Backup of system state (VMware)

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Hello everybody.

I am not able to find out the solution for the following issue.

I have several servers WS2008 (two of them are DCs). All of them are virtual servers via VMware (except the physical backup server - not important). I back up them reguraly but I would like to perform the System state backup. But here the thing comes.

If I restore the backup of the system state on any server, will there be a problem with sync with other servers? I am pretty sure there will be. If so I would need a different solution.

Any suggestions?

Thank you for answers.
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Mr TorturSystem Engineer
Commented:
Hi,

If I restore the backup of the system state on any server, will there be a problem with sync with other servers?
no there won't be. Why do you think there should be issue ?
Except for the DC, for which system state contains AD, I don't see any matter here.
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Thank you for answer. I have 2 DCs for the first time so I was not sure about this.

But I found this about this issue.
"If you try and restore a domain controller from an image based backup (i.e. a non-AD aware backup) in a multi domain controller environment, you'll almost certainly run into replication sync issues after the restore as the AD database was rolled back in an unsupported fashion."
Mr TorturSystem Engineer

Commented:
Yes, there is a restore procedure for DC restore, for example you got to boot in Directory services restore mode.
one url among others :
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727048.aspx
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Mr TorturSystem Engineer

Commented:
I am not sure to understand what you look for.
What is your main purpose here, restore one of your DC ? if yes, restore all the VM or only system state?
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Just imagine this:

Administrator performed a system state backup a 7 days ago (using cmd: wbadmin start systemstatebackup...). Now one of his 5 virtual DCs crashed so admin install WS2008 again (restart in DSRM didn't work). How will he get this DC into the previous state (AD etc)?
Doesn't matter if he uses a recovery from system state backup or another way.

BTW Should I use Windows System State Backup (WBAdmin) or something else? What's your view?
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
I don't have any problems right now. But I want to be prepared in case that one or both of my DCs will just stop working and I will have to make them working ASAP.
System Engineer
Commented:
Ok, clearer for me.
If one of your DC is down, you coudl simply reinstall a VM (or deploy from template), and add DC role again : it will sync with other alive DCs and you won't have to troubleshoot or solve AD sync issues. This is the easiest way.
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Well, let me ask you one more question.
What if i make a snapshot of a virtual machine and than in case the WS2008 crashes I use it? Will there be a problem with sync? Because you "save" the exact state  of VM, e.g. a week ago.
Mr TorturSystem Engineer

Commented:
Hi again,

Reverting to a vmware snapshot is really not recommended on a DC VM.
Because yes, you will have sync issue with other DCs.
AD, like Exchange e.g,, are very time sensitive, so reverting instantly to a past state is always dangerous and should not be done.
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Thank you for answer. No snapshots on DC VM. I got it.

The last example. I promise. :D

I have 2 DCs VM and one of them just crashes. I am unable to get into DSRM so I reinstall the WS2008. I install AD and expect the replication process from the other DC. But there is a problem and I have to use the System state backup I performed a week ago. The restoring goes well.
And my question: Will there be any problem the next day when both DCs will establish a connection and replication will start?

After reading your comments I think there won't be any. I am just asking to be sure.
Mr TorturSystem Engineer
Commented:
No snapshots on DC VM
Don't restore vmware snap on DC, but you can take and delete a snap for backup.

For your last question, if you use the tight procedure to restore AD on the crashed dc you could, but again it is eaisier to install an OS and add DC role and let it replicate with other alive and online DC.
It has been a big while since I made an AD restore, and it was with win2003 I think. Don't remember much of it, what if you restore a one week old backup, concerning sync with other DC. Again a new dc is easier.
Anton ZorinSolutions Architects Manager

Commented:
The only issue possible is when you affect something in your AD and want to roll back to one of the previous backups. As soon as you restore your server it will sync with other DC and get the latest state (incorrect). In this case check this link.
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Thank you Anton for your note.

Considering Anton's comment one more question arises. What EXACTLY do you back up if you perform system state backup?

Do you backup GPOs, DHCP settings etc.?
Anton ZorinSolutions Architects Manager

Commented:
Should be all the settings (including mentioned) and registry, not sure about drivers (is this one is more bare metal related).
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
I'd like to make any backup that, in the case of the WS2008 crash, will be able to restore the previous running OS, AD and so on ASAP on virtual machine.

I don't want to use any VM snapshots.
Anton ZorinSolutions Architects Manager

Commented:
Well, you can use cloudberry backup server edition. Back up OS during trial and then you'll be able to restore it whenever you want (restore is always free). You'll be able to restore it using bootable flash/iso if it works for you.
Mr TorturSystem Engineer

Commented:
Hi.
- System state content (first choice when quickly searching) :
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc938537.aspx
and yes AD includes GPO..
- backup in a cloud won't resolve your questions here
- if you have only an object or something that went wrong with your AD you could use AD recycle bin, or restore only an AD object with your backup software (several do that)
- if you want to have a DC back and running quickly in case of issue, you should separate roles (only DC VM, and not file server, web server, application server or other roles on same DC machine), and then as already told create a new VM, had dc role, quick and easy.

I think the original question has been answered, if you have another one please create a new question.
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Thank you for all answers.
Hello ThereSystem Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Sync issue answered. Thank you.

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