Backup and Failover for 2 Forests

August 11, 2010 at 08:52:28
Specs: Windows Server 2003 R2
Hi! I'm trying to think of a good failover/backup solution to my setup. First, the setup. Since we recently combined offices, we have 2 identical Dell servers running Server 2003 R2 Storage Server Edition and these are set up with 2 different forests, on 2 different subnets but cannot have a trust created between them because the person that set them up, royally messed up and gave them the same NETBIOS name. We also have one brand new server which is almost identical to these two other servers, just sitting around waiting to be used for something - my idea is some kind of redundancy/backup.

Does anyone know the best way to go about setting up some kind of backup and failover using this unused server that we have? There is no domain controller set up on it yet or anything - it is literally brand new. Most important to us is the backup of all of our data, and secondly is the network structure. If anyone can give me suggestions, or even a good way to combine both active directories in both forests so that i can set up some kind of array using all three servers that would also be great but keep in mind we still need the network functioning during the week. Please let me know your thoughts on what my best options may be. Thanks!

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August 11, 2010 at 12:24:15
If you have two companies that have merged (hard to tell exactly what you mean by "we recently combined offices,") then unless you have a very specific need for two completely separate forests, I would look at integrating the two into one single domain and forest.

It appears you have 3 servers. Two that are DC's in their individual domains and a 3'd you've recently purchased but have yet to deploy.

If it were me, I'd create a new domain on the 3'd server. I'd create all the user accounts, install software, port the data over and test extensively to ensure everything works properly.

Then, when you're sure everything is working right, I'd remove all client PC's from the two domains and join them to the one. I'd leave the other two DC's running in case you need to fallback.

I would then make sure everything works fine in the new, single, domain for all users. Once you're sure it's all good, I'd redo the two servers. I'd make one a redundant DC in the new (single) domain and I'd dedicate the other to something like a backup/file server.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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August 11, 2010 at 12:39:41
Thanks William!! This is a great solution. One question for you - what will happen to all of my users' desktops? Will everything appear exactly the same for them or will it look like a clean install of windows once I switch them to the new domain? We don't have roaming desktops set up so I just want to be sure I can keep their current desktops as-is through this whole process. Is that possible?

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