I’ve recently started using the excellent CDP product from R1Soft to backup my 2 windows server 2003 domain controllers.
One of the cool features is the ability to perform bare metal disaster recovery.
They supply a couple of different methods for booting the bare metal server one of which is a bootable cd based on knoppix and the other is to effectively boot the same cd via pxe.
I’m going to cover pxe booting here.
In my setup I have my servers attached to the normal lan and also a sperate data backup network, if you only have network then you can still use this method but you’d want to keep TFTP32 disabled until you need to use it in the event of a disaster.
I use TFTPD32 as my TFTP and DHCP on my CDP Server.
You can download it from here
You will also need the pxe bare metal boot image from R1Soft.
My CDP server has 2 nics, 1 is connected to my normal lan so that I can access the web interface for file restores from any network pc, the 2nd nic is connected to a completely seperate gigabit network which also has my iscsi nas/san connected via fibre.
My 2 servers which backup using the cdp software also have 2 nics in the same configuration, as twinhese are also DC’s there are some caveats you need to follow regarding dns etc… for a microsoft article on this click here
Once you’ve downloaded and run the TFTP32 install we need to make some configuration changes.
Double click on the program shortcut to run the interface.
Click on the “settings” button.
In “Base Directory” click on the “Browse” button and choose a folder to store your pxe files in, I used “d:pxe”
In “Global Settings” make sure only “TFTP Server” and “DHCP Server” are checked.
In “DHCP options” check “Bind DHCP to this address” and in the drop down select the ip address of your SAN network, this step prevents it allocating DHCP addresses to machines on your normal network.
In “Advanced TFTP Options” leave the settings as they are but check “Bind TFTP to this address” and pick the same address as you did for DHCP.
Click on “OK” to exit from the settings and the quit TFTP32 completely and relaunch the program.
Now in the main window you should only see 3 tabbed windows at the bottom, Tftp Server, DHCP Server and Log viewer.
Click on the tab for DHCP Server and you will see some DHCP specific options.
Pick a starting ip pool address in your range i.e 192.168.1.100
Now set the size of your pool you don’t need many as you’ll be unlikely to be performing bare metal recovery on hundreds of servers at the same time, at least I hope you won’t
The boot file should be “pxelinux.0” <—- that’s a zero not the letter o
WINS/DNS server can be left as it is.
Mask this will be whatever you have choosen for this network and likely to be a default of 255.255.255.0 I guess.
Domain Name can be left as it is.
Additional Option can be left as it is.
Click on the “Save” button to save your changes and you may be prompted to restart TFTP32 again.
Now unzip the contents of the tftpboot folder from the pxe recovery boot media into the pxe folder you specified earlier i.e d:pxe
You should see the pxelinux.0 file that we specified as the boot file in this directory, if you don’t then you may have extracted the contents into a sub folder.
Once you’d done this your bare metal diasaster recovery environment is complete.
If you have a total failure of a server then plug your bare metal replacement server into the private data backup menu choose network boot and it will receive an ip address from TFTP32 and then proceed to boot the recovery media over the network.
You can now follow the R1Soft guides on Bare Metal Restore.