Click here to close now.



Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Steven Mandel, Gerardo A Dada, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Mobile IoT, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, Silverlight, Agile Computing

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Safely Cloning Virtualized Domain Controllers with Windows Server 2012

VM-Generation-ID and New Config Files provide ability to rapidly deploy Active Directory

When virtualizing Active Directory Domain Controllers in the past, we've needed to be very careful that we don't invoke any steps, such as applying an old snapshot, that could possibly cause USN rollback to occur in the state of a Domain Controller's replica of the AD database and risk AD corruption.  Beginning with Windows Server 2012, we've incorporated a new VM-Generation-ID unique identifier as an additional attribute of a Domain Controller's AD computer object as well as the VM container that is running the virtualized DC instance.  When a virtualized DC starts up, Windows Server 2012 checks for a match between the VM-Generation-ID recorded on the VM instance and the VM-Generation-ID recorded on the DC's computer object in AD.  If there's a mismatch, Windows Server knows that a possible virtualization snapshot or imaging event has occurred and it dumps the current RID pool and USN for fresh information to protect the state of AD.

NOTE: The VM-Generation-ID attribute must be supported by the underlying Hypervisor being using to virtualize a Domain Controller instance for the scenarios in this article to be functional.  VM-Generation-ID support is included with Hyper-V v3 in Windows Server 2012, and we're also working with VMware and Citrix to help them provide this support in future versions of their Hypervisors.

CAUTION: Improperly cloning domain controllers in a production environment can result in issues that are difficult to resolve.  I recommend that you test the below steps in an isolated lab environment to make sure that you are comfortable with the process and expected results before attempting to perform these steps in a production environment.

This is pretty cool stuff to protect our Active Directories, but how does this tie into Cloning a Domain Controller?

When attempting to clone a virtualized Domain Controller, the same mismatch in VM-Generation-ID described above will occur.  We can use this as an opportunity to supply additional instructions to the new cloned copy of a Windows Server 2012 DC so that, when it first starts up, it configures itself as an additional Domain Controller in the same Active Directory forest and domain, rather than merely starting up as a raw copy of the original DC.

Why would I want to Clone a Domain Controller?

In large Active Directories, the process of adding a replica domain controller via DCPromo or Server Manager can take a considerably long period of time, due to the need for replicating the entire AD domain database (DIT) to the new Domain Controller.  The newly introduced safe cloning process in Windows Server 2012 can speed this process dramatically when using virtualized Domain Controllers by allowing an IT Pro to safely clone an already replicated Domain Controller to a new virtualized instance.  This can save provisioning time as well as save a great deal of time when recovering from certain disaster scenarios.

Important! Note that you cannot clone the Domain Controller that is running the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) FSMO role - As a best practice, I recommend setting up your first two Domain Controllers as you would normally do for any AD installation and distribute your FSMO roles between them.  Then, setup a third virtualized Domain Controller with no FSMO roles that you will use as the source DC for the cloning process.

Cool!  How do I Clone a Domain Controller with Windows Server 2012?

  1. Ensure that you are using a Hypervisor that supports the new VM-Generation-ID functionality, as described in my note above.
  2. Authorize the original source Domain Controller to be used as the source for cloning by adding it's computer object into the new "Cloneable Domain Controllers" Active Directory group
  3. Confirm clone compatibility with the services running on the original source Domain Controller by running the following PowerShell commmand:

    Get-ADDCCloningExcludedApplicationList

    Review the list of returned services and installed programs with your software vendors to determine if any of these software components will be affected by a change in computer name or computer SID.  You must remove incompatible software from the original source DC prior to cloning, or the process will fail.  For the remaining software, if it is compatible with the cloning process, run the following PowerShell command to update the compatible list of programs to include this additional software:

    Get-ADDCCloningExcludedApplicationList -GenerateXml
  4. Configure the original source Domain Controller with the instructions for configuring the new clone DC by running the below PowerShell command.  This command will record these settings in a file named DCCloneConfig.xml in the NTDS DIT folder ( C:\Windows\NTDS, by default ).  You can find a sample of this file located on your original source Windows Server 2012 domain controller at C:\Windows\System32\SampleDCCloneConfig.xml.

    New-ADDCCloneConfigFile
    -CloneComputerName "Name_of_New_DC"
    -SiteName "Name_of_AD_Site"
    -Static -IPv4Address "IP_Address_of_New_DC"
    -IPv4SubnetMask "Subnet_Mask_for_New_DC"
    -IPv4DefaultGateway "Gateway_For_New_DC"
    -IPv4DNSResolver "IP_Address_of_DNS_Server"
    -PreferredWINSServer "IP_Address_of_WINS_Server"

    For example, the command syntax for the configuration of a new DC named "VirtualDC2" in AD Site "ADSite01" with an IP address of "10.0.1.2" might look like:

    New-ADDCCloneConfigFile
    -CloneComputerName "VirtualDC2"
    -SiteName "ADSite01"
    -Static -IPv4Address "10.0.1.2"
    -IPv4SubnetMask "255.255.255.0"
    -IPv4DefaultGateway "10.0.1.1"
    -IPv4DNSResolver "10.0.0.2"
    -PreferredWINSServer "10.0.0.3"
  5. Shutdown the virtual machine of the original source Domain Controller to prepare it for cloning.  On Hyper-V v3, you can use the following PowerShell command to perform this task:

    Stop-VM  -Name "VirtualDC1" - ComputerName "HyperV1"
  6. Export the virtual machine of the original source Domain Controller to a folder.  On Hyper-V v3, you can use the following PowerShell command to perform this task:

    Export-VM -Name "VirtualDC1" - ComputerName "HyperV1" -Path "D:\VMExport"
  7. Copy the folder contents to a new Hyper-V host server where you will import the D:\VMExport folder to a new cloned VM.  Using your file copy tool of choice - I recommend ROBOCOPY which is included with Windows Server 2012.
  8. Import the VM on the new Hyper-V host and create a new VM-Generation-ID for the newly cloned VM copy:

    $vm = Import-VM -Path "D:\VMExport\VirtualDC1\Virtual Machines" -Copy -GenerateNewId

    NOTE:
    If Importing the VM to the same Hyper-V host as the original source Domain Controller or importing the same exported VM multiple times, you'll also need to specify new unique folder locations for each imported VM using the following command-line switches on the Import-VM command:

    -VhdDestinationPath
    -SnapshotFilePath
    -SmartPagingFilePath
    -VirtualMachinePath
  9. Rename the newly cloned copy of the VM

    Rename-VM -VM $vm -New-Name "VirtualDC2"
  10. Delete any VM snapshots that may have been present in the original source VM prior to exporting

    Get-VMSnapshot -VMName "VirtualDC2" | Remove-VMSnapshot -IncludeAllChildSnapshots
  11. Start your original source Domain Controller VM and your newly cloned Domain Controller VM.  As part of the initial startup process, your newly cloned Domain Controller VM will process the instructions recorded in the DCCloneConfig.xml file to configure itself with a new computername and new IP Address information.

Want to Learn More About Windows Server 2012?

Join the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge at http://aka.ms/earlyexpert to learn more about Windows Server 2012 and begin preparing for the new Windows Server 2012 certification exams.

HTH,

Keith

 

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
industrial company for a multi-year contract initially valued at over $4.0 million. In addition to DataV software, Bsquare will also provide comprehensive systems integration, support and maintenance services. DataV leverages advanced data analytics, predictive reasoning, data-driven diagnostics, and automated orchestration of remediation actions in order to improve asset uptime while reducing service and warranty costs.
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...