Copy a Domain Joined Server to a VM with a Different Name

I've got an interesting issue that I'm not sure is possible, but I'd like to explore.

I have a domain-joined server that I'd like to restore to a VM, but with a different name. This server is just a standalone server, but it does run critical applications. The backup solution we use does have the ability to restore a backup to a Hyper-V image and boot. The issue at that point obviously becomes how to rename the VM without affecting the existing server.

Is this possible?
street9009IT Project ManagerAsked:
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Tony JohncockLead Technical ArchitectCommented:

Unless you have backup software that can rename, alter GUIDs, add back to the domain under a different name...and they are just the things that spring immediately to mind.

I haven't tried this but I imagine that you could clone the existing machine (full clone, not linked) and convert it to a template and redeploy it that way but even then I am not sure how it would impact a machine with applications installed etc.

Much better to just install a second machine and reinstall everything if possible.
ChrisSenior Technical ArchitectCommented:
you would have to sysprep the server to avoid conflict in GUID's as already pointed out but otherwise you will mess with the existing server
If you had a test domain/child domain then you could restore into that
street9009IT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
What does sysprep involve?
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
if you create a new VM from a backup you should be ok but you are going to start working on it with any network connections so as to not cause any issues with the existing server; then once you have it starting up you will have to remove it from the domain and then add it back (potential for some issues here). However before adding it back to the domain I suggest you export it, then import it a new VM with unique ID. What version of server?
street9009IT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
Yea it's the removing and re-adding to the domain that I think would mess everything up. Because it'd not only remove itself, but the existing server as well. I'm not sure how to get around that.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
This won't affect the existing server because you will not do anything to it; once you have created the new VM and removed it from the domain, then rebooting, you will then also have to rename it before rejoining it to the same domain as the original.
Tony JohncockLead Technical ArchitectCommented:
You do realise if you remove it from the domain whilst it is connected to said domain that its computer account will be removed from the domain. Doesn't matter if you do it on a copy or the original, hence why I suggested doing the domain removal from the copy with the network disconnected.

In a nutshell though this is a bad idea all round. Just build a new one from scratch and save yourself the headache.

Maybe cloning, removing from the domain (whilst having no network connection), converting to a template and / or syspreping might work but frankly I really don't like the idea of this. It's shortcuts for the sake of short term gain with the potential for a lot of long term pain.

And that's before we talk about licensing (OS/Apps).

And kiss goodbye to support if you don't do it in a MS/Vendor approved manner (none of this is).

And so on.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
I did say "create a VM w/o a network connection" from the backup -- still I tend to agree with Tony1044, that in the long run you may be better off with a fresh install. I can only assume that you have some valid reason for wanting to duplicate this install and I also assume that you have the required licensing.
Tony JohncockLead Technical ArchitectCommented:
No.... I don't believe you back through your comments and I think it's now clear you meant to but didn't quite.

What you actually said: "if you create a new VM from a backup you should be ok but you are going to start working on it with any network connections so as to not cause any issues with the existing server; "

Suspect the with was meant to be without?
Tony JohncockLead Technical ArchitectCommented:
OP some things to bear in mind:

Microsoft don't support cloning of machines without the use of their own tools such as Sysprep. Nor once applications are installed.

Without using Sysprep there's no way to guarantee you have a unique machine (SIDs and GUIDs) and there's many ways this can affect security and stability.

You would potentially have the same virtualised hardware component ID's - not sure this would have much impact except things like the same MAC Address, CPU Identifiier could potentially cause a headache;

Anything that went wrong with either the original or copied machine down the line - it's always going to be in the back of your mind whether it's down to the copying or not (this may seem trivial now but believe me it won't at 3am on a Friday);

You're bound to fall foul of licensing somewhere along the line;

Even when talking about upgrades, I would always recommend customers go through a fresh install rather than an in-place upgrade. Short term pain, yes. Long term gain, for sure;

Even when you create a dedicate template virtual machine, the best practices are a clean machine, dedicated for that purpose.

All in all I wouldn't advocate what you're trying to do!

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street9009IT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
Sounds like the best method. I had started doing the fresh installs and was hoping to get around it with a simple copy but since it can cause so many headaches and by far isn't a simple matter, we'll just go with that.

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