Discussed here are implementation details for the complete plan for backup/restoration/recovery of any server in the Web Services infrastructure.

How to Choose an Appropriate Time for Backup

Backing up a Web server is similar to backing up a corporate local area network (LAN) infrastructure, with some exceptions. On the corporate LAN, network utilization drops outside of core business hours. In a high-volume hosted environment, usage probably rises in the early evening, and a Web site may continue to be popular until the early hours of the morning, especially if your customers' Web reach spans multiple time zones. For this reason, the details of backup scheduling must be determined with full knowledge of the usage patterns of the solution, customer expectations and service level agreements, and so on. It is not possible to prescribe a detailed schedule for performing backups in this document because there are so many individual factors that affect the best design.

The Backup and Restore Utility

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 includes a backup utility. The graphical user interface (GUI) calls this utility Backup; however, it can also be invoked from the command-line as:

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The new Backup utility is integrated with the core operating system services, which include Active Directory directory service and File Replication Service (FRS). Active Directory and FRS can exist only on a Windows Server 2003 domain controller, not on a member server. This integration is required for proper backup and restoration of the Active Directory.

Should alternative backup/restore utilities be employed, they must explicitly support Active Directory if they are used to backup domain controllers.

Backup also supports Remote Storage, Removable Storage, disk-to-disk operations, and other new Windows Server 2003 services and features. With Windows Server 2003, data can be backed up to a tape drive, a logical drive, a removable disk, or to various other types of industry storage solutions.

Backup lets you perform the following tasks:

  • Backup selected files and folders located on the hard disk.
  • Backup the server system state. These are the files central to system operation. These components include, but are not limited to, the registry, Active Directory and Sysvol (if the system is a domain controller), the COM+ database, and boot files.
  • Restore backed-up files and folders to the hard disk or any other disk you can access (with the exception of some system state data).
  • Schedule regular backups. This will help in the implementation of a solid and consistent backup policy.
  • Make a copy of remote storage data and any data stored on mounted drives.

Windows Server 2003 Backup offers the following wizards:

  • Backup Wizard - Helps you create a backup of your programs and files to help prevent data loss and damage caused by disk failures, power outages, virus infections, and other potentially damaging events.
  • Restore Wizard - Helps you restore your previously backed-up data in the event of a hardware failure, accidental erasure, or other data loss or damage.
It is important to understand that these features require the use of backup products that are compatible with the new capabilities built into Windows Server 2003, such as those introduced with the updated NTFS 5.0 file system. Running third-party backup products designed for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 could cause loss of data. Check with your backup vendor to ensure that all backup products are Windows Server 2003-compliant.

Who Can Perform a Backup

Members of the backup operators group can back up and restore anything, including both data and system state information.