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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

Backup Agent

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition employs a Backup Agent to back up remote domain controllers and AD LDS (ADAM) hosts. This is because some backup APIs provided by the operating system cannot be used to access a target domain controller or AD LDS (ADAM) host from the Recovery Manager Console. Therefore, Backup Agent must be installed on a remote domain controller or AD LDS (ADAM) host in order to gain access to its specific objects. Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition can automatically install Backup Agent before starting a backup, and remove it upon the completion of backup operation. Alternatively, you can preinstall Backup Agent manually. For more information on the advantages of using preinstalled Backup Agent, see Using preinstalled Backup Agent below.

Figure 1: Backup Agents

The figure above illustrates how Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition employs Backup Agent when creating backups. Backup Agent is installed on domain controllers DC1 and DC2. Backup Agent compresses the local data and sends it to the computer running Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition, which in turn transfers the compressed data to the backup repository (Central Storage Location).

Since Backup Agent compresses the data before sending it over the network, the network load is decreased significantly. The average compression ratio is 7:1. The use of Backup Agent also provides increased scalability and performance by allowing the creation of backups on multiple domain controllers in parallel.

Separate credentials for Backup Agent

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition allows to run Backup Agent in the security context of a specific user account. Since Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition needs administrative access to the domain controller in order to run Backup Agent, the account under which Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition is running must belong to the Administrators group on that domain controller or AD LDS (ADAM) host, providing administrative access to the entire domain. If Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition cannot be started under such an account, separate credentials (user logon name and password) should be specified, so that Backup Agent is run under an account that has sufficient privileges.

Using preinstalled Backup Agent

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition allows you to back up Computer Collections using Backup Agent manually preinstalled on each target domain controller. This method enables you to

  • Perform a backup operation without having domain administrator privileges. It is sufficient if Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition runs under a backup operator's credentials.
  • Reduce network traffic when backing up the Computer Collection.
  • Back up domain controllers in domains that have no trust relationships established with the domain in which Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition is running, solving the so-called “no trust” problem.

Recovering Active Directory

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition enables the recovery of a portion of the directory or the entire directory, in the event of corruption or inadvertent modification. The granular, object-level, online restore may also be used to undelete directory objects. These powerful, security-sensitive functions of Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition should only be performed by highly trusted directory administrators.

Figure 2: Recovering Active Directory

If certain objects are inadvertently deleted or modified in Active Directory, they can be restored from a backup of a domain controller’s System State, without restarting the domain controller or affecting other objects. If the Active Directory database on a particular domain controller has been corrupted, the entire database can be restored from a System State backup created for that domain controller. All the restore operations are administered remotely.

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition offers the following restore methods:

  • Granular online restore. Allows you to select Active Directory objects from a backup, and then restore them to Active Directory. This method allows for the recovery of individual Active Directory objects, and selected attribute values in Active Directory objects, with the least amount of administrative effort.
  • Complete offline restore. Restarts the target domain controller in Directory Services Restore mode, restores the Active Directory database from the selected backup, and then restarts the domain controller in normal operational mode. This method enables the recovery of the entire Active Directory database on a domain controller, and is most useful when recovering from database corruption.

Active Directory recovery options

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition enables the fast recovery of Active Directory from a disaster. The flowchart below indicates the most suitable recovery method depending on the type of disaster, which could be data corruption, database corruption or complete Active Directory corruption.

Data corruption occurs when directory objects have been inadvertently deleted or modified, and the deletion or modification has replicated to other domain controllers within the environment.

Database corruption refers to a situation in which an Active Directory failure prevents a domain controller from starting in normal mode, or a hardware problem such as hard disk corruption on a domain controller.

Also you may experience complete Active directory corruption due to the Active Directory environment has been attacked by ransomware, or all domain controllers in the forest have been physically destroyed, etc.

Figure 3: Active Directory Recovery Options

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition offers the following methods for restoring Active Directory object data on a domain controller:

  • Granular online restore
  • Complete offline restore
  • Bare metal recovery

Granular online restore is the most advanced method, allowing you to restore individual directory objects from a backup, without restarting the target domain controller or affecting other directory objects.

Complete offline restore only allows you to restore the entire Active Directory database on a domain controller while Active Directory is offline. To take Active Directory offline, Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition restarts the domain controller in Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM), resulting in a period of downtime. In addition, complete offline restore affects all directory objects on the target domain controller, which may result in the loss of some of the most recent updates.

