Domain controllers are especially important and Microsoft recommends providing multiple layers of protection for them. For starters, Microsoft suggests assigning an additional domain controller to each domain controller to act as a replication partner. This lets you quickly reinstall a domain controller from the boot menu using the replication partner. Similarly, the primary partition with the registry and operating system information should be mirrored, again to speed up recovery in case of a problem. Back up each domain controller weekly and move a backup to offsite storage monthly. If the domain controller is also the primary Global Catalog Server, it should be backed up daily and a copy taken off site each week.
Application Servers should all be mirrored to disks separate from the data and application drives. Again, this can considerably speed up recovery. Microsoft recommends using RAID 5 arrays for file and print servers to increase fault tolerance. In addition, the company recommends a nightly backup of file and print servers to preserve the rapidly changing data, with a copy of the backup taken off site weekly.
The WINS/DHCP/DNS server should also be replicated to another WINS/DNS server or to a separate network node. Microsoft recommends backing these servers up monthly and storing the backup offsite.
In an application development environment, the Windows 2000 Professional Servers, should be protected and backed up in the same way file and print servers are.
The last step in any upgrade of the operating system, applications upgrades or security changes should be to make a backup of the system drive. This ensures you have a current copy of the critical information which has changed.
As a general precaution, Microsoft recommends testing your backup and restore procedure regularly by restoring data to a non-functional directory and checking to make sure the data isn't corrupted. The company discusses these and other Windows 2000 storage management considerations in a the Windows 2000 storage management operations guide at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000se rv/maintain/opsguide/stormgog.asp
For more information:Tip: Booting Windows from the SAN
White Paper: Expanding basic disk volumes in Microsoft Windows 2000 environments
Expert advice: Backing up with Windows
10 tips in 10 minutes: Disaster Recovery
Tip 1: Automated System Recovery remedies corrupted registry
Tip 2: Ultimate boot CD packs in recovery, repair utilities
Tip 3: Disk imaging for disaster recovery
Tip 4: Recovery programs fix OS mistakes
Tip 5: WinXP and Windows Server 2003 volume shadow copy service
Tip 6: Restore and recover with Windows 2000
Tip 7: Disaster recovery for SBS
Tip 8: Best Practices: Desktop disaster recovery
Tip 9: Bare metal restore via Automated System Recovery
Tip 10: What to do when your hard drive fails
About the author: Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.
This was first published in January 2004