Behold the Power of Drive Shapshot!

General No Comments

Warning: The first section of this post is technical and may put you to sleep. Do not read this post if you are operating heavy machinery, piloting a vehicle, procreating or solving Soduku. Skip to the end.

Not very long ago one of the servers at work developed a bad drive in the RAID-5 array. The array was made up of three drives. Anyway, one of the drives got out-of-sync and dropped out of the array. So the normal thing to do is remove the bad drive and replace it with a new one and watch the array rebuild itself. But no such luck.

The drive that was forced out of the array was actually good, but had become out of sync because of media errors on another drive. The array would not rebuild because there were uncorrectable media errors on the one of the two remaining drives.

Dell told us that we would have to backup the server, re-create the array, and restore the system. One problem, however, we didn’t have a backup. Another problem is that server ran Windows Server 2003 with Exchange and Active Directory, programs that don’ allow themselves to be backed up easily.

Not being able to afford a solution like Legato or something we turned to a little-known and inexpensive backup package called Drive Snapshot. The short version of the story is that we didn’t give up and though some stealthy manipulation we were able to backup and restore onto a striped pair which we eventually converted back to a RAID-5 array despite Dell telling us to give up. Stick that in your tech support hole!

Drive Shapshot
This software will make a real-time backup of a running system including all the partition information and those pesky programs like SQL Server and Exchange. You can even mount the backup as a virtual drive and copy files from it for restores. Seriously, for the money it is TOP NOTCH!

It comes with a 30-day full-featured trial. I’m using it to backup my notebook computer automatically each day at work. Behold, all this power (in a little tiny package)!