Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor, Trevor Parsons, Sandi Mappic, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Virtualization, Wireless, .NET, AJAX & REA, Silverlight, Web 2.0

Virtualization: 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
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.