The idea was to have an automatic backup configuration that would allow me to restore the Geekzone server to any other host in a matter of hours, with minimum loss, if anything bad happened.
But in the process I found that the software also provides a great way to migrate physical machines to virtual machines!
To start with I installed the Acronis Backup Server and the Acronis Management Console on my home server (in Wellington) running Windows Vista. Plugged to this machine I have an 1 TB Maxtor HDD for backup of all PCs around here - and the Geekzone server.
On the Geekzone server (in Auckland) I installed Acronis True Image Windows Agent and Acronis True Image Enterprise Server engine. This allows me to use the Management Console (pictured below) from here to manage remote backups if needed.
The full backup (which only happens every couple of weeks) takes about three hours to complete, over a 10 Mbps cable connection (which I hope to increase to 25 Mbps when TelstraClear decide to come out with their already announced new product). Daily incremental backups take about
To test the restoration I created a virtual machine with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 (which I already have installed on my home server to run test and development machines) and booted it from a special restore CD containing the Acronis Universal Restore.
After booting it automatically connected through my LAN to the Backup Server, and after authentication I was able to choose from various backup sets on that space. I started the restore process, which took about two hours. Once completed I rebooted the virtual machine, logged in and installed Virtual Additions.
The server came up ok, immediately recognised the network connection and I had not changed anything - it means I can restore my production server to other hardware or even to a virtual environment with minimum downtime.
If you want to just migrate a physical machine to a virtual machine you could just use a Microsoft tool for that - but they require chages in configuration before and after, while I found out that using this method I needed nothing but the Acronis software to have this running.
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