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Disaster Recovery/Upgrade Testing/Network Duplication with VMware

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  • Disaster Recovery/Upgrade Testing/Network Duplication with VMware

    First, let me start by saying that I understand that what I'm about to ask for has, at least in some part, been asked before. But nothing that I have found so far has given me enough information to proceed, so I'm starting this thread. I apologize up front for any duplication.

    What I want to do is setup a VMware copy of my network so that I can do four things:

    1). Test disaster recovery of a DC and Exchange.
    2). Plan for/test the upgrade of Server 2003 --> Server 2008.
    3). Plan for/test the upgrade of Exchange 2003 --> Exchange 2007.
    4). Determine if ISA 2006 is enough for my needs.

    To accomplish that, I have the following resources at my disposal:

    A). VMware workstation.
    B). Backup Exec backups of Exchange.
    C). ntbackup for all other servers except for Exchange.
    D). The live production machines.
    E). Lots of disk space.
    F). Patience.
    G). Disk Imaging Tools - Ghost, Acronis, dd from a Linux Live CD, etc.

    If I need other things, I can get them, but I would prefer not to purchase something unless it is required.

    My current network is split across three sites, but everything I want to upgrade is in our main site. In that site I have 2 domain controllers, the Exchange machine, an ISA 2006 machine that hosts Outlook Web Access and allows our smart-phones to handle "over the air" syncs.

    What I'm thinking I can do is create virtual copies of the "primary" Domain Controller (with the FMSO roles/Global Catalog, etc), the Exchange box, the ISA box and a workstation (maybe 2 to simulate inside and outside access to Exchange)

    From this point on, I'm stuck. I don't know how to get my existing "pieces" into the virtual setup. But I figure it's a good way to test disaster recovery - bare metal, dissimilar hardware, etc.

    What I need is a step-by-step guide from here, Microsoft, or other reputable place. I would also ask that we not discuss this in generalities, assume that I don't know how to do a system state backup. The more detail I get, the better.

    Thanks in advance for the help!
    Last edited by ScatterBrain; 28th October 2009, 20:43. Reason: fixed typos, defined ISA 2006


    "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"
    -- The Mythbusters

  • #2
    Re: Disaster Recovery/Upgrade Testing/Network Duplication with VMware

    Looks like my first step is going to be getting the virtual domain controller up and running.

    From my research, it appears the best way of doing this is to make a new server in VMware, join it to the domain, promote it and allow it to replicate (probably overnight). Once the virtual domain controller has a copy of the active directory, I need to "disconnect" it by changing the virtual network adapter from the bound interface to the host-only interface.

    Here's my first hiccup. My real network is split amoung three sites. Each site has a defined subnet associated with it. If I "change" that subnet by moving virtual network interfaces is that going to break things?

    I know the easy way to find out - just doing it. But I was hoping that someone here could spare me the frustration of finding it and solving it.
    Last edited by ScatterBrain; 29th October 2009, 17:42. Reason: fixed typos and delete repeated words


    "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"
    -- The Mythbusters


    • #3
      Re: Disaster Recovery/Upgrade Testing/Network Duplication with VMware

      Firstly - it is a good Idea to take it step by step.

      The method is correct. Add a new VM (let's call it DR-DC). Promote to DC. Allow replication.

      Disconnect the machine from the network.

      Clone the VM (new machine DR-DC-Clone).

      Power on DR-DC-Clone - disconnected from the Production network. Seize all roles to DR-DC-Clone and fix up any issues you might have with replication. forcefully remove other DC's from your Disconnected setup.

      Once that is all up and runnining - power on DR-DC again (do not eait longer than 60 days from start ot finish otherwise the DC will tombstone). Allow for replication.

      Demote DR-DC. Allow time for replication to clean up in AD.

      And regarding your question about different Subnets - that should not pose to be a problem.

      Take it step by step.

      First get your AD working in the Lab (Disconnected environment) and go on from there.
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