Can vCenter Snapshot restore my DC?

Abdulrahman 101 Reputation points
2022-10-06T09:11:51.06+00:00

I have multiple DCs and one of them got crushed after I have done two restarts. Those DCs are VMs over my vCenter environment. I have snapshots for those DCs, the question is, will the snapshots restore my lost DC with all configuration? If I will start the process of restoring will this effect the operation or cause any misbehavior in other DCs? What could be the best practice here?

I would love to hear the feedback from such an expert here in our community.

Thank you!

Active Directory
Active Directory
A set of directory-based technologies included in Windows Server.
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  1. SChalakov 10,271 Reputation points MVP
    2022-10-06T11:08:56.43+00:00

    Hi @Abdulrahman ,

    I would say that this particular question should be aksed not here, but in a VMWare forum, but the answer would also depend on how the VM is backed up (VMBackup, Virtual Disk Backup, etc.).
    I would not use VMWare as Primary Backup Source or for disaster Recovery Purposes, because if not done properly you can get your DC in a the so called USN rollback state, meaning that it will block its inbound and outbound replications and no other DC would replicate with it.

    According to the following VMWare document from 2020:

    Virtualizing Active Directory Domain Services On VMware vSphere
    https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/solutions/virtualizing-active-directory-domain-services-on-vmware-vsphere.pdf

    VMWare offers the so called Safeguard Feature, which is able to properly handle USN changes up on restore, thus allowing the continuous functionality of your DC. From the document:

    The domain controller safeguard feature allows a domain controller that has been reverted from a snapshot, restored from a virtual machine-level backup, or replicated for disaster recovery purposes, to continue to function as a member of the Active Directory

    Still, I would use Windows Backup to Backup up the System State of the domain controllers, because in case something happens I could try aat least to get support from Microsoft in some way (although their support policy regarding restore of backkups isn't fun). In the case of VMWare you are definetely in an unsupported scenario.

    Hope this makes things a bit clearer for you.

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    (If the reply was helpful please don't forget to upvote and/or accept as answer, thank you)
    Regards
    Stoyan Chalakov

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  2. Limitless Technology 39,416 Reputation points
    2022-10-07T14:33:00.583+00:00

    Hello there,

    Snapshot by itself is not a backup. But it can be used as an essential part of the backup process. Snapshot is used as a part of the data movement process to a backup file.

    Snapshot refers to an instantaneous “picture” of your server’s file system at a certain period. This picture apprehends the entire file system as it was when the snapshot was taken. When a snapshot is accustomed to restoring the server, the server will revert to exactly how it was at the time of the snapshot. Snapshots are designed for short-term storage. When space departs, new snapshots eventually overwrite older ones. For this reason, snapshots are usually only good if you want to revert to a recent version of your server.

    You can use the snapshot as a source of backup. Or you can set the database to give itself a new invocation ID by using the procedure in the To restore a previous version of a virtual domain controller VHD without system state data backup section of Running Domain Controllers in Hyper-V.

    Follow here for more info https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/troubleshoot/windows-server/identity/detect-and-recover-from-usn-rollback

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    --If the reply is helpful, please Upvote and Accept it as an answer–

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