Bare metal recovery provides an ability to perform complete restore of Active Directory at the object level, the directory level and the operating system level across the entire forest

All restore operations are remotely administered, so there is no need for an administrator to be physically present at the domain controller. In most cases, it will not be necessary to shut down the domain controller in order to perform the restore: it remains online and functional throughout the recovery.

Granular online restore

To achieve near-zero downtime when recovering Active Directory, Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition provides the granular online restore method. Two options are available with this method:

  • Compare, restore, and report changes in Active Directory. With this option, you can restore particular objects from a backup, and select the necessary objects based on a per-attribute comparison of the objects in a backup with those in Active Directory. Comparison reports are also available.
  • Compare two backups and report differences. With this option, you can make a per-attribute comparison of the objects in two Active Directory backups. Comparison reports allow you to view the object modifications made in the period between the backups.

The granular online restore method allows you to retrieve individual directory objects from a backup, and then restore them to a domain controller. The operation can be performed on any domain controller that can be accessed remotely. In addition, granular online restore does not require you to restart the target domain controller, nor does it affect any directory objects that are not selected for recovery.

In addition to selectively restoring individual Active Directory objects, the granular online restore method allows you to selectively restore individual attributes of objects in Active Directory, such as the User Password, Group Membership, or User Certificate attributes of a User object. The ability to restore selected attributes ensures that valuable changes, made to Active Directory objects since the time the backup was created, are not overridden. This provides the flexibility to efficiently resolve potential problems that may result from the improper modification of individual attributes of Active Directory objects.

The granular online restore should be used in situations where important object data has been inadvertently deleted or changed in Active Directory, and the changes have been propagated to other domain controllers. To recover from such an event, you can carry out a granular online restore to Active Directory using a backup that was created before the objects in question were deleted or modified.

After Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition completes a granular online restore on the target domain controller, the restored objects are replicated to the other domain controllers via the normal replication process. Given that the objects recovered by a granular online restore have a higher version number, recently deleted or modified object data is ignored during replication.

Granular online restore allows you to roll back changes made to Active Directory, and return individual directory objects and attributes to the state they were in when the backup was created. It is important to note that a granular online restore only affects the objects and attributes selected for recovery. All other objects remain unchanged in Active Directory. Furthermore, if the value of an attribute in Active Directory is identical to the value it has in the backup, the granular online restore does not attempt to change the attribute.

A granular online restore is especially useful when you need to recover some directory objects in a short period. For example, suppose a user account is accidentally deleted from Active Directory, but exists in a backup. To recover that user account, you can perform a granular online restore, selecting the user account from the backup. The selected user account is restored to Active Directory with the same properties and permissions that it had when the backup was created. No other user accounts are affected.

Undeleting (reanimating) objects

With Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition, you can selectively recover deleted Active Directory objects by undeleting (reanimating) them. To undelete (reanimate) an object, Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition fully relies on the functionality provided by Active Directory, therefore to use this method you need no Active Directory backups. Note that you can only undelete objects in an Active Directory forest whose functional level is higher than Windows 2000.

The result of the undelete operation performed on an object depends on whether Microsoft’s Active Directory Recycle Bin feature is enabled or disabled in your environment. Microsoft’s Active Directory Recycle Bin is a new feature that first appeared in the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. For more information on Microsoft’s Active Directory Recycle Bin feature, see What's New in AD DS: Active Directory Recycle Bin (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=141392).

In an Active Directory environment where Microsoft’s Active Directory Recycle Bin feature is not supported or disabled, a deleted object is retained in Active Directory for a specified configurable period of time that is called tombstone lifetime. A deleted object becomes a tombstone that retains only a partial set of the object’s attributes that existed prior to deletion. During that period, you can use Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition to undelete (reanimate) the object. Performing the undelete operation on the object will only recover the object’s attributes retained in the tombstone.

When an object is deleted in a forest where Microsoft’s Active Directory Recycle Bin feature is enabled, the object goes through the following states:

  • Deleted state. The object retains all its attributes, links, and group memberships that existed immediately before the moment of deletion. The object remains in this state for a specified configurable period of time that is called deleted object lifetime. When the applicable deleted object lifetime period expires, the object is transferred to the next state—“recycled”.

While an object remains in the “deleted” state, you can use Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition to undelete (reanimate) the object with all its attributes, links, and group memberships that existed immediately before the moment of deletion.

Alternatively, you can authoritatively restore the object to its backed-up state from a backup created with Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition.

If necessary, you can use Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition to override the applicable deleted object lifetime setting and manually change a deleted object’s state from “deleted” to “recycled” by using a cmdlet provided by the Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition Management Shell.

