Using VEEAm to move Excahnge and Active Directory servers around


At my work we have 3 ESXi hosts that have local storage.  We do not have a SAN; but, we have used VEEAM backup and replication to move some Virtual machines to different hosts through the network.  

I have discovered that our Database servers will require a new license file, from to the Vendor, after I move those VM's to another host (something about when changing the MAC address, it forces licensing to bring up a error); but never the less it is a lesson that one should not assume that one VM move will be just like every other VM move.

In the past I have been able to move Citrix servers without problems; but, i have never tried moving an Exchange or Active Directory server.  This may be a silly question; but, I would rather ask and feel prepared instead of assuming and be wrong.

Since we have purchased a new ESXi host I must prepare to move some VM's around to different ESXi hosts in order to accommodate this new ESXi host.  

My questions are:

1.  Is there anything special that I must consider when I move our
Microsoft Exchange
server from one Esxi Host to another?  

2.  The same question goes for moving an
Active Directory
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Virtual Machines *SHOULD NOT* change, record the MAC Address of the Network Interfaces, and ensure they are the same or manually change them after the MOVE!

This is certainly the issue with your database servers.

What could be happening is this:- See my EE Article if you've seen this question.

HOW TO: Select the right answer to "I Moved It" or "I Copied It" in VMware vSphere (ESXi)

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
You know I did a test run of the database restore.  I never powered it on; but, I did check the 'Edit Settings' option and looked at the MAC address.  The MAC address was the same as before.  Another consultant that the MAC address may change when you power it on.

If it does not, then that's cool.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
I should mention that we have VMware version 5.5 Update 2.

What about Moving Exchange or Active Directly servers, from host to host?  I am sure that must have happened at some point somewhere.  

I am wondering if any special consideration is required for Exchange and Active Directory Servers?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
There should be no issues what so ever.

That's how vMotion works, and that's done automatically!

What for MAC Address changes if any ?
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:

It sounds like the VEEAM backup /restore program can safely move Exchange and Active Directory servers from one host to another.  That is good.

Regarding the database server, I did restore the Server to another host; but, I never powered it on.  I wanted to test to see how long the restore process would take.  Like I said I never powered the restored database server on; but, I did look at the MAC address.  The MAC Address (while the restored server was still powered off) did not change.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Very good. All seems to be in order.
PkafkasNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
I was told from a consultant that while using vmotion to transfer an Active directory server the Active Directory Server does not actually turn off.  And you are actually moving the same instance/server from one ESXi host to another.  I was also told that migrating an Active Directory server with a backup program may be a little tricky.  Because a company usually has at least 2 Active Directory Domain Controllers that are in constant communication with each other.

If you use any backup software (like VEEAM) to restore a new instance of Active directory to another location the original DC will need to be turned off.  Then the restored DC will need to be turned on.  The other Domain Controller, that was not restored will recognize that this is not the same server.  Then the consultant told me that the 2 Domain Controllers will work; but will not be in sync with each other.  Then you will eventually have trouble with AD not working correctly.

I was told that SQL Databases servers and Exchange servers are self contained, they do not have a constant link to another server such as Active Directory Domain Controllers do.  Database servers and application servers are self contained.  You are better off:

1.  Powering off the Domain Controller that you would like to move.
2.  Exporting the .vmdk files or the .ova files to a location.
3.  Then importing the files to the new ESXi host.


1.  Power off the Domain Controller
2.  Use VEEAM to make a full backup of the VM, while it is powered down DC.
3.  Then use VEEAM to do a restore to of that VM to another ESXi Host.

Once you turn the migrated VM (Domain Controller) to a new host and actually turn it on, there is no turning back.  The backup plan of powering off the Restored VM and then powering on the original will not work.  Domain Controllers are different.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.