Recovery Plan is designed to improve the overall transparency of the recovery process. The plan is a detailed recovery process roadmap you can generate and view for the current recovery project in the Forest Recovery Console. The plan provides an overview of recovery settings specified for the domain controllers in the recovery project, thus allowing you to gain a better understanding and control of every aspect of the forest or domain recovery.
Generating and reviewing the recovery plan before you proceed with the recovery helps you identify and if necessary avoid any unwanted recovery actions by adjusting the project settings appropriately. You can also print out the generated project recovery plan or export it to a number of presentation formats provided by Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SRSS) on which the Recovery Plan feature builds, such as PDF, XML, CSV, TIFF, and Excel.
You can configure Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition to automatically run custom scripts on the Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition computer before, after, or during the recovery operation.
This version of Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition is supplied with the Microsoft Windows Script File (.wsf) file that serves as a template where you can insert your custom scripts written in the VBScript or JScript language.
The .wsf file has a number of XML elements where you can insert your scripts. Depending on the XML element where you insert it, your script will run
Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition performs the following functions:
Both types of backups can be created for any Active Directory domain controller available on the network. Backup creation is a task that can be performed on a regular basis without interrupting the operation of the domain controller.
Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition lets you organize domain controllers into collections, and establish a backup scheduling frequency and “allowed hours” during which the backup process may run. Based on the frequency of updates to the directory data store, you can configure a backup schedule for each collection.
Depending on the requirements of your enterprise, you can configure a retention policy to specify how many backups are retained: for example, all saved backups or a number of the most recent backups. Different policy settings can be specified for different domain controller collections.
For System State data backups, it is not necessary to maintain a single, centralized repository: several repositories, perhaps based on the site topology, can make your deployment more WAN-friendly. To minimize bandwidth consumption, Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition employs agents that compress the data to be backed up, before sending it across the network.
For Windows Server BMR backups, you have to set up the dedicated backup server performing the role of an SMB repository. The backups are created on domain controllers and saved to the SMB share.
Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition uses the Microsoft Tape Format (MTF) for System State backup files. Therefore, MTF-compliant backup applications can catalog the backup files and restore data backed up with Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition. For example, backed up data can be restored with the Windows backup tools, if no compression and encryption is used during the backup creation.
Windows Server BMR backups are stored in VHD (Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2) format or VHDX (for higher Windows versions).
Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition allows backups to be encrypted and protected with a password, to prevent unauthorized access. This password is used to generate a passphrase with which the backup is encrypted. The password cannot be used directly to unlock the backup container *.vhd(x) file.
For System State backup encryption, the product uses Microsoft’s implementation of the AES-256 algorithm from RSA, Inc. (Microsoft Enhanced RSA and AES Cryptographic Provider), with the maximum cipher strength. The use of the Microsoft Enhanced RSA and AES Cryptographic Provider ensures that backups are encrypted with 256–bit cipher strength
For Bare Metal Recovery backup encryption, Recovery Manager for Active Directory uses a virtual hard disk encrypted with BitLocker Drive Encryption as a container for the backup (256-bit AES encryption). The BitLocker Drive Encryption feature should be installed on all backed up domain controllers and on the Forest Recovery Console machine to support encrypted BMR backups. But note that the BitLocker feature does not encrypt DC drives automatically..
You can have Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition keep unpacked Active Directory or AD LDS (ADAM) backups in any appropriate location on your network.
Unpacked backups can be reused for subsequent starts of the Online Restore Wizard or Group Policy Restore Wizard. The use of unpacked backups accelerates the backup data preparation step of those wizards, because the unpacking process may be a lengthy operation.
Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition makes it possible to use Active Directory or AD LDS (ADAM) backups created with third-party backup tools. Before using this feature, unpack the backup to an alternate location with the corresponding third-party backup tool, and then register the database file (ntds.dit or adamntds.dit) using the Online Restore Wizard or Online Restore Wizard for AD LDS (ADAM), respectively.
When backing up Global Catalog servers, you have the option to force Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition to collect group membership information from all domains within the Active Directory forest. This option ensures that group membership spanning multiple domains is fully backed up.
It is recommended that you restore objects from Global Catalog backups that were created with this option. Otherwise, restored objects may not retrieve their membership in some local groups, because even Global Catalog servers do not store full information about group memberships. For example, information about membership in domain local groups is only stored in the home domains of those groups.
In an Active Directory environment, each domain controller maintains its own Active Directory database. Therefore, a backup of the Active Directory database is domain controller-specific. To completely back up Active Directory, you must back up the directory database on every domain controller.
To restore deleted or corrupted objects, it is recommended to back up at least two domain controllers for each domain for redundancy. If you intend to restore cross-domain group membership information, then it is also necessary to back up a global catalog server.
Another reason for backing up the directory database on every domain controller is loose consistency. Replication of changes made to Active Directory does not occur immediately. The replication process first accumulates all changes, and then provides them to the participating domain controllers. As a result, the directory database on any domain controller is normally in a state of loose consistency. The directory object data on individual domain controllers differs to some extent, given that replication updates are either in transit between domain controllers, or waiting to be initiated.
The age of the backup must also be considered. Active Directory prevents the restoration of data older than the “tombstone lifetime”—a setting specified in Active Directory. Because of this, an Active Directory backup should be created at least once within the tombstone lifetime. However, it is strongly recommended that backups of the directory database be created more often than this.