In an earlier blog post, I detailed why you need to be prepared to perform a phased recovery in case of a complete Active Directory disaster: By ensuring you can quickly restore at least one domain controller in each domain (phase 1), you can get your business back on its feet as soon as possible, and then turn your attention to the remaining DCs (phase 2). I also explained how to execute phase 1 of this IT disaster recovery plan quickly and reliably: with a solution like Quest Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition that automates the restore of your critical Active Directory domain controllers from clean backups in just an hour or so, depending on how much you’ve built out and practiced your disaster recovery plan.

I promised to return with more information about how to complete phase 2, and today’s the day! Exactly how should you go about promoting the rest of your DCs? While there are several methods, by far the best option is install from media (IFM). Microsoft recommends IFM because it is an efficient way to reinstall AD on a MS domain controller; in fact, it speeds the process considerably by cutting traffic across your network in half. If you were to use replication rather than IFM, the process could easily take 12–36 hours, depending on where your DCs are located.

Still, using native tools, IFM is a tedious manual process. Moreover, you have to perform it on each DC, one by one, by going to each DC and executing the PowerShell commands to install from media in order to promote the domain controller. Some Active Directory disaster recovery solutions support IFM, which reduces the manual effort and speeds the process of promoting a Windows domain controller somewhat. But you still have to promote each DC one at a time. That’s not exactly a recipe for getting your business fully back on its feet quickly!

Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition takes IFM a critical step further: It automates the IFM process, delivering bulk IFM to dramatically accelerate phase 2 of your disaster recovery. You simply set up a project, select all the DCs you want to promote, and then click a button to execute the IFM process on all of the DCS you specified. No error-prone manual processes, no time-consuming visits to each DC — and no constant barrage of messages from management asking “Are you done YET?”

The new domain controllers are created using a restored backup of another DC. The restored backup can be held on any backup media (tape, CD or DVD) or on a shared network resource, giving you maximum flexibility and control.

Disasters happen, and proper disaster recovery planning means ensuring you can get the business back up and running as quickly as possible. Often, that means performing a phased recovery. To ensure you can complete both phase 1 and phase 2 efficiently and reliably, you need an Active Directory disaster recovery solution you can trust. Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition delivers unmatched stability, flexibility and options. You get a rock-solid solution to back up Active Directory according to your needs, including automated malware detection that minimizes the risk of reintroducing infected files to recovered DCs. You get flexible recovery options, so you can choose the method that works best for your business, whether that’s a phased recovery, a bare metal recovery (BMR) or state data restore to a clean OS. Moreover, you can restore to any machine with the same operating system version, regardless of its location or type (physical, virtual or cloud-hosted). In short, you get to be the hero, rather than the scapegoat, when the next disaster strikes.

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