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Need help setting up a backup domain server


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#1
jgiurleo

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Hello all,


I am a novice in terms of setting up domains, and need some help. At the moment, I have a 2003 Server machine set up as a domain controller. I have a few XP clients.

What I have been trying to do is configure a backup server, to replace the primary one if necessary. I used Acronis to make an image of the primary server's hard drive and then imaged the second computer with it. So the computers are configured exactly the same. However, when I try to connect a domain client, the new server doesn't recognize it and I can't log in as a domain user. The two computers are exactly the same... why doesn't this work?

Now I CAN get the XP clients to recognize the domain. I take them off of the domain by switching them to "workgroup" and then reboot... and then rejoin the domain on the new computer. This does work, but it's labor intensive.


What am I doing wrong? Thanks for any help on this.
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#2
98springer

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Check the System event log on each server and see what happens when you try to log on. Also check the log on a client and what differences you see logging on to each DC.

I'm not sure that you can just clone a DC and have it work. Seems like one of them would need to be a BDC (backup domain controller) and the DC and BDC replicate account information between each other. When there is a problem, you promote the BDC to DC.

Search support.microsoft.com for a white paper that applies to your specific situation.
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#3
dsenette

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well..what you're doing wrong...is trying to have a normally offline backup...not the most effective for domain structure

if you're wanting to have a true backup domain controller (is this all this system does?) then you can just have a normal 2003 server system...and use dcpromo to promote it to a domain controller...then you have 2 active domain controllers....

you can then set up this second domain controller with DHCP to match the scope of your primary dhcp setup...but turn the dhcp server off on the second domain...then if dc1 goes down..you just turn on dhcp on the second server

you can also set up a secondary DNS server on the second DC..and set the two to replicate between them...then you've got redundant DNS
do the same with WINS if you're using it..

you can set up the secondary DC to match all the settings of the primary DC...and have them both active at the same time

another advantage here is that if you get MANY more pcs and they all try to log on at once...then if you only have one DC...it will get bogged down...with two DCs the one that's starting to get too busy will redirect authentication requests to the other one.
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#4
jgiurleo

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First, thank you both for taking an interest in this helping me out.

Some explanation: I wish I could set up the second server as a true backup domain controller. But in my particular application, the second computer just sits powered off until it is needed. I can't change that... it's an existing setup that has been around a while.

The idea of having a clone ready to swap in seemed like a good one at the time, but it's not working out so well.

What if I set up the second server to replicate the first, and have them both active at the same time, as suggested. Then disconnect the second. Will the clients still recognize the second server if at a later time it gets connected all by itself? That sounds like a different kind of setup then a pure clone, which is what I'm trying to do.

Thanks.
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#5
dsenette

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I can't change that... it's an existing setup that has been around a while.

...if you've already got the hardware sitting in a closet...why can't it be put into production? it won't actually cost anything to do so? just wondering why it HAS to be an ofline replication?

if you were to do this as an offline backup....you COULD actually get things to work..but...not efficiently...and any computers added to the domain while the machine was down would cause issues..

there are programs (NSI doubletake comes to mind) that are designed for what you want to do...it makes an EXACT copy of one machine to another...on a schedule...i don't think the second machine needs to be "active" at the time...but with this kind of setup i think it might work the way you're trying
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#6
jgiurleo

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I'll check it out. Thanks!
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