Want to make a brand new 2012 Server a second DC to an exisiting Domain but its really just going to be a emergency "Cold Spare"

We purchased a Brand new 2012 Server from Dell for the express purpose of making it a "cold spare" backup for our existing 2008R2 DC.  which is a fairly simple Active Directory for our 25 users with no special functionality or Apps, just some shared folders for docs.

In the past I would call this a BDC ( Backup Domain Controller) but I understand its now just called a second DC.

The trick is that the new 2012 Server is now physically located 200 miles away in my small branch office but luckily they are connected with a pair of SonicWall TZ210s with a strong Site to Site VPN running 24/7 as I am building it up and adding files etc,  

If I make it a DC and since its much newer I am concerned that my 25 users, 200 miles away will then be looking for it to authenticate every morning. So if I take it off line for a week they probably will just go back to the 2008 server, is that the right way to look at it?

Or should I really just forget about the "Cold spare" idea and just consider it a second DC that happens to be across a VPN ?

Comments, gotchas, recommendations would be most appreciated
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Forget the cold spare idea as you are planning. AD doesn't do well with replication being down for extended periods.

Either use the server as a true cold spare, by which I mean not a second DC, but empty metal that you can restore a traditional backup from. Or run it as a domain controller and keep it online. If you properly define your sites in Active Directory Sites and Services, clients will properly prefer the closer DC to themselves for authentication.

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Always a smart idea to have a second DC. Nothing will change for your users. Probably need to do some domain config to add the 2012 server first.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
agree with cliff...scrap the cold spare idea
some applications you can get away with that, domain controllers are not one of them
if you have a reliable vpn connection to the other site and the two can replicate, i would just do that
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Windows Server 2012

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