I am looking for some inexpensive idea on how to create a backup of my physical server (w2003) into a virtual server and synchronize the 2 units on a daily basis. The idea is to have a backup copy of the physical machine and if something happen, I can bring the virtual copy up in a short period of time. I have look at the Symantec product but it is over my budget. Anybody has a similar situation and share what have they've done.
Any idea will be appreciated.
It would be somewhat dependent on what applications you have running, how much daily data change occurs. . . . You can use a second VM and use DFS (part of Server 2000 on up) to replicate a file structure to multiple servers. Clone the OS drive on a daily basis. Use NTbackup. Have a look at ghettoVCB http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8760 to clone your VMs.
There are some (commercial) tools that make this for you.
For example have a look at Platespin solutions.
It depends entirely on your Server / applications.
If the server is simply datastorage, you could create a one-off P2V of your machine and keep it offline, then bind the VMDK for the storage drive oif this to another VM and just something like Robocopy for data duplication.
Platespin will definitely do what you want, but comes with a cost.
If you are running database applications, you need to consider something like Log Shipping.
But really . . the obvious solution is to simply virtualise the Server in question and replicate the vmdks on a daily basis . . and perhaps use snapshotw as interim replicas.
Any reason why the server MUST remain a physical?