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  1. #1

    Contigency planning

    Recently I've read about a few hosts who's servers crashed hard and their customers were w/out their sites for literally days. What would be the best contigency plan to get the server back up and running as quickly as possible and avoid such long down time?

    1) Would having a second server as a backup be the way to go?
    2) And then making daily backups to a second hard drive on the main server and then to the backup server?
    3) Would I be able to quickly transfer my cpanel license from the main server to the backup server? Or would I have to purchase 2 cpanel licenses?

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Waco, TX
    Posts
    5,292
    I think all of those are good ideas, especially when you don't have local access to your servers.

    I do not however know anything about Cpanel, but in the case one went down, and you had the backups on another, I think you could tell customers that their Cpanel will not work until serverX is restored. As a customer, I might get a lil upset, but I would be glad my files/website could still be accessed! (however if Cpanel is that transferrable, you wouldn't even have to do this)

    If you have a high speed line, doing backups on your local PC (buy another HD for this) is also not a bad idea, as either way backing up is using your bandwidth, you would probably want to choose one or the other. And after you have done the initial backup, you would want to usea program/script that only downloads modified files, to save bandwidth.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    24,009

    Re: Contigency planning

    Originally posted by xetok
    [B]Recently I've read about a few hosts who's servers crashed hard and their customers were w/out their sites for literally days. What would be the best contigency plan to get the server back up and running as quickly as possible and avoid such long down time?

    1) Would having a second server as a backup be the way to go?
    That is an option, yes.
    2) And then making daily backups to a second hard drive on the main server and then to the backup server?
    WHM will do that automatically for you. You'll then have to copy them over to the backup server etc yourself.
    3) Would I be able to quickly transfer my cpanel license from the main server to the backup server? Or would I have to purchase 2 cpanel licenses?
    You'd need 2 licenses, I think. Maybe email CPanel and ask them.
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
    Host Multiple Domains on Fast Australian Servers!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    330
    We have disaster recovery software which we use so that if a server dies we can just replace what ever is broke, stick in a floppy reboot to that and restore an image of the hard drive then it reboots and the client is back up within an hour or two.

    With clients who have mission critical servers we use two servers each with raid mirroring (SCSI and IDE) and backup software which does a backup every hour of the primary server and restores it to the secondary server. We have a network monitoring server that will detect if a service(s) is down on the primary server if it is, it will take the IP that all of the live stuff is running on and add it to the backup server and send out a grip of alerts to everybody and their mother.

    As far as cpanel licenses go with that you do not need another license for the backup server as long as its only a backup server.

    If you do go with a backup server, you may want to make sure that you have some sort of PrivateNET service so that both of your servers are on the same VLAN on the switch. That way you will not be charged for traffic in between your own servers. Or if your ISP is fairly clueless (i.e. rackshack etc) ask them to just give you your own 5 port hub or whatever you need/want.

    Regards,

    Nick Geyer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    AU
    Posts
    1,048
    We do local backups daily on our servers to a second hard disk.

    For the servers that dont have 2 HDD, we do a local backup on the same drive

    Every 3 days we make backups over to a remote server.

    Once per week we run the Plesk backup utility which causes about 15 mins downtime while it completes itself.

    Every 4th server we purchase is a backup box. We have yet to need it - so it works great for me and my admins for pr0n dumps

    If you are using dedicated boxes, buy 2 and ask if you can have unmetered bandwidth across the LAN for backups - this works out great! Simply because, if you have a 20gig backup and you copy it over to another box every day, then you are essentially paying for 600gb transfer - which is why we do it every 3 days

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    London
    Posts
    49
    After a number of "primary drive fail" incidents we do the following:

    - Daily backup to a secondary drive on the server

    - Daily staggered backup to an offsite RAID-5 SCSI storage array

    Then if a system fails, its the case of either replacing the drives on the current system, re-installing it with the main server IP, and pulling all the config/user files down from the array.

    Major expense here is the array, but well worth it.

    Offsite backup is done via 100mbit Lan extension circuit between our two premises in London and works very well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    220
    We have yet to have a drive fail but we do the following:

    - Backup all user files every 6 hours (website files, configs, logs) to a second hard drive.

    - Backup all files on the main drive (mirror) to the second drive every 24 hours.

    - Copy the 4 daily backups (6 hour) and the full system backup to a second drive on a remote server via a dedicated 100 mbps lan link to the remote server.

    During the whole process administrators are notified by email on all successes. If it fails, it notifies us through email and pages us.

    All of this is done through custom developed software by us.
    Joel Strellner

  8. #8
    Thanks for all those who replied.

    Originally posted by zerphyte

    As far as cpanel licenses go with that you do not need another license for the backup server as long as its only a backup server.
    Current server is at DV2 as will be the backup server. I just don't want to find myself in a situation where if the main server goes down, for whatever reason, that it would be out of service for more than a couple of hours. If this were to happen (more than a couple of hours) I would think it would be a good idea to be able to kick in the backup server and get the customer's sites back online. Two issues I see however are:

    1) the backup server does not come with a bandwidth allotment, so would there be a problem "transferring" my bandwidth to that box?

    2) assuming I only have a single cpanel license (it being on the main server) I wonder if I can transfer my cpanel to the backup server which will now act as the main server? And how long would it take to install cpanel on this box?

    Originally posted by zerphyte

    If you do go with a backup server, you may want to make sure that you have some sort of PrivateNET service so that both of your servers are on the same VLAN on the switch. That way you will not be charged for traffic in between your own servers.
    Hopefully this will not be a problem at DV2.

    Am I being too paranoid or perhaps looking at it all wrong?

    Thanks.

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