Identically recreate your domain controllers in a test environment

If you need to recreate your production environment in a test environment, a restore may not always work.

If you use a hardware-based RAID and have a RAID 1, mirrored set for your OS drive, you can use one of the mirrored drives as the basis for another mirrored set on an identical server to create another, identical domain.

  1. Make sure you have a good backup, just in case something goes wrong (although it shouldn't).

  2. Make sure both of your servers have their RAID cards configured the same.

  3. Also, make sure the two domains are not connected in any way, so you don't have IP and naming conflicts.

  4. Power off the server you want to copy.

  5. Pull the second mirror drive from the source server and place it in the second slot of the destination server. Leave the opposite drive bays empty so the servers come up and recognize a drive failure.

  6. Follow your RAID card's procedures for rebuilding in case of a failure. You will be using two new second, mirrored drives to rebuild the split drives as two seperate sets. (Usually this is a matter of inserting the new empty drive, bringing it online, recreating the mirror and telling it to rebuild.)

You should now have two identical servers and domains with duplicated accounts, permissions, etc.

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This was first published in October 2001

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