing that heavy loads might cause the disks to fail then I'd be getting data off them any way i can ASAP
     
  11. NIP007

    NIP007 Member

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    Gonna have to go with the P2V option here... easiest and most likely safest way. You should be able to do a hot P2V during after hours downtime. Have the new P2V'd VMs running for a while with the physical boxes kept there as backup until you're happy the VMs are gonna play nice. As a short term plan of action anyways. Depending on how critical these servers are (one of them is a DC!), you might want to look at rebuilding the DC on a newer physical box.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    ralph123

    ralph123 Member

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    i'll investigate the p2v option thanks :)
     
  13. marcorony

    marcorony Member

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    Windows 2000 Server allows you to create a System State backup (found in accesories --> system tools --> backup IIRC) which allows you to backup the DNS, DHCP, Active Directory etc etc. This can be saved to a usb drive (bkf file) and then restored after a fresh install of the OS using the same utility. This will save you the lengthy (and unkown in this case) server setup. Now this will not save any networked data or user profile information, you will need to consolidate any folders that are required and save them across to a removable device.

    The above is only intended as a fallback option should your system not come online again. I still recommend using dd or ghost or any other type of copy/cloning utility for a concise disk image. Its been a while since I have done this and so I would want to hear if others in this forum agree or not.... /hand to ear

    One thing I will recommend though is to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. If something does go wrong it is much easier to go back on logs and retrace steps. I worked in the defence industry where documenting every step is a religion and it has definitely helped when trying to fault find.
     
  14. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    If a power outage is all it takes to kill them, I pray that they aren't in the Sydney CBD. :)

    On topic, I'd be P2Ving these guys ASAP. Live CD + dd over SSH. I've written examples of how to do this a couple of times before in similarly themed threads.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  15. oli

    oli Member

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    The servers might not have USB2!

    :lol:
     
  16. NIP007

    NIP007 Member

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    How about 3.5" floppy?..... "We don't have 3.5" floppies lying around!" :lol:
     
  17. Phool

    Phool Member

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    VMware server under centos 5.2 allowed us to virtualise a p3 server running SBS 2003 easily and reliably.

    +1 for vmware server and vmware converter
     
  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    You didn't like any of the various free virtualisation systems supplied with CentOS 5.2?
     
  19. Phool

    Phool Member

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    The IT thing is not core for me and I have only so much time to try stuff. I went the perceived path of least resistance to get the outcome I needed with as little "hardware not supported" dramas. Id tried Xen ages ago and got into issues with disks (my lack of knowledge). I need a gui and low complexity. if i had time id pursue some of your suggestions from many other threads.

    way down my i want to try this list if i have time are proxmox and ovirt for fun. ultimate nirvahna for my tiny small business would be dual servers with failover and an openfiler sas array with bonded nics and replication to an offsite location automatically. We would only need to run 2-4 virtual machines (15 users max). I want complete hardware independence and failure tolerance.
     
  20. AusKWiKsAnD

    AusKWiKsAnD Member

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    Vmware Server is "free"???
     

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