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Third-party backup for Windows 2000 Active Directory Domain Controller

Our network is based on a Windows 2000 domain. Our Active Directory Domain Controller runs on an HP ProLiant server with Windows 2000 Standard Server SP3. Our Windows 2000 Active Directory Domain Controller needs to be backed up and restored at a different location on a different hardware platform (on a Dell server).

When we use the native/built-in Windows 2000 Backup and Restore, our Active Directory cannot be restored completely due to hardware differences. Even Microsoft states on its Web site that "there has been some testing with restoring from different vendors, from Compaq computers to Dell computers or vice versa, and they have gotten that to work on occasion, but that is not a guarantee ... that it's going to work."

Is there a third-party backup and restore software product that can back up a Windows 2000 Active Directory Domain Controller and do bare-metal restore on a completely different hardware configuration?

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At first glance, there are two products that come to mind, which can help you accomplish this. The first one is Veritas' Bare Metal Restore with Dissimilar System Restore, which interfaces with Veritas NetBackup. As the name suggests, it allows not only restoring a system from the OS level and up but it also allows to do it across a dissimilar hardware configuration. The second product is Cristie Bare Machine Recovery (CBMR), which is also capable of recovering to dissimilar hardware. CBMR offers the added benefit of being able to function as a standalone product or be integrated with ITSM, NetBackup or Legato Networker.

At a high level, both products require a certain amount of setup and pre-configuration effort but work in a similar way once installed: The system to be restored comes up with very limited software (diskette) and is automatically rebuilt from a customized install image (much like what is known as a Windows silent install) that is either on a CD or a network share. When fully integrated with a backup product such as CBMR with Tivoli Storage Manager or BMR and NetBackup, other backup data can be restored directly from the backup server.

This was first published in March 2005

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