Creating Active Directory Test Network

Posted on 2007-10-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I would like to promote a member server in my production 2003 AD environent and then take it off the production domain and make it the domain controller for a test environment. I would like to avoid having any reference to this server in my production AD after it is removed. I'm concerned about messing up the current FSMO roles. Also can I capture these roles on the test server after it is off the production domain so that it would function on it's own as single domain controller in my test environment.

Since I do not have spare servers that match my current production hardware, I believe that doing restore of the system state (AD) on my test hardware is out of the question. From what I have read it is a messy process. I thought that this might be an easier way to get my AD in a development environment.

Any help is much apprecieated.
Question by:jmarenghi
    LVL 30

    Accepted Solution

    Your biggest concern is that the test network and the production network need to be completely physically disconnected - if you start making changes in test and test can still talk to production, production can get really unhappy, really quickly.  Additionally, once you remove this DC and place it in TEST, it must -never- be returned to the production environment without first being refomatted and re-installed.

    As long as you can be assured of that physical disconnect, what you've described is a very common way to set up a test AD:

    [1] DCPROMO the new "test" DC, configure it as a global catalog server, and move it into the physically disconnected network.  Re-IP as needed.  We will now call this the TEST domain.

    [2] In the PRODUCTION domain, perform a metadata cleanup of the DC you just placed in TEST to remove references to it:

    [3] In the TEST domain, perform a metadata cleanup of all DCs in production, using the same steps as in #2.  Then seize all 5 FSMO roles to this TEST DC:, and configure the TEST DC to obtain its time from an authoritative time server:
    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    Depending on your needs you could perphaps do what you want with virtual machines using VMWare, Virtual PC or Virtual server will allows you to  realistically dulpicate a production environment without the need to have vast amounts of hardware while keeping the system completely seperate from your production domain


    Author Comment

    Thank you very much.

    I will move forward with Laura's solution.

    KCTS I am currently looking to get a decent server appliance and start the process of learning some of the popular virtializtion systems out there.

    I'm bumping points and splitting.


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