MS Windows 2012 DHCP Failover: Server crash recovery.


I have 2x MS Windows 2012 DHCP servers, and I configured my scopes on a Failover Server-1->Server-2 relationship . It all works fine when Server 1 becomes unavailable and Server-2 takes over.

My question is.. If Server-1 hard crashes (like non-recoverable BSOD) and Server-2 takes over... and i am forced to reinstall Server-1 from scratch.. how do I restablish the failover relationship, without loosing the dhcp config (scopes, reservations, etc).

Does Server-2 recognize Server-1 when it's back online, although it's brand new installed and empty? Yes I'd be naming the server the same as it was before and joining it to the domain.

Thank you,

Amram PenaSr. IT Consultant, Infrastructure & SecurityAsked:
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Norm DickinsonGuruCommented:
One approach would be to have a full backup using software that can use bare metal recovery to restore the server and all of the settings to their current state. There are many choices in software and hardware for this kind of backup, but you should have it running already just in case something goes wrong. It will cut days from your recovery time compared to starting over from scratch.
Amram PenaSr. IT Consultant, Infrastructure & SecurityAuthor Commented:
Hi Norm,

The main issue is that Server-1 is acting funny, so we wanted to transfer everything to Server-2 and reformat Server-1.

We got everything except for the DHCP. We enabled failover and the scopes/functionality transfers perfectly when we stop the dhcp-service on Server-1, but we are wondering if the scopes and config would be lost upon restoring Server-1 blank.

Another thing we though about was to do a config backup of the DHCP server, that we could restore on a new machine.

Norm DickinsonGuruCommented:
Another approach would be to try to troubleshoot the problem with Server 1. If it turns out you have a hardware issue, formatting and reinstalling and configuring will be a big waste of time. What is it doing that is considered "acting funny?" What have you tried thus far to resolve it? OS reinstalls can resolve a number of issues, but it is not the answer to many other kinds of problems that you could be experiencing. I would really recommend waiting until you have eliminated every possible hardware cause for the issues you are facing prior to formatting the server and trying to duplicate what it was doing down to the last detail.

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Amram PenaSr. IT Consultant, Infrastructure & SecurityAuthor Commented:
Thank you Norm. We installed a separate dhcp server and it's been working perfectly for a few days.

Something is messed up with the original ones, as the system doesn't show any errors, not even in the dhcp specific service logs in the Event viewer.

We'd be rebuilding the original servers in the next few days. I do appreciate your ideas, have a good weekend.
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Windows Server 2012

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