Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Serafima Al, Janakiram MSV, John Katrick

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Mobile IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Machine Learning , 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
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, whic...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
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 settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...