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I am working out DR scenarios and one was making me scratch my head:

Currently our domain has a 2008R2 DC and a 2003R2 DC. I know bringing restoring DCs can sometimes be harmful to an AD if others are there already in place. I have already gone through the AD prep steps to prepare the domain for the eventual move to a 2008R2 native domain but have not completed the process. Right now the domain is in 2003 native

In the event that the 2003R2 DC fails, should i recover it or just delete it from the domain? If I did restore the server from a nightly backup and brought it back up, what might the result be? Should I even attempt it?

I should note that all the domain master rolls have been transferred to the 2008R2 DC in preparation for the move. The 2003 server holds no Operations Master rolls but it is a GC.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

My answer assumes both servers are functioning correctly and can replicate from each other.

If the Server 2K3R2 server fails and you do re-build it, you shouldn't have to get anything from backups as far as the Active Directory is concerned. If all the FSMO roles are on the 2K8R2 server, as well as it being a GC, when you re-build the 2K3R2 server, make it a domain controller and let it get all the replicated information from the 2K8R2 server. If your DNS is Active Directory-Integrated, all that will replicate as well as accounts, GPOs, etc... If you try to pull something from backup, even if it was from the night before, the server that's up and running may have newer information on it and you wouldn't want it to replicate old AD information.

The only thing you might have to get from a backup is if it's got other roles, like a DHCP server, scheduled scripts, or something else in the mix that's not also running on the 2K8R2 server.

You'd definitely want to get another DC going and if you can replace it with newer hardware that can run Server 2K8R2, then there ya go. You always want a 2nd DC.

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Interesting! So it sounds like, other than deleting the 2003r2 DC from AD, you would not bother restoring it, just rebuild it? – Tyson Navarre Oct 5 '11 at 17:39
cliff racer, you would or should also do metadata cleanup of the old DC if it died and you did not do a dcpromo to take it offline. so if the first one dies, rebuild it, rename it, dcpromo it and then clean up your old names and stuff by deleting it out and using ntdsutil to clean up any junk Domain Controllers left in there. – dasko Oct 5 '11 at 19:04
@CliffRacer - Sorry for the late response - Correct - you don't have to restore anything, just rebuild it. Dasko brings up a good point as well. If it truly did die, you'd have to clean up the metadata on the working DC. This is a good article that goes step-by-step on how to do that - – FSUScoot Oct 10 '11 at 12:13

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