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Setting up a dev copy of the domain

Posted on 2004-08-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-14
Hi Experts.

What's the best way to go about setting up a dev copy of my domain?

One method I was thinking about was adding a DC to my current domain, letting it replicate, and then removing it from the wire. I could then build my dev environment around the removed box. Any thoughts on this method?

One issue I know will be the cleanup. Best way to clean it all up not only the production domain and also the dev?

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Question by:RPMTECHNOLOGY
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by:jdeclue
ID: 11895260
Cleanup is a big issue, as the server should be in the Domain and heve active directory removed from the server. By taking it out and using it in Dev you will create many issues. If you development environment is physically seperated from the network, you can install a server and then restore the domain information from tape backups. But without the other Domain Controllers in the environment, this is really nasty as well, probably would not be good for testing. I would only suggest creating a new domain and adding dummy accounts and computers.

J
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Author Comment

by:RPMTECHNOLOGY
ID: 11895386
Hi jdeclue,

"restore the domain information from tape backups"

Are we talking as easy as restoring a system state? Any issue with disimilar hardware?

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:jdeclue
ID: 11895410
Yes system state, since you install the OS first and then restore the system state, you can make it work. I have doe it before, but, I used identical equipment and had to install all 3 domain controllers. Very nasty.

J
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Expert Comment

by:Ranidae
ID: 11896237
Hey,

I have restored system state from backup on different hardware...

We did it when our single server got upgraded.  It worked out, except that a couple of apps got broke in the restore process.  Can't see why you couldn't try it in a test environment though.

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Author Comment

by:RPMTECHNOLOGY
ID: 11899591
Tried the restore of SS one different hardware, even went as far as doing a full repair. Still cycles with a blue screen to fast to catch the text. I think I see kernal32 though.
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by:jdeclue
ID: 11901518
You will get pretty lucky if it were to work, system state holds alot more info than the AD structure ;)

J
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by:RPMTECHNOLOGY
ID: 11902561
Hi jdeclue,

Yeah, I know the SS is not just AD. I don't plan on using this recovered DC in a dev environment anymore since it will be so banged up who would want to, now I'm just doing it to see if I can :)

I'm getting closer using this KB article;
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;263532
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by:jdeclue
ID: 11903137
Sounds like fun ;) good experience!

J
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by:RPMTECHNOLOGY
ID: 11904305
Tried most of the stuff in the KB article, nothing worked. I could try two more things but am needing to move on. I'm going to give up for now.

For the dev environment my original question was about...  We had talked about cleanup before. I'm still leaning toward adding a DC to my current domain, letting it replicate, and then removing it from the wire. I'm thinking as long as it doesn't hold any FSMO roles and is not a GC I believe I should be fine just literally removing it and them deleting the machine account. Replication should re-adjust ok.

Am I totally off base here? What am I missing. If anyone has some real good answers I will increase points up to 500 and give a good chuck after I peel off a few for jdeclue.
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Accepted Solution

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jdeclue earned 250 total points
ID: 11905520
Ouch... well when you create a DC by using DCPROMO it is going to automatically assume some of the FSMO roles, in addition, it will have both DNS entries, unders _msdtc etc.. and Active Directory objects created. When you remove it, without doing an uninstall it will leave all of that behind, and it will need to get cleaned up. In addition, the DC you pull out, will only a few roles (possibly not any, but unlikely). Without any of those roles you will only have the local AD information (providing you had made it a global catalog). So in your test environment, you will end up with a mostly unusable DC, and without the roles, it will not accept any changes etc, for your testing.

You really ought to look into doing a clean install. What parts of the domain, have to be duplicated, is it users and groups or more?

J
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Author Comment

by:RPMTECHNOLOGY
ID: 11914582
Some follow up. It appears I was able to do this successfully.

Added a GX270 and promoted it up as a DC (didn't assume any roles since it was the latest of 3 DCs). Let it replicate on the initial promotion and then let it sit for about 3 hours. Took it off the wire and forced a DC removal using ntdsutil (all this seemed to do was remove the NTDS settings). Deleted the DC in the site (sites and services). The DC was still listed in the domain controllers OU and couldn't be deleted (DSA error). I used ADSI Edit to finish up and remove the object.

In the new dev network I did the same as the above to clean up including siezing all the roles then adding DNS. DHCP, and WINS.
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Author Comment

by:RPMTECHNOLOGY
ID: 11914602
Didn't help me too much jdeclue but I'm giving you the points anyway since you at least payed attention to the thread :)
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Expert Comment

by:jdeclue
ID: 11914640
Looks like you made it work, that is cool, and what good experience ;)... you need to start answering some questions on here!

J
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