Disk2VHDX Active Directory Server 2008 / 2012 (Converting physical AD DC Server to Hyper-V Virtual Machine)

Greetings,
I am looking for the necessary detailed steps to take prior to converting my physical Active Directory Server/Domain Controler to a Hyper-V Virtual Machine.
I want to be able to create my Hyper-V VM , Attach the VHDX, and be up and running as soon as possible in the event of a Server failure.
I have successfully created  bootable Server 2008 and Server 2012 VM's,  but each VM brings up a "Directory Services Restore Mode" prompt prior to allowing me to log into the newly created VM.
I would like to avoid DSRM all together.
Thank you in advance.
COM1Asked:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Is this a disaster recovery plan or are you trying to migrate? Either way, disk2vhdx is not the right path. But knowing your intent can help experts give you the proper advice to meet your goals.
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COM1Author Commented:
Thanks for responding Cliff - Basically for DR.
I have about 15 physical Servers in different locations that already have local System images saved to a local NAS box.....as well as remote off-site data backups.
What I don't have are air gaped System image Backups.....so the purpose is to create a monthly Server System Backup image to a USB drive of each Server using Disk2VHD  and keep them off the network in case those local System image backups become unusable i.e. Ransomware.
About a year ago one of the Servers go hit with Ransomeware which encrypted all NAS and USB backup drives on the network. Our data was fully restored from the remote backup but we did have to rebuild the system from scratch.
We have a physical Server with Hyper-V ready to run a Hyper-V VM to get us up and running until we decide on a permanent Server solution.
I am looking for something simple,cheap and effective to accomplish the above described task.
I hope this clarifies my request.
Thanks.
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MaheshArchitectCommented:
Disk to VHD is not supported method for virtualized DC's when u have multiple physical DC's
Also keeping virtual dc in shutdown mode as standby is also not supported
It will born new issues like lingering objects, USN ROLLBACK, sushil and ad replication issues, normal wrap etc
The supported method is to deploy virtual dc properly by promoting additional domain controller and keep it online
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Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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Ravi Kumar AtreyCloud Specialist- AzureCommented:
make sure:

You can take the domain controller offline by stopping the NTDS service or by restarting the computer in Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM). And the computers must remain offline during the P2V migration.
 
One more thing, to prevent issues with Active Directory replication, do not bring the physical source machine back onto the network again before you reformat the hard disk.
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Ravi Kumar AtreyCloud Specialist- AzureCommented:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
As an earlier commenter said, there are issues with using disk2vhdx for DR. I cant recommend it. You'd be much better of using a backup program or at the very least doing a scheduled task and rotating media out as procedure. You'll find restoring your network from your plan won't work as expected, and the WORST time to discover problems is when you are in an emergency outage situation.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
I suggest either Veeam or ShadowProtect for backup and recovery. Use a DR focused product for this please.
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MaheshArchitectCommented:
Regular AD system state backup can save you during disaster as recovering single DC and recovering entire AD are two different things
If you have multiple DC's and if one goes down, you don,t need to restore server from backup
Simply promote new ADC and u r done

The ad backup (need to use more recent to avoid loss) is useful when your all DC's become unusable or disaster happens for any reason, at that time you can restore entire AD - the process is called as forest recovery and details are available on tech net

U wanted to keep standby VM as offline DC, that will help you to recover from complete disaster (no single dc is usable)
However still u need to follow entire forest recovery process
Apart from that if single dc goes down, you would not be able to use saved image as it might born multiple issues and when simple way is available why complicate things
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COM1Author Commented:
Thanks all for commenting - All your contributed  information makes sense.....the problem is that these 15 locations are small businesses with only one physical Server acting as a AD DC File Server  with 10 workstations or less and currently no virtualization in the infrastructure.
These 15 locations are the last locations who still depend on a physical Server as the AD DC File Server - When the time is right they too will be migrated to a virtualized Hyper-V environment consisting of a AD DC VM and separate File Server VM.

It sounds like my planned direction is a gamble at best.
After reading all the contributed information it appears this is the best solution:
(I am asking….not inferring)
1)      Create a backup AD DC Hyper-V VM Server and keep it off line.
2)      Daily off-site backup of the AD data.
3)      When/if the physical AD DC Server fails – bring the backup AD DC Hyper-V backup VM Server on-line and restore AD data via DSRM
This solution is cumbersome and time consuming at best but it sounds like anything less than the 3 steps  above will
in effective.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
forget all that and use Veeam Backup Windows Agent...set it and forget it...

HOW TO: Perform a Physical to Virtual (P2V) Conversion the easy way from a computer backup (image).

not only is it free, it  can also create if you want sometime in the future a virtual version, and also has bare metal recovery options for DR, oh and did I mention it's all FREE!

Try it out, and see how easy it is, to get working, and recover!

Set it and forget it, and just let it sit their backing up daily to a NAS another network share...

So you've got all your bases covered...

1. Restore to same server if you wish. (physical)
2. Restore to new server if you wish (physical)
3. Restore to a virtual server, either VMware, Microsoft, or something else...
4. Yes, ALL this for FREE, did I mention that!!!! FREE!

What more could you ask for, still reading this, and not downloaded it yet!

Disclaimer - I do not work for Veeam! Just believe in letting people know about this Golden Nugget!
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Your first step is a bad move. DCs expect to talk to each other. Keeping one offline just for DR actually makes things worse.  And restores more complicated. Just back up your existing DC with a known good process. Don't try to reinvent the wheel here.
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Ravi Kumar AtreyCloud Specialist- AzureCommented:
The other best way you can do is, setup ADC on VM on your local sites and put their IPs on desktop/server's DNS configurations, so that things can get resolved by different ADCs in case, primary goes down.

This will make more sense to you instead do other stuff.

Later, you can degrade the physical machine's AD and upgrade any other ADC running on VM..
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COM1Author Commented:
Thank you all for contributing your knowledge and expertise - I'm sure you have all saved me a headache!
Unfortunately current resources don't facilitate creating/implementing a 2nd AD DC on the network - physical or virtual.
Using Disk2VHD to create a "backup" image copy  of an Active Directory/Domain Controller is off the table.
 I will test Andrew's idea of utilizing Veeam's free Backup product and go from there.
Thank all again - I appreciate your time.
John B
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