Had a client recently who had a smaller office network (they have up to 6 concurrent users) with a server to process orders from their website using a software called StoneEdge. This software is SQL-based database with a Microsoft Access front-end. It was time to upgrade their server to new hardware and cost was definitely an issue based on their size and order volume. In this case we chose to use a Synology device to act as the virtual machine host and create a new virtual server on the host. Here are some details:
4x Seagate 4TB IronWolf Pro 7200 rpm SATA III 3.5″ Internal NAS HDD
Picked the Synology based on the expandability of RAM to 32 GB, the capability to use cache drives, and storage growth over time. It also has a 4-core 2.2 Ghz Ryzen processor which was plenty based on their old servers CPU usage.
Basics of Setup
Installed Synology OS
Setup HDDs in Synology SHR2 RAID
Added M.2 drives as cache
Installed the Virtual Machine Manager app
Created a VM with the max CPU available and max Memory available
Uploaded the ISO for the server OS
Installed the server OS
Setup the StoneEdge application
This build did not increase performance dramatically, but it did allow them to spend about half the cost of a full server to accomplish the same purpose. It also reduced costs by using the Synology for backup of the server locally and into S3 storage in the cloud for redundancy.
If your company is looking to move their servers to a virtual environment or into the cloud, then contact usto start the process
Here are some lessons learned from a recent recovery of a server with the following error:
Lesson #1 – Blinking Hard Drives
So when I got to the customer site the Dell server had blinking hard drive lights on two of the drives. Based on the support article about it the lights meant -“Identifying drive or preparing for removal.” and digging into the RAID controller I found the worst possible scenario for a RAID-5 array – two dead hard drives. I removed the two dead drives, cleared the configuration on the RAID controller, built a new RAID-5 array out of the remaining drives (4 out of 6), and did a fast initialize.
Lesson #2 – Drive letters on Windows Server Backup
Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but when Windows Server Backup is setup to use an external drive it likes to hide the drive by not assigning it a drive letter. This caused a few issues with the restore done from Windows Server 2012 R2 USB boot media as it couldn’t find the drive. I had to connect the external drive to my laptop then give it a drive letter. Plugged it back into the server and rebooted.
Lesson #3 – Patience is a virtue in Scanning for System Image Disks
Following the basic instructions for doing a Windows Server Backup 2012 Restore via Windows Server 2012 R2 USB boot media it came to the point where it does the scanning for System Image Disks. Turns out this can take hours depending on the speed of the drive plus the size and quantity of restores you have on the external drive. Just wait for the process to complete.
Lesson #4 – UEFI or Legacy BIOS matters
So you waited all that time for the Scanning for System Image Disks to complete and now that precious moment arrives when you realize that the Windows Server 2012 R2 USB boot media that you created was UEFI instead of legacy BIOS and the restore fails telling you so. Make sure that when you create the Windows Server 2012 R2 USB boot media that you change the settings to match the system that you are trying to restore.
Hope that these lessons help a few other Windows Server admins, who are trying to do a Windows Server Backup 2012 Restore, save some time and frustration. If you are looking for a better way to do backup and restore then contact us for details.