  • Recycled state. After a deleted object is transferred to the “recycled” state, most of the object’s attributes are purged (stripped away), and the object retains only those few attributes that are essential to replicate the object’s new state to other domain controllers in the forest. The object remains in the recycled state for a specified configurable period of time that is called recycled object lifetime.

To manage recycled objects, you can use the Deleted Objects container provided by Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition. In this container, you can view a list of all recycled objects in the domain, selectively recycle deleted objects, and recover recycled objects from backups created with Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition.

Complete offline restore

You can use complete offline restore to restore the entire Active Directory database from backup media without reinstalling the operating system or reconfiguring the domain controller. The restore can be performed on any domain controller that can be accessed remotely. By default, this operation restores all directory objects on the target domain controller non-authoritatively. This means that the restored data is then updated via normal replication. A non-authoritative restore is typically used to restore a domain controller that has completely failed due to hardware or software problems.

A complete offline restore also allows you to mark individual objects for authoritative restore. However, given that the granular online restore process provides the same functionality with much less effort and overhead, it is the recommend method for restoring individual objects to Active Directory.

During the final stage of a complete offline restore, the recovered domain controller is restarted in normal operational mode. Normal replication then updates the domain controller with all changes not overridden by the authoritative restore. It is important to note that until the replication update has completed, some of the directory object data held on the recovered domain controller may be unreliable. Therefore, execution of a complete offline restore may result in additional downtime due to replication delays.

There is one other consideration to make when performing a non-authoritative restore. The restored domain controller may lose information about the directory updates that were made after it was backed up. For example, suppose that some directory objects were added or modified on the domain controller after the backup was created, but the new objects or modifications were not replicated to other domain controllers due to network problems. In this case, when the domain controller is restored, the new objects or modifications will be lost, because they were never replicated to other domain controllers, and therefore cannot be applied to the restored domain controller.

Bare metal recovery

With the bare metal recovery option, you can restore the system state of entire Active Directory forest after disaster situation when the recovered domain controllers do not have any pre-installed operating system.

The recovery process follows Microsoft best practices by using the native recovery methods:

  • Recovery from BMR backup (Bare Metal Restore)
  • (Optional) Restore Active Directory and Registry data from RMAD backup to bring Active Directory to the latest state

Recovering Group Policy

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition enables the recovery of Group Policy data from corruption or inadvertent modification, which can be caused by either hardware failure or human error.

Figure 4: Group Policy Recovery

If specific Group Policy objects or links are inadvertently deleted or modified, they can be restored from a backup of a domain controller’s System State, without restoring the entire System State or Active Directory, restarting the domain controller, or affecting other objects.

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition includes the following options for Group Policy recovery:

  • Policy settings restore. If the Group Policy object was modified since the backup was created, this option restores all policy settings to the state they were in at the time of the backup. If the Group Policy object was deleted, this option creates a new object with the same name and policy settings as the backed-up object.
  • Security settings restore. Restores all security information contained in the Group Policy object. As a result, all users and security groups receive the access permissions that were specified in the Group Policy object at the time it was backed up.
  • GPO links restore. Restores all links associated with the Group Policy object to the state they were in at the time the backup was created. As a result, the object is once again used by the same sites, domains, and organizational units that were linked to it at the time the backup was created.
  • Comparison reports. Shows whether Group Policy object was deleted or modified since the backup time.

You can use any combination of these options. For example, suppose some links to a Group Policy object are accidentally deleted. If your backup contains an outdated version of the Group Policy object, you can restore only the links, without restoring the policy settings or security settings.

Group Policy restore

To eliminate downtime when recovering Group Policy, Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition provides the Group Policy Restore method. This method allows individual Group Policy objects to be restored to a selected domain controller. The operation can be performed on any domain controller that can be accessed remotely. Using this method, domain controllers do not need to be restarted, and only those objects selected for recovery are affected.

For this type of restore, it is not necessary to create any special backups; you may use any regular backup of a domain controller’s System State.

A Group Policy Restore is particularly helpful when critical Group Policy objects or links have been inadvertently deleted or changed. To recover from such situations, you may carry out a Group Policy Restore to a domain controller using a System State backup that was created before the objects in question were deleted or modified.

Group Policy Restore allows you to roll back changes made to Group Policy information, and return individual Group Policy objects to the state they were in when the backup was created. It is important to note that a Group Policy Restore only affects the object selected for recovery, and optionally, the links to that object. Any objects that are not involved in the operation remain unchanged in the domain.

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