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Recovery Manager for AD Disaster Recovery Edition 10.0.1 - User Guide

Overview Backing up data
Permissions required for the Backup operation Managing Backup Agent Using a least-privileged user account to back up data Creating backups Retrying backup creation Enabling backup encryption Backing up AD LDS (ADAM) Backing up cross-domain group membership Backing up distributed file system (DFS) data Backup scheduling Setting performance options Setting advanced backup options Using Forest Recovery Agent Unpacking backups Using e-mail notification Viewing backup creation results Getting started
Permissions required to use Recovery Manager for Active Directory Recovery Manager Console Icons in the user interface Getting and using help Configuring Windows Firewall Using Computer Collections Managing Recovery Manager for Active Directory configuration Licensing
Restoring data
Getting started with Active Directory recovery Managing deleted or recycled objects Restoring backed up System State components Using granular online restore Restoring AD LDS (ADAM) Selectively restoring Active Directory object attributes Restoring objects in an application directory partition Restoring object quotas Restoring cross-domain group membership Performing a restore without having administrator privileges Reports about objects and operations Using complete offline restore Offline restore implications Restoring SYSVOL authoritatively Performing a granular restore of SYSVOL Recovering Group Policy Restoring data from third-party backups Using the Extract Wizard Restoring passwords and SID history
Fault tolerance Consolidating backup registration data Monitoring Recovery Manager for Active Directory Recovering an Active Directory forest
Permissions required to use Forest Recovery Console Forest Recovery Console Managing a recovery project Install Active Directory from Media recovery method Install Active Directory recovery method Managing Forest Recovery Agent Rebooting domain controllers manually Specifying fallback IP addresses to access a domain controller Resetting DSRM Administrator Password Purging Kerberos Tickets Managing the Global Catalog servers Managing FSMO roles Manage DNS Client Settings Configuring Windows Firewall Forest recovery overview Selectively recovering domains in a forest Recovering SYSVOL Deleting domains during recovery Resuming an interrupted forest recovery Recovering read-only domain controllers (RODCs) Checking forest health Collecting diagnostic data for technical support
Bare metal forest recovery Using Management Shell Creating virtual test environments Using Recovery Manager for Active Directory web interface Appendices
Frequently asked questions Best practices for creating backups for forest recovery Best practices for recovering a forest Descriptions of recovery or verification steps Backup Wizard Online Restore Wizard Online Restore Wizard for AD LDS (ADAM) Group Policy Restore Wizard Repair Wizard Extract Wizard Events generated by Recovery Manager for Active Directory

Recovery plan

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.

Running custom scripts

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

  • Before the recovery operation starts in the current project.
  • Each time before the restore from backup operation starts for a domain controller in the current project.
  • After the restore from backup operation completes for all domain controllers in the current project.
  • Before the reinstall Active Directory operation starts in the current project.
  • Each time before the reinstall Active Directory operation starts for a domain controller in the current project.
  • Each time the reinstall Active Directory operation completes for a domain controller in the current project.
  • After the recovery operation completes in the current project.

Technical overview

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition performs the following functions:

  • Regular backup of domain controllers’ System State across a network, including the Active Directory database and SYSVOL, and maintenance of one or more secure repositories containing the backed-up System State data.
  • Creation of BMR backups for the forest bare metal restore.
  • Wizard-driven, remotely administered restoration of Active Directory object data and Group Policy information from a point-in-time backup.
  • Active Directory, AD LDS (ADAM), and Group Policy comparison reporting, troubleshooting, and investigation.

Creating backups

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition provides the facility to create backups of the System State data on domain controllers, including the Active Directory database and Windows Server BMR backups.

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).

Backup encryption

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..

Creating unpacked backups

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.

Using third-party backups

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.

Cross-domain backup of group membership

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.

Considerations for backing up Active Directory

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.

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