How To Deploy Engine On A Physical Secondary Server By Using Windows Server Backup (Wbadmin) To Clone The Primary server

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This KB article describes how to use Windows Server Backup (aka, wbadmin) in order to manually clone physical servers for completing the deployment of Engine on a pair or trio. 

Initial Prerequisites:

  • A supported version of Windows Server OS is installed on the Primary server.
  • The FileServer and IIS roles have been enabled/installed on the Primary server.
  • The Windows Server Backup feature has been enabled/installed on the Primary server.
  • The applications to be protected by Engine have been installed on the Primary server.
  • Neverfail Engine has been deployed/installed on the Primary server.
  • The operating system is not installed on the Secondary server. We will perform a Bare Metal Recovery onto the Secondary server.
  • The Windows Server installation DVD has been inserted into the DVD drive of the Secondary server.

Since Engine is already installed on the Primary server, by performing the steps below, a Secondary server will be built/deployed.

1. Login into the Engine Management Server (EMS) and select Manage\Create a stand-by server for HA. Please be aware that this first step is essential. If this first step is omitted then we will simply end up creating a copy of the Primary server instead of creating a secondary server.

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2. Select clone type to be Manual cloning.

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3. Provide the Neverfail Channel configuration and complete the wizard.

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4. We must now wait until the Primary server is reconfigured in order to be ready for cloning. This is displayed in EMS as below. Please focus on the status messages, and the appearance and position of the "Cancel" button.

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5. When the Primary server is ready to be cloned, please launch Windows Server Backup and select Local Backup then click Backup Once

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6. In the Backup Once Wizard select Different options and click Next.

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7. In the next window select Custom. Be sure Not to select “Full server” as this may result in a huge backup file. There is no need to include in the backup the data which will be replicated by Engine from Primary to Secondary once the Secondary server is up and running.

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8. Click Next and choose Select Items for Backup. Click on Add items.

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9. In Select Items please check/enable the Bare metal recovery. This is essential. When you check this option then other options will be automatically checked for you: System state, System reserved, and all critical volumes which contain operating system files.

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10. Notice that other driver (like E: in this case) was not automatically selected because this volume does not contain OS files. However there is other content on E: which might need to be included, for example if there’s a "Program Files" folder because this contains application binaries. When done selecting items, click OK.

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11. Specify a destination type where the backup file will be saved. In this example we will backup to a directory on a network share for convenience. The backup file created on the Primary server can be also saved on an external disk too.

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Note: The network share or the external disk will need to be accessible during the restore on the Secondary.

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12. After completing all the steps above, please click Backup.

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The backup will take some time…

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And will report as “Completed” when finished.

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13. Click Close.

Next steps will be performed on the Secondary server.

Remember that the Windows Server Install DVD needs to be inserted into the Secondary unit so power that machine on and boot from the DVD.

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1. Click Next and choose the Repair your computer option.

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2. Click Troubleshoot.

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3. Select System Image Recovery.

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4. Windows is going to search the Secondary server for the backup file to restore, but since the backup file is saved on a network share, click Cancel.

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5. Click Next.

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6. Click Advanced.

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7. Choose Search for a system image on the network.

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8. Confirm that you want to connect to the network by clicking Yes.

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9. WinPE is bringing up the network here. You'll need a DHCP server.

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10. When the network is up, type the network folder location for the backup file and click OK.

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11. You'll probably need to type in credentials. Click OK.

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12. Select a backup location.

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13. Click Next.

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14. Click on Advanced...

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15. Uncheck/disable the Automatically check and update disk error information option, then click OK and click Next.

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16. Click OK and click Next once more.

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17. Click Finish.

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18. Confirm that you sure you want to continue by clicking Yes.

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19. When done, the computer asks for a restart. Click Restart Now.

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20. There will be some PnP action on the pre-login screen because some new devices are discovered and installed. Once that's completed, login in Windows by using the same administrator name and password as the Primary.

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21. The Neverfail system tray is showing the server as Secondary (S) and Passive (-). 

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22. Run an ipconfig /all command and check to make sure that one Network Adapter is configured with the Secondary channel IP address and the other Network Adapter shows an 169.254. IP address. This 169.254 IP address is to be expected because the Secondary server is passive.

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23. The EMS should now show the pair up and running and replicating.

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Footnotes:

  1. In this example the system disk was the same size on secondary server as primary server. We have found that in some circumstances the system disk on the secondary needs to be larger than the system disk on the primary. If you have these problems then this thread at Microsoft Community might contain useful information http://answers.microsoft.com/enus/windows/forum/all/no-disk-that-can-be-used-for-recovering-the-system/e855ee43186d-4200-a032-23d214d3d524?page=1 
  2. OEM installations of Windows on physical hardware often contain additional partitions specific to the OEM. If your primary server has these partitions you should think carefully about whether or not to backup and restore these partitions. In addition the presence of a FAT32 formatted partition has been known to cause problems for wbadmin. This Microsoft blog article contains more information http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2011/12/07/error-message-running-wbadminto-backup-system-state-one-of-the-source-volumes-specified-has-an-invalid.aspx
  3. In this example there have been significant hardware changes between primary server and secondary server from the Windows perspective. The secondary server will need to
    activate windows. The license on the primary server must provide multiple activation or you will have to provide a new license key on the secondary server. In particular you should beware of OEM licensing for windows on the primary server.
  4. For information about possible problems accessing domain member servers during restore please see TechNet article https://technet.microsoft.com/enus/library/cc755163.aspx
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