Restoring virtual EBS 2008 Domain Controller from Veeam backup

Hi everyone,

We are running a virtual (VMware) EBS 2008 domain that gets backed up by the Veeam B&R daily. Everything is running reasonably well, but we have never tested restoring it from the backup, because we do not currently have any spare gear to do it.

I am trying to find out (if anyone's tried it already?) if everything works well after the servers are restored. The reason why I ask, is that I spoke to a consultant, which told me that the Active Directory databases of DC's dated prior to Server 2013 tend to break when restored from a backup. Reason being is that Veeam apparently creates a snapshot of the live VM and uses it as as a source of the backup. This is supposed to be a problem because restoring from snapshots has negative effects on AD and it had only been fully optimized in Server 2013.

Can anybody please confirm whether that could be a real issue? And if yes, are there any ways around it?

Thanks,

Martin
Martin AndelSenior IT AnalystAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, it's a real issue, we've found the restoration of a single DC, in a group of DCs, causes issues.

and it's best, to force remove the DC, and create a new DC with a different name!

OR....restore ALL DCs at the same time!

Replication is the issue.

This can be tested, by creating a test environment, which you can do with Veeam, in SureLab.

Restore all your DCs, then delete one, and then add one back, you will see replication breaks to that DC!
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Martin AndelSenior IT AnalystAuthor Commented:
Okay, so if I have two DC's in the domain and one breaks, the best thing to do is to turn them both off asap and restore together at the same time?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If one breaks, create a new one!
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Martin AndelSenior IT AnalystAuthor Commented:
So no point restoring? One of the two DC's we have has Exchange on it. Does that mean that if it breaks we're done for?

Or would we have to restore that one and delete the other one?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Well that's a whole can of worms, and that's why it's not recommended in install any other role on a DC!

It means, it's complicated, and you would need to restore, and deal with the replication issues.
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Martin AndelSenior IT AnalystAuthor Commented:
Well the EBS 2008 package consists of two DCs, one of which also hosts the Exchange 2007. There was no choice in that matter. It is all very integrated.

How difficult does it then get when there are issues with the AD replication after the restore? Is it fixable?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay, so this is integrated SBS ?
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Martin AndelSenior IT AnalystAuthor Commented:
Yes and no. This is a similar product to SBS that Microsoft introduced in 2008. It is called Essential Business Server 2008 (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Essential_Business_Server_2008) and it comprises of two DC/DNS servers, one of which hosts an instance of Exchange 2007. There is also a forefront/security server that is supposed to act as a primary firewall. Our setup is that we have the first two as VM's and the forefront is a physical machine that is kept turned off because we wanted to keep our firewall and generally it proved to be a nuisance.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, okay Essentials!

In this case, you would have to Restore your "DC and Exchange Server", and deal with the replication issue.

The best method would be to practice this, by using SureLab in Veeam to test!

So the easiest thing would be to restore both servers today.

Keep them running as VMs on a Private Network. (also backup these!).

and then kill a server, and restore from backup.

Check if it's worked or not.
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Martin AndelSenior IT AnalystAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the tip. Problem is though that we only have the Veeam Backup & Recovery Essentials, which does not have the lab included. Because of that, this will unfortunately have to remain a theoretical exercise. I am simply trying to come up with a plan in case we ever needed to do the restore.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You have the technology, to do this in practice.

Restore you VMs to a private network and test!

It's always worth testing these practices before they happen!
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Martin AndelSenior IT AnalystAuthor Commented:
Ok, when I get to free up some resources needed for that kind of experiment, I'll run it. But in the meantime, can you please help me to summarize a theoretical solution?

Having two DC's, one of which has Exchange running on it, I can see two scenarios:

1) If the messaging server breaks down, we shut both of them down and move them safely away. Restore the messaging server from the backup, start it and then create a new one instead of the other DC.

2) If the second DC breaks down, we turn it of and delete it. Then create a new DC to take over.

Does that sound OK?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Correct.
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