active directory restore on different hardware
I been thinking a lot about disaster recovery at the moment and was thinking what would I do if i had a major disaster at the school I work at. i.e. all servers down due to a natural disaster water, fire etc.
So i decided on a little project for myself with restoring the schools active directory on a test server using VMware to see the results. If I manage to get that working I was then going to restore the whole of exchange on there as well. Basically more or less a replica of our main DC but in a test environment.
I wish I hadn't started because from day 1 I been having problems. I think the issue is because I am using different set of hardware to restore AD.
From my knowledge I know if you want to backup AD you need to backup the system state of one of your DC's which I have done. The problem is with systemstate it does everything such as HAL, registry as well as AD of that particular server you take the backup from.
Problem is when your restore that you get all sorts of problems. Everytime I have tried all I have been getting is BSOD (blue screen of death) errors once I restart the test server.
I have followed some whitepapers from Microsoft and I get the feeling that Microsoft dont really recommend restore AD onto different hardware, in fact they don't seem to support it. All the Server 2003 books I own dont really have much useful information on this either.
So I was wondering if fellow managers and technicians have addressed this problem with restoring AD on different hardware. Microsoft recommend that when you restore AD you should have another DC in the domain so the new server can replicate from that. In most situations that would be fine. Where I work we have 3 DC's and if a server fails I would normally follow that route but if you have a big disaster and you effectively have to start the network from scratch using nothing but NT backups what do you do?
Any sort of advice anything can offer would be recommended. I hope I can start a useful discussion on this topic...