I am trying to get a working procedure for quick recovery of a windows server 2003 domain controller to other hardware for disaster recovery purposes using imaging. The point I am stuck at is restoring the system state and getting replication working correctly.
I've been testing using Acronis imaging software to take an image of the live server system disk and putting this image on the test server - this works well and boots without any issues due to the hardware being the same make and model as the live box.
My next step was to setup another test server with an image from our second site so I end up with a lab setup which replicates the live setup - two domain controllers replicating AD to each other and correctly in sync.
If I then take an image of test server 1 and also backup the system state, then make AD changes and let them replicate, I can successfully restore test server 1 using the test server 1 image and boot into directory services restore mode and restore the system state from the test server 1 backup (non-authoritative) - boot normally and the test servers happily start replicating correctly and AD changes made after the test image are pushed over from test server 2 to test server 1.
If I start the test again putting a live image onto test server 1 and restore a backup of system state in DSRM taken from the live server, replication does not work - repadmin /showrepl gives me "error 8456 (0x2108) :Can't retrieve message string 8456 (0x2108), error 1815".
This article http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/cc961934.aspx
tells me "It is possible to restore Active Directory to a computer other than the original computer, both computers must have the same number of disk drives. Also, if the replacement domain controller has a different video adapter or multiple network adapters, uninstall them before you restore data. When you restart the computer; Plug and Play functionality makes the appropriate updates."
What I'm unsure about is what is meant by "the same number of disk drives", does this mean physical or virtual - my live server has raid 1 (two disks) for the system disk which I image onto test server raid 1 (also two disks). Both server also have another drive D: but this is raid 5 (three disks) on the live server and raid 1 (two disks) on the test server. Also, the live server is hosting some iSCSI disks (SAN) which were not connected when performing the tests.
The test server does have "multiple network adapters" but the same number and models as the live server, although all adapters do lose their settings after the image restore from live to test.
I know I could use dcpromo after restoring the test server, but I used this method before and ran into quite a few issues due to the server also being CA, SQL Sharepoint etc (2 hours on phone with MS).
Seems I'm not far off a working procedure - Any help with this would be appreciated.