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Preparing for Recovery

You should prepare for recovery while your site is healthy, preferably as soon as your hierarchy is set up and configured. First, you plan your site hierarchy, incorporating recovery-related deployment requirements. Then, you install and configure your site. As data starts to flow in the site and between sites, you need to prepare each site in your hierarchy for recovery.

The main recovery preparation step consists of backing up your site, and then archiving the backup snapshot. This is described later in this chapter.

On This Page

Designating Reference Sites
Documenting Design Information, Configuration Data and Accounts Passwords
Setting Up a Recovery Expert Web Site and Running the Recovery Expert
Preparing Recovery Steps
Backing Up the Central Site's Control File
Preparing a Test Lab for Recovery Tests

Designating Reference Sites

The SMS Site Repair Wizard uses reference sites to reclaim lost objects and determine appropriate serial numbers during the repair phase of a recovery operation. Any primary site that is lower in the hierarchy than a failed site can be a reference site. A reference site should exist at each tier of the hierarchy.

You can designate sites at the lowest tier of the hierarchy as reference sites. Do not use these sites for actual management. Use them only as a repository for replicated data from higher level sites.

For more information about designating reference sites, and about the SMS Site Repair Wizard, see the "SMS Site Repair Wizard" section later in this chapter.

Documenting Design Information, Configuration Data and Accounts Passwords

To correctly recover a site system, you must have all server configuration data available. You must configure the site system server exactly the way it was configured when it failed. If you do not, site recovery can fail. In this situation, it might be difficult for you to know why the recovery did not work.

To successfully recover a site, account passwords are required. For security reasons, in SMS 2003, accounts such as Client Push Installation Account, Site Address, site system connection accounts, and network access account are encrypted. As a result, when a site fails, these accounts are lost and cannot be retrieved during a recovery. During a site recovery, you will be prompted to re-enter these account passwords.

Because it might be impossible to obtain data from a failed system, it is important that you gather and document the necessary data while the system is healthy.

Document and store:

  • The hierarchy design. Include parent-child relationships, primary and secondary site locations, and information about the SMS site database server.

  • Site configuration data from each SMS site server in your hierarchy. Include information such as feature settings, site systems, and component settings.

  • List of designated reference sites.

  • Passwords for the Client Push Installation Account, Site Address Accounts, Package Access Accounts, Site System Connection Account, and Advanced Client Network Access Account.

Ensuring that this data is always available and current helps you in case a backup snapshot is not available, or in the event that there is no staff familiar with the hierarchy deployment.

Setting Up a Recovery Expert Web Site and Running the Recovery Expert

To run the Recovery Expert tool, you must first set up a Recovery Expert Web site on a computer running Internet Information Services (IIS) version 5.0 or later. If you allocate a server running an operating system in the Microsoft Windows Server(tm) 2003 family, then you must set the Active Server Pages Web Service Extension to Allow.

To change the status of Active Server Pages to Allow

  1. From the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Internet Information Services.

  2. In the left pane of the Internet Information Services console, click Web Service Extensions.

  3. In the right pane, click Web Service Extension - Active Server Pages, and then click Allow. This changes the status of Active Server Pages to Allow.

To set up the Recovery Expert Web site from the SMS CD

  1. Insert the SMS 2003 product CD into the designated IIS server that will host the Recovery Expert Web site tool.

  2. From the CD, run Autorun.exe.

  3. In the Systems Management Server 2003 Setup dialog box, select Recovery Expert.

  4. Finish the Microsoft SMS Recovery Expert Web Site Installation Wizard.

  5. Note the URL displayed on the last page of the wizard so that you can refer to it later. Inform other SMS administrators about this URL so they can use it to access the Recovery Expert Web site, and to run the Recovery Expert tool.

Important

  • If you use the Microsoft IIS Lockdown tool (Iislockd.exe) to increase security protection on a computer running IIS, apply it to the computer (using the SMS 2003-specific template) before setting up a Recovery Expert Web site on that computer.

For information about the role of the Recovery Expert in a site recovery operation, see the "Recovering a Site" section later in this chapter.

