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MS DPM 2007 is a new technology in my company, and so am I to the product. We have a classic Microsoft domain with two DCs, Exchange 2007 and a couple Web/MS SQL servers.

I have deployed DPM one month ago on the domain, and after fixing the various issues I got with the replicas inconsistence and adapting the schedule and retention range to the server storage pool size, I can say the backup system is working correctly (no errors) as of today.

However, there is one problem: we did not attempt to restore from the backups yet, which is a big no-no of course. I'm not sure about the way I should handle this, my main concern being Exchange and the System State of the DCs.

From my understanding, DPM can only protect AND restore data on a server which is part of the same domain as the backup server. If I restore the System State (containing Active Directory) and the Exchange Storage Groups on a testing server, I am afraid it would completely disturb the domain functioning (for example, having two primary DCs on the domain).

I am thinking about building a second DPM server on a testing separate domain which would mirror the replicas and then restore it on testing servers from this new domain. Is it the right way to handle the data recovery testing? How did you do on your domain when you first deployed DPM?

I'd be grateful for any link/documentation or advice.

Thank you in advance for your help!


EDIT:


Two options seem possible so far:

i. Create another DC/Exchange server in the alternate location;

ii. Create a separate domain in the alternate location and setup a trust between this domain and the production one.

The option i is certainly the best but implies setting up a secondary Exchange server, with a dedicated public IP address so that if Exchange #1 dies, we can still send emails with Exchange #2. I don't know how complex this can be and would need to discuss it with my colleagues.

The option ii would only fit the testing purposes. My only question regarding this is: if my production and DPM servers are part of domain A, and there is a trust between domains A and B, can I restore a domain A content to any domain B server?

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1 Answer

By far the easiest thing to do in your situation is use an old computer or virtual host to build a "replacement" DC, then on a weekend, take the real DC offline for a hour and test the restore process. It's definitely something you should try at least once, so you're familiar with the process (which is pretty easy anyway).

Also, restoring a DC (via system state) is almost identical to restoring the system state of any other server. There's just a couple differences, most notable if AD is completely down (lost all DCs).

Jim B wrote an answer with good links to a very similar question.

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Thank you for the information and helpful link. I did not know about the Bare Metal Recovery capability, I might use it for the PDC (which also happens to be an Exchange mail server). The process you describe sounds indeed by far like the easiest. However, I'd like to build an alternate domain so that in the worst case scenario (e.g. fire in the building), I can run it while restoring the original one (we have a bunch of unused servers in a different physical location). Has anyone build a testing domain to test the backups, that could serve as an alternate production environment? –  NewToDPM Jun 22 '10 at 13:17
    
I'd consider running a full DC in the remote location. You can set it up as a separate site in AD; and it would still be alive and kicking if your primary location became unavailable. This would also help the issue that DPM normally relies on AD. Don't forget to properly secure the server however (including disk encryption if physical security is an issue). If that's not an option, you can build a DC in a domain that trusts your primary domain, and test DPM that way as well. –  Chris S Jun 22 '10 at 14:30
    
Thanks again for your input. I edited the original post. –  NewToDPM Jun 22 '10 at 16:12
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