MSPs: Are you making use of Bare Metal Recovery?

Ben Taylor

Let’s face it; it would be a struggle to find any IT professional who truly enjoys having to recover a server in the event of an emergency. Proving the concept in a test environment may prove an enjoyable challenge to some, but the pressure of doing it for real isn’t a whole lot of fun.

Thankfully, in recent years, server recovery has got much easier – or at least they have for those who’ve started to use solutions that allow for “bare metal recovery.”

What is Bare Metal Recovery?

In case you don’t know, BMR involves restoring a complete server to new hardware. If a server is destroyed, by anything from a motherboard failure to a fire or flood, you use your existing file system and system state backup to restore the complete server environment to fresh new hardware.

The benefits of this are obvious. For a start, restoration time is exponentially quicker.

If you’ve ever restored a Windows server using “traditional” methods, you will know that installing the OS and restoring the system state and data is time consuming and (at times) more than a little nerve-wracking. Microsoft restoration guides often run to dozens of pages, and the fact that they involve processes you don’t follow very often makes the job all the more stressful.

What’s Required?

Performing BMR requires you to use a solution that takes sufficient backups of the bootable file system, system state and applications, and allows their restoration. Microsoft themselves have offered a basic bare metal recovery system since Server 2008 (Wbadmin), but it’s fair to say that there are plenty of third-party solutions that simplify the process.

Superior solutions hold your hand through the restore process, and this becomes increasingly valuable if you find yourself needing to recover a server whose configuration you are not familiar with. If a BMR were as simple as plugging old hard drives into a new box, everyone would have been doing it for years, but all IT professionals know that it’s never that straightforward.

However, good BMR solutions make it almost as easy as described: boot into a recovery environment, restore from a specific point-in-time, perform a few well-documented actions, and the server is ready to boot up and go as if nothing had changed.

If Bare Metal recovery isn’t part of your “toolkit” it’s time to start experimenting with suitable solutions – you’ll be amazed how much easier your working life will become.

The ability to perform Bare Metal Recovery of Physical Windows systems is our latest implementation of features in GFI MAX Backup, focused toward simplifying, automating and speeding system recovery following a significant data loss. BMR adds physical-to-similar physical recovery functionality to our Backup tool and compliments the existing physical-to-virtual recovery functionality made available with our Virtual Disaster Recovery (VDR) feature set.

If you would like to find out more about our new BMR feature and the other great features of GFI MAX Backup why not sign-up for a free trial!

Don't forget...all thoughts and comments are welcome! Are you making use of Bare Metal Recovery? Tell us about it below!