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  • Redundancy help

    Background info:

    I currently have only one Server (I know that isn't good, read on, we are fixing it). That server holds Active Directory Domain Services, DNS (AD Integrated), and DHCP. It also holds our the data files for the business (a Veterinary Clinic).

    It uses Raid 1 with two 150 GB drives for the C: (OS) drive, and two 500 GB drives for the D: (Data files) drive. It also has redundant power supplies, we backup every night to an external drive, and we also use online backup.

    I know that we are in need of adding a second server and now have the money to do so. The system we use for recordkeeping basically runs on the server. To explain better, there is no client software, you browse to a network share (NOT a mapped drive), select the .exe program file, and send shortcut to desktop. Unfortunately this is the most advanced vet practice software on the market so we are stuck with it.

    Question:
    I want to have as much fault tolerance as possible in this situation (given our limited budget). I have gotten two suggestions and am asking the users of this forum for clarification on what the better option may be. A local Microsoft trainer (who I trust very much) suggested setting up DFS on both machines. The software vendor (who isn't super at tech support, I don't have a lot of trust in, but they are the vendors so I better listen) said they don't recommend dfs and instead recommend doing a one way sync with a program like vice versa or syncback and setting it to sync every 30 mins or so. We currently own Syncback so that would be my preference between the two if DFS isn't recommended by this group - unless vice versa would work much better.

    My main goal is to maximize uptime and reduce the risk of data corruption. Could I get some insight on what you would do in this circumstance please?

  • #2
    Re: Redundancy help

    Since it is Server 2008 (with vastly improved DFS over 2003) and presumably the same site, I dont see any issues with using DFS.

    You will probably want to add a second DC/DNS/DHCP server (50/50 scope) to ensure name resolution and authentication continue with the main DC down.

    BUt for a small organisation, have you considered SBS? -- you get Exchange thrown in and can have an additional DC alongside your SBS box
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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    • #3
      Re: Redundancy help

      I'd start by asking the tech support with WHY they tell you not to use DFS, but then tell you to use something that, essentially, seems to do the same thing, and is not native ?
      Last edited by tehcamel; 8th May 2011, 11:41.
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      • #4
        Re: Redundancy help

        Originally posted by Ossian View Post
        Since it is Server 2008 (with vastly improved DFS over 2003) and presumably the same site, I dont see any issues with using DFS.

        You will probably want to add a second DC/DNS/DHCP server (50/50 scope) to ensure name resolution and authentication continue with the main DC down.

        BUt for a small organisation, have you considered SBS? -- you get Exchange thrown in and can have an additional DC alongside your SBS box
        Would I run SMS on both DC's so I have redundancy in exchange as well?

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        • #5
          Re: Redundancy help

          Originally posted by tehcamel View Post
          I'd start by asking the tech support with WHY they tell you not to use DFS, but then tell you to use something that, essentially, seems to do the same thing, and is not native ?
          I did. He just said that their product really doesn't support either method, but that other clinics have tried DFS and experienced corruption. I didn't ask what version of Server OS they tried. He just said he knew of a clinic that used the vice versa product with no problems. I guess as long as we are doing nightly backups, even if it corrupted we would only lose one day's work if we tried either method.

          [My soapbox: Even though these guys are the premier software company in the vet world, their product isn't up to date. I have done work for other clinics who have their software on a Windows XP share, no raid, no backup (at all - daily or online, expired anti-virus, etc). In this industry, this is quite common. So, the tech support you get for the product isn't also great.

          The clinic which I am helping is state of the art and uses digital x-ray, digital dental x-ray, digital otoscopy, etc. So they have a much higher standard both in medicine, as well as the support of their medicine by technology.

          Off soapbox!]

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          • #6
            Re: Redundancy help

            Originally posted by chakotay2 View Post
            Would I run SMS on both DC's so I have redundancy in exchange as well?
            Not without buying licenses -- one Exchange is included with SBS
            Tom Jones
            MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
            PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
            IT Trainer / Consultant
            Ossian Ltd
            Scotland

            ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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            • #7
              Re: Redundancy help

              Presumably the issue with DFS is if the replication occurs while someone is using the Exe.
              If so, DFS could be configured to run out of hours only.

              In this case, you will probably need to go with the vendors advice, but also push them to move to a more modern, robust and scalable platform like a real database
              Tom Jones
              MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
              PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
              IT Trainer / Consultant
              Ossian Ltd
              Scotland

              ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Redundancy help

                Originally posted by Ossian View Post
                Presumably the issue with DFS is if the replication occurs while someone is using the Exe.
                If so, DFS could be configured to run out of hours only.

                In this case, you will probably need to go with the vendors advice, but also push them to move to a more modern, robust and scalable platform like a real database
                Sounds good. Thanks to all for the assistance.

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