Creating backups of your SSY-V configuration isn’t a very complicated thing. The only important thing is: you have to do it on a regular base or prior to whenever you want to change something. This sounds stupid simple but it happens every now and then that you forget these simple things.
For me this happened a few days ago when I was upgrading a SSY-V 9 installation to v10. I created a backup when I was on 9.0 PSP2 but to get to v10 you first have to upgrade to 9.0 PSP3 Update 4 and then to v10. So I upgraded both servers to 9.0 PSP3U4 and the first server to v10. Everything was working fine except I missed to create a new backup.
BTW, in my article SSY-V: recover DCS after desaster I described what you can do if your DCS can't boot in any mode or your OS RAID got lost. The method described here needs access to your files on the OS disk and the registry.
During the upgrade I decided to put more memory in both DCS. Starting with 24GB I raised the memory to 64GB. Unfortunately the OS installed on both DCS was Server 2008 R2 Standard, so memory limit was at 32GB. I googled a bit around and found several blogs where an inplace upgrade to Enterprise/Datacenter Edition was described. In short terms, you simply use DISM to change the installation image, add a new Enterprise or DataCenter key and reboot. That’s all you have to do. Hm, sounds quite easy and fast compared to a new installation so I gave it a try. The DISM change worked well and Windows asked me to reboot to make the changes effective. That’s when the trouble starts.
My DCS on v10 got into a BSOD/reboot loop. I can’t say what the reason was because the BSOD was a standard „IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL“ STOP error without any information on the causing driver or any hint except I should revert any hardware change made. The additional RAM wasn't the problem and except of this I didn't make any hardware change. Additionally, the BSOD happened so fast after the reboot that the OS disks weren’t initialized so I was unable to get a memory dump or anything to troubleshoot.
I decided to boot into safe mode. That was possible and Windows told me that there was an unsuccessful try to upgrade and all changes were reverted back. I was happy about that and rebooted the server once again. The same BSOD happened. Back to safe mode all checks told me the installation is fine.
To cut a long story short, there was no way to get the system back online.
Reinstalling the DCS was not really an option as I had no current backup from the configuration. Starting the DCSX service in safe mode to get a new config dump isn't possible even if you hack the registry and allow the dcsx service to start. So there was no easy way to get a fresh config backup I would be able to restore from.
Restoring a DCS without this backup is not easy or even possible as far as I know and rebuild a new server from scratch and replace the failed one is hard work and takes plenty of time.
So I tried to build the configuration backup on my own. Switching to an alternate v10 DCS I created a config backup via the DCS GUI. This is, essentially, only a zip file containing some config files, registry exports and a log file.
I then booted the faulty DCS in safe mode and collected the files and registry keys that I saw in the test config backup. Here is a step-by-step guide to collect all needed information:
- Create a new folder on a USB drive called „config“
- Under this folder create three subfolders: ConfigFiles, Logs, RegistryKeys
- Copy the following files from the C:\Program files\DataCore\SAnsymphony\ folder to the ConfigFiles folder: Dcsx.dcsl, region.xml, XConfig.jrl, XConfig.xml
- In the Logs folder create a text file called Preserve.log with any content. Just make sure the file is there. I'm not sure if you really need this log, probably not, but just to be sure...
- For the RegistryKeys folder, open regedit and export the following Keys:
- Now compress these three folders into a zip file. The name should be changed to reflect the syntax DataCore uses, e.g. BACKUP_2014_07_16_16_17_38_DATACORE01.zip
- Copy the zip file to your USB drive and use it for DCS restore
This way I was able to reinstall the OS with datacenter edition, reinstall SSY-V and restore the config. The freshly installed DCS replaced the faulty one without any problems.
So this was a quite good feeling to know that you still can do some troubleshooting and repair actions on your SSY-V software even if you already have a faulty, non-running installation.
Hope you’ll never need it but just in case…..