Backing up a ShoreTel Server

For those of you who’ve followed this blog for some time, I used to have  a link to a script from Curt Corwin’s blog here. He seems to have removed the script. Likely because it doesn’t work, or some other reason. I’ve meant to update this post forever to remedy this and give some alternate methods of backing  up the server and just haven’t gotten around to it.

Backup Options for ShoreTel

ShoreTel is fairly forgiving for the most part in  restoring data. You just need to keep a few basic things in mind when you plan your backup strategy.

  • The OS on the new server needs to be exactly the same as the OS that was installed on the crashed server. I have, in the past ignored this. Not recommended though.
  • The ShoreTel version needs to be exactly the same (your partner can usually get old versions for you if you aren’t super up to date)
  • IP Address and Host Name need to be the same on the new server as they were on the old. This is extremely important.
  • Join it to the domain, and all that as directed by your partner. You can usually do this when you set the server up, but sometimes they’ll want you to wait

The easiest method to manually back up your ShoreTel Data is to go into the Quick Look, click on your Main Server on the right and get into the services. Click the Create Snapshot button, click yes when asked. Wait several minutes, then stop all the services and then copy your “Shoreline Data” folder off to an external destination. This folder is usually in your “C:’ drive but results may vary depending on version and how your Server was set up. Then just start your services back. You may need to repeat this for every server in your organization if you have multiples.

I’ve done this myself several times. It works. It isn’t perfect and can take forever. That’s essentially what every script I’ve ever seen posted do, and the sample scripts that ShoreTel used to include with the Server installation did.

Automated Backup Options

ShoreTel has a backup method posted on their site here: https://support.shoretel.com/kb/view.php?id=kA1C0000000L39DKAS

This method uses some scripts included with the ShoreTel software. They are configured to run at certain times of day and basically do what I describe above in the manual section. I have read in several places that this method doesn’t work terribly well for everyone. This is probably due to some configuring the scripts incorrectly. The article has been updated as of December 2015 so it’s possible that something small changes every few versions and the configuration needs to be tweaked.

Another method is automatic and I haven’t really seen any problem with it. Though I suspect in a 24/7 operation it might cause some issues. That’s good old Windows Server Backup. If you’re running Windows Server 2008 R2 or higher you can easily configure it to do a full server back up once per day to a network share. I would not have it do just the Shoreline data folder though. Since ShoreTel takes automatic snapshots every day at roughly 5am. You’ll  mostly just lose a day or so work if you do a full server backup every night. You could always just take a manual database snapshot after you’re done with a lot of changes though. The disadvantage here is that it will take up several more gigabytes of data. The advantage is you should be able to just restore the entire server from scratch with this method.

If you are running on a virtualized environment you’ve got a lot more options. VMWare has few full server backup options. There are also third-party options like Veaam that are very fast and can do multiple backups and replication to other hosts if things go wrong.

Restoring ShoreTel

There are two options to restoring ShoreTel after a crash. Both of them really should involve your ShoreTel partner, if not TAC. They aren’t hard, don’t typically take too long, but having been on both sides of this multiple times, it’s good to have them around. This is also for versions of ShoreTel you have on premises, hosted and cloud versions this, obviously won’t work for. Very new versions also might work differently.

If you have a full bare metal backup of your server, typically you can just restore that to a new box and it should work without much issue. You’ll probably have to fiddle with your AD integration. In theory. I’ve never done it this way. I can’t see why it would be a problem though. I have plugged in old servers where we’d built a new one for a client, that new box crashed and we hooked their old one in for a short time until we fixed it and they hardly even knew it happened. The only issue was the phones had to be rebooted and the switches had to be added again.

The other process is you build a new box with EXACTLY the same OS as you had before. Follow ShoreTel’s documentation for what roles/features it needs installed or get your partner to do that. I’ve seen some scripts floating around online for Server 2008 and 2012 that will do 90% of this for you. Then you copy the ShoreLine Data folder from your backup to the server and install the same version of ShoreTel you had before to the server.

 

 

7 Replies to “Backing up a ShoreTel Server”

  1. I concur with the comment about “ShoreTel’s backup not being terribly good” – if you compare the directory size and structure of the ShoreLine Data directory between the original and the backup, I usually find that the backup as much as a gig smaller. And it won’t restore. I’ve had some luck using Duplicati to copy the ShoreLine Data directory to another location on the C: drive while the server is running – seems to do a pretty effective job. I’ve been taking that copy and backing it up to storage media someplace else.

    1. Does Duplicati work while Shoretel services are running? The biggest hangup I’ve seen is that if you copy those folders while the services are running the restore won’t work always work, or it screws up. Something that does a “shadow copy” seems to work pretty well though. I haven’t tested a lot of third party products on servers though.

      Yeah, on more than one occasion I’ve had the provided scripts fail, not shut down all the services and stuff like that. I did want to point out that the Windows Server full metal backup does work beautifully and can be run during production hours, unlike the ShoreTel approved methods and the restore takes about ten minutes if you have to. The only thing that messes up is joining it back to the domain and reconnecting ShoreTel to active directory but it’s not that difficult to figure out.

  2. T’be honest, I’m not sure about Duplicati. I started trying it out just a few weeks ago, and haven’t really put an actual restore to the test. I still prefer to kill all the services and make a direct backup. However, Duplicati DOES at least make a complete backup of all the files, skipping only a few log files. Not sure how important the log files are to a restore. I’ll have to actually DO a restore to find out.

    Windows Server Backup is pretty amazing. I mean, for a free product, from Microsoft no less, it pretty well nails it. No idea who wrote it for them in the first place – I”m thinking it started out life as some subset of BackupExec?

    I’m also playing with the free Endpoint version of VEEAM. I have great hopes for it.

    1. Yeah, BackupExec seems right. Seems to me a lot of those tools like Server Backup, Defrag, and Disk Cleanup started their existence as a third part product MS contracted out, sort of half rebranded and packaged with Windows 95 or 98. I’m guessing they either hired the developers on or shelled out a lot of money for the source code since those companies aren’t under the Microsoft umbrella now.

      Veaam is pretty great. I haven’t tried it on ShoreTel yet, don’t have a virtualized version to play with anywhere yet. I imagine it works great though. The full version of VEAAM backup and replication is not horribly expensive either and well worth it if you don’t have VMWare Center.

  3. And of course, there’s the one I’ve hit several times – the automatic ShoreTel backup runs, disables all the services, crashes the server. The server does an automatic recover reboot, and the system comes back up with all the ShoreTel services disabled. Since the server is up and all looks well, it’s a head scratcher why nothing works until you start looking at ShoreTel services and see they’re all down.

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