Security settings

The Recovery Expert requires that Internet Explorer be configured with medium security. In the Internet Options dialog box, on the Security tab, set security in either of the following methods:

  • Set Local intranet security to medium.

  • Set Local intranet security to high, add the Recovery Expert Web Site to the Trusted sites zone, and set the security of Trusted sites zone to medium.

When upgrading a server from Microsoft Windows® 2000 Server to a server in the Windows Server 2003 family, the upgraded server's default security permissions are more restrictive. These security settings will prevent the Recovery Expert from running on that server. After the upgrade, you must manually reconfigure the permissions. This applies whether the Recovery Expert was installed before or after the upgrade.

To reconfigure security settings on a server upgraded to a server in the Windows Server 2003 family:

  1. In Windows Explorer, select the following file: C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\SMSComponent\FormatMessageCtl.dll.

  2. Right-click the file and select Properties.

  3. In the <file> Properties dialog box, click the Security tab.

  4. In the Group or user names list, select Internet Guest Account.

  5. In the Permissions for list, ensure that Allow is selected for the Read & Execute permission.

To run the Recovery Expert

  1. In Internet Explorer version 5.5 or later, use the Recovery Expert Web site URL to access the Recovery Expert Entry Page.

  2. Read the introductory content.

  3. Select Use The Recovery Expert to start the Recovery Expert.

Preparing Recovery Steps

It is recommended that you generate the Recovery Expert recovery tasks list for the site ahead of time. If you prepare those recovery tasks while the site is healthy, there is no need to run the Recovery Expert later if the site fails and a recovery operation is required. You can generate the site's recovery tasks list in advance by running the Recovery Expert while the site is healthy. Print the site's recovery tasks list and store it in an accessible location.

Although it is always recommended that you generate the recovery tasks list in advance, it is not always effective. It is recommended that you run the Recovery Expert and generate the site's recovery tasks list in advance in the following circumstances:

  • When a site is configured according to generic organization standards, and these configurations are not likely to change.

  • When the current administrator of the site is not the administrator that designed the site. It makes sense for the designing administrator to prepare recovery answers in advance.

  • When the administrator that administers a recovery process is likely to be an unskilled SMS administrator. In this case, the prepared recovery steps must be continually updated with any changes to the site.

Backing Up the Central Site's Control File

There can be many configuration changes on the central site, which will be hard or impossible to repeat if there is a need to recover the central site. Even if you are backing up the central site, it is important to frequently back up the central site's control file in between the regular site backups.

For more information about backing up the central site's control file, see the "Backing Up the Central Site" section later in this chapter.

Preparing a Test Lab for Recovery Tests

The best way to be fully prepared for a site recovery operation is to ensure that the site's recovery plan is adequate, and that administrators are familiar with the recovery process. After you develop a recovery plan for your site, it is recommended that you perform periodic recovery tests.

You can perform recovery tests in the test lab that was used for the hierarchy initial deployment tests. A test lab is ideal for recovery tests because it represents the production environment, and it contains collections, packages, and advertisements similar to the ones at the production environment.

By performing recovery tests at the test lab, you can identify problems with your recovery plan and refine it to ensure that it is possible to successfully recover as many objects as possible in case a site fails. However, if your organization does not maintain a test lab, or if you cannot access a remote test lab, you might consider setting up a local test lab for recovery tests.

Prepare the test lab for recovery tests as follows:

  • In the test lab, use backup and archive procedures that are similar to the procedures used in the production environment. Ensure that the SMSbkup.ctl files at the test lab and in the production environment are similar. Ensure that if the AfterBackup.bat file is used in the production environment, then a similar file is used in the test lab.

  • Designate reference sites in the test lab so they are similar to the designated reference sites in the production environment.

  • Set up a Recovery Expert Web site to be used for the recovery tests, unless it is possible to use the Recovery Expert Web site that is set up in the production environment.

  • Configure site security in the test lab so it is similar to the security configuration in the production environment

For more information about setting up a test lab, see Chapter 7, "The Pre-Planning Phase," in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Concepts, Planning, and Deployment Guide.

For More Information

Did you find this information useful? Please send your suggestions and comments about the documentation to smsdocs@microsoft.com.

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