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Aelita takes the pain out of restoring Active Directory objects

A job that once took hours can now be squeezed into a coffee break. That's the promise Aelita Software makes for its new Active Directory recovery product.

Anyone who has tried to restore Windows 2000 Active Directory objects knows better than to allot just a few minutes for the task. It's a job that takes hours, said Ash Baijnauth, a Sony Corp. system support analyst. Fortunately, Sony found a way to slash that recovery time when it beta-tested ERDisk for Active Directory, a new product in Powell, OH-based Aelita Software's ERDisk disaster recovery solution family. To find out why Baijnauth gives ERDisk for Active Directory a top rating, searchWindowsManageability went to the Aelita's top visionary, President and CEO Ratmir Timashev. In the following Q&A interview, Timashev explains how the latest ERDisk products fill IT managers' need for speedy recovery when too-slow full network backups or too-limited native utilities can't.

searchWindowsManageability: How does ERDisk for Windows NT/2000 Systems and ERDisk for Active Directory complement each other?

These two products can be deployed separately: you can deploy only ERDisk, only ERDisk for Active Directory, or both. The two products share several common features, like the MMC snap-in interface and the configuration data repository. However, ERDisk and ERDisk for Active Directory are different in terms of the types of data they protect and recover. ERDisk for Windows NT/2000 Systems, as the name implies, protects system configuration data, and maintaining the availability of a computer's operating system. ERDisk for Active Directory protects the availability of the enterprise Active Directory service. Its recovery functions are focused on the contents of the Active Directory database -- directory objects and user accounts.

searchWindowsManageability: How quickly can administrators expect a failed system to be recovered using the products?

In most cases, ERDisk enables a ten-minute recovery of failed enterprise systems, returning them to a normal operational state. ERDisk for Active Directory provides for the fast and remote backup and restoration of Active Directory object data with near-zero downtime for domain controllers. In most cases, ERDisk for Active Directory enables a ten-minute recovery of Active Directory from a disaster such as the corruption, loss, or improper modification of system configuration or directory object data. A cause of such a disaster could be hardware or software failures, or a situation in which a human error is involved and erroneous changes are made to system configuration files or Active Directory objects. Both ERDisk and ERDisk for Active Directory enable remote, unattended restoration of data from backups. All the restore operations are conducted remotely, freeing the administrator from the need to be physically present at the affected computer.

searchWindowsManageability: What differentiates ERDisk products from other backup and restore solutions?

To achieve near-zero downtime when restoring Active Directory object data, ERDisk for Active Directory offers a feature-granular (selective) restore. It allows individual objects to be selected in an Active Directory backup and then restored in Active Directory, without affecting the other objects. With the granular restore feature, it only takes ERDisk for Active Directory a few seconds to recover objects that are inadvertently deleted or modified. Unlike conventional alternatives, it does not require that the whole Active Directory database be restored, nor does it involve shutting down and restarting domain controllers.

searchWindowsManageability: How is ERDisk implemented?

It is implemented as an MMC snap-in. ERDisk features a convenient, industry-standard MMC interface, which provides for intuitive operation and close integration with Windows 2000. Installation and configuration can typically be performed in less than an hour. ERDisk is normally installed on an administrator's workstation and performs all operations for backup and recovery remotely.

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