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  1. #1
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    NT backup and Windows Server 2008 R2

    I work in a dental office. We're running Windows Server 2003, SP2 on our file/database server. Our practice management software is a Sybase-based database. The practice management software is due for a major upgrade soon. In addition, I'm looking at the possibility of upgrading our file server to Windows Server 2008 Enterprise R2. Due to very painful experience, I'm loathe to upgrade our production server, without knowing in advance how it's going to go.

    So, my idea was to load a trial copy of Server 2008 R2 on an empty partition on my system. I was going to get it up and running, and then install the current version of our practice management software on it, and copy over the most recent backup of our database files to the "new" server. Assuming I got that up and running, I was then going to upgrade to the new version of our practice management software, so I could get an idea of how long the upgrade is going to take (it's a major upgrade, and it's possible it could take several hours to upgrade our database file to the new version.)

    I got Server 2008 R2 up and running on the "experimental" server. Installed the current version of our software on the experimental server. Then, copied the backup files over to the new server from our external backup drive. Ran into some problems with multiple versions of the same file during the copy process, and evidently didn't select the correct file(s) in the resulting file copy conflict dialogue, creating file version problems when trying to start our database.

    We do two backups to external hard drives each day, one we do manually (via a batch file) using Robocopy, which we take offsite overnight, and the other is a scheduled backup to an external hard drive that stays in the office. That backup is done using the native backup app (NT Backup?) in Server 2003. So, I thought I'd hook the external drive that stays in the office to the new server, and restore the data folder from that drive to the new system using the Server Backup program in Server 2008. Imagine my chagrin when I found out the Server 2008 backup app doesn't recognize backups done with NT Backup, or whatever it's called in Server 2003.

    Will NT Backup run under Server 2008 if I manage to copy the .exe file for it over from the Server 2003 system?

    The reason I've thrown Server 2008 into the mix, is because the new version of our database recommends/requires 2GB of ram, minimum. That's what we've got installed on our server now, which also functions as our terminal server. I'm figuring we'll need to up the ram on the production server. The memory has to be installed in matching pairs. If I recall correctly, Server 2003 is 32-bit, and if that's correct, it won't address more than about 3GB of ram, will it? Since Server 2008 R2 is 64-bit by default, I figured I'd upgrade the server to 2008 to address the additional ram above 3GB.

    Any suggestions about routes to follow will be greatly appreciated. If you find flaws (likely there, and likely multiple flaws) in my logic, please let me know!

    I would really like to be able to do a practice run of this whole upgrade exercise, before I take any chances messing up our production server. I'd like to keep what hair I've still got.
    -=> Carroll McAllister <=-

    Coming to you "almost live" from Searcy, Arkansas

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  3. #3
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    Windows Server 2003 will address 4GB of RAM, Enterprise Edition will address 8. The OS will use up to 1GB, 2 for the new DB, leaving 1GB for TS.
    I would not upgrade Windows, 2003 will do all you require at less cost and hassle.

    cheers, Paul

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    Thanks. I will check this out at the office. In the meantime, I was finally able to set up Server 2008 R2, install the current version of our dental app, restore the data files from the most recent backup, and then install the new version of our software, which then upgrades the database. It appears that it took about 3 hours to upgrade the database. I haven't had the chance yet to check for any issues that our software vendor says may materialize after an upgrade. But, I was at least able to get the basic system up and running.

    Even if we stay with Server 2003, I'm not ready to upgrade our production server, as our vendor has released an updated version of the software, which we have yet to receive. This recent upgrade has evidently not been without problems. We finally received our copy of the new version, but it was the original shipping version. Our local vendor rep advised against installing this upgrade. She was surprised we'd received that version, as the home office wasn't supposed to be sending out the original release any more. So, it appears they've got some kinks to work out.

    In any event, I was able to confirm that I could at least get things up and running, should we make the transition to Server 2008.
    -=> Carroll McAllister <=-

    Coming to you "almost live" from Searcy, Arkansas

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Windows Server 2003 will address 4GB of RAM, Enterprise Edition will address 8. The OS will use up to 1GB, 2 for the new DB, leaving 1GB for TS.
    I would not upgrade Windows, 2003 will do all you require at less cost and hassle.

    cheers, Paul
    Thanks. We've got 2GB on the server now. Two 1GB sticks. It will accept up to 12GB of ram in six slots, 2GB per slot, two sticks at a time (have to install in pairs.)

    One of the reasons I was considering upgrading to Server 2008, is I was concerned about End of Life issues regarding support. I'll have to check and see when Server 2003 Standard Edition reaches End of Life.

    As for the expense, we've already got a license to use Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. I just have held off on making that jump, since as you point out Server 2003 is doing everything we need. I'm not even running Active Directory, as I don't see the need for our little up to 10 user network. Granted, I could use the experience with Active Directory, but it would be kind of like killing a gnat with a sledge hammer. Sure, it would work, but do we really need it? At this point, I'd say no.
    -=> Carroll McAllister <=-

    Coming to you "almost live" from Searcy, Arkansas

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    Quote Originally Posted by carroll.ray View Post
    Thanks. We've got 2GB on the server now. Two 1GB sticks. It will accept up to 12GB of ram in six slots, 2GB per slot, two sticks at a time (have to install in pairs.)

    One of the reasons I was considering upgrading to Server 2008, is I was concerned about End of Life issues regarding support. I'll have to check and see when Server 2003 Standard Edition reaches End of Life.

    As for the expense, we've already got a license to use Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. I just have held off on making that jump, since as you point out Server 2003 is doing everything we need. I'm not even running Active Directory, as I don't see the need for our little up to 10 user network. Granted, I could use the experience with Active Directory, but it would be kind of like killing a gnat with a sledge hammer. Sure, it would work, but do we really need it? At this point, I'd say no.

    I just checked, and based on what I read here: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=3198, we've already hit End of Mainstream Support on Server 2003. Extended support ends in July, 2015. If I recall correctly, Extended support means security issues are still fixed. But, there will be no more service packs issued for Server 2003.
    -=> Carroll McAllister <=-

    Coming to you "almost live" from Searcy, Arkansas

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    Since 2003 is stable, security patches are all you need.

    Having 2 servers should make the transition easier. It also allows you to split the load with files on one server and the app on the other.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Since 2003 is stable, security patches are all you need.

    Having 2 servers should make the transition easier. It also allows you to split the load with files on one server and the app on the other.

    cheers, Paul
    Well, we're still using just the one server. I've got a trial version of Server 2008 R2 running on my office desktop in a dual-boot situation. So, when I want to check things out in Server 2008, I can just reboot into that OS. When we do the official upgrade, we'll be running the one server.
    -=> Carroll McAllister <=-

    Coming to you "almost live" from Searcy, Arkansas

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