Restoring a Backup to a Domain Controller in VMware (Exsi)

I have an EXSI server which hosts multiple Windows 2003 guests. One of the guests is a backup domain controller (AD) for our company. It does not act in any operation master role but it does act as an additional global catalog. The primary domain controller is an actual physical server. I am running Windows backup on the guest backup DM every night and saving the backup to NAS.

I have another EXSI server which has a copy of all guests on it. It is stored at an off-site location. If the building is destroyed and I implement my current Disaster Recovery Plan, I will need to bring up the backup DM on the backup EXSI server. I will want to restore the previous nights backup ( or the most current one I have).

When restoring a physical DM, I would press F8 during startup and select Directory restore mode so that my backup would restore the DM correctly. How would I accomplish something like that in EXSI? The backup to restore is on my NAS.

Thank You
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
When starting the Virtual Machine, you would connect to the Console of the Virtual Machine at startup using the vSphere Client and perform the same procedure.
Randy_HaleyAuthor Commented:
I can press F8 during the startup and select the Directory restore option. However, since that option does not start up networking, I am unable to access by backup on the NAS. Unfortunately, EXSI does not recognize USB drives attached to the physical server either.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Have you added a USB Controller to the Virtual Machine?

See here

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Randy, This can be done without networking.
From a PC you would connect to your ESX Server with the VI Client. The VI Client willalow you to mount CD's, ISO's etc from your PC to the guest session.
Of course this would mean you would have to copy the backup onto your PC and with something like ISOMagic create an ISO image of it. (Honestly this would take a few minutes at most) you would then mount this ISO to your Guest.
Alternatively. If your DR Site has a permanent WAN link to your main site you could just run a DC there. In a DR event you would then have to seize the roles but this is relatively simple.

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File restoration in Virtual machine or in physical  machine are same.
You have to click on the virtual machine console option in ESXi to get the boot screen.
Power on the virtual, machine, then press F8 to restore directory service.
Operational masters roles doesnt have any dependability in VMs or physical machine restorations.

All the steps works fine of you do not have any issue with your NAS or CIFS. If you get a specific error related to NAS Please post  again.

Other wise pleae go ahead and test your DRP successfully.

Randy_HaleyAuthor Commented:
Excellent solution. It worked like a charm.
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