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We currently use Microsoft's Data Protection Manager (DPM) for backups in a relatively small environment, but I'm still worried about our main active directory server.

I've been thinking that it'd be great to have a bare metal restore option for this server so that if the worst did happen we could be up and running again pretty quickly.

I've heard that DPM has a bare-metal option. Is this true? If so, would anyone reccomend it, or should I look to an alternative product?

Thanks.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The best recommendation I can give for backing up the DC is to have a live running backup DC. In a small enough environment you can probably get by with a cheap PC to run as the backup DC, and it will be well worth it.

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Absolutely. Make sure the secondary is also a GC, and test shutting down the primary domain controller to make sure end users can still log onto network resources. The questioner is also probably using a single server as a DNS server, and the secondary domain controller should be the secondary DNS server too. –  Brent Ozar May 1 '09 at 20:38

assuming you have fault tollerant disks then your most likely need to restore a DC system state is if your entire network is destroyed (or you make a horrendous cock-up - been there, have the t-shirt) Totally agree with Brent but you can make a bare metal restore work on different hardware but it's vital to have the new machine in as close a software state (services and patches) to the failed machine as possible. Took me about 4 hours of trial and error to get a tape restore off a (P)DC on to different hw. These days it's worth considering deploying a DC in virtual server 2005. Just back up the vhd every night. if everything goes wrong you can restore the VM and sieze the operations master roles (assuming GC) and hey presto AD is restored.

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Yes DPM 2007 has a bare-metal restore part, it's called SRT (System Recovery Tool).

As the other answers say, try to get at least a second DC up and running for some redundancy.

However, do not treat that redundancy as a backup! It's not the same thing... if something messes up besides the hardware, the errors will replicate as well - and that's where real backup comes in handy ^^

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I've been using Acronis fairly successfully. With the Universal Restore component, I've even been able to restore to dissimilar hardware.

In the same breath, I also find Acronis's user support to generally suck. It's sometiems days before you get a response, and you are always asked to update to the latest version regardless of what you report and what they know has been fixed in the last couple releases.

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