Aside from being on the Veeam Product Strategy team, I also have a role in the Veeam community. This includes keeping in touch with bloggers, social communities and of course Twitter. Recently, I got a message from one Twitter user in immediate need of some help. The result is good, and no Active Directory domains were harmed in the making of these blogposts. Sound interesting? Read on!
A fellow vExpert Tim Smith sent me a Twitter direct message asking if I could send him an updated copy of the Veeam Explorer for Active Directory beta. I thought at first the request was odd, as I was pretty sure there wasn’t an updated copy. The story gets a bit more interesting as we discovered that since July 1, the standalone beta has expired. That’s fine, as we are in beta 1 for Veeam Backup & Replication v8 which is part of the Veeam Availability Suite; which has Veeam Explorer for Active Directory built-in the installer like we currently have for Exchange.
Continuing through a flurry of Twitter direct messages, it became clear what happened. Tim’s client had deleted an entire Organizational Unit of computer and WordPress Hosting accounts. Not just a few, but over 1,400 computer accounts. WHOA!
What do you do in this situation? Well, I had an idea that I shared with Tim. The way Veeam Explorer for Active Directory works is pretty slick. We have our backup processing engine that moves the data from the source VM effectively the same way for all situations. The application-aware image processing and guest file system indexing can tell us a lot about the VM however, including what application(s) are running and in this case whether the VM is a domain controller. That information is used in the restore scenarios, and it paid big dividends for Tim in this almost-disaster.
Tim’s client was using Veeam Backup & Replication v7, and an updated version of the standalone beta just wasn’t available since the entire product beta 1 has been out internally. I had an idea. What if we did the following:
- Get Tim a copy of the v8 beta
- Copy over his latest backup of the Domain Controller to the default repository on the v8 beta
- Import the existing v7 backup
- Run a restore of that OU from the backup of v7 using v8’s Veeam Explorer for Active Directory
The result? It just worked. The computer accounts were restored back to the domain with no experience issues. The SID and object password hash were both maintained, so users were able to log in without any problem to the computers. In fact, all attributes are maintained with this new feature; so it literally couldn’t be easier! The figure below shows Veeam Explorer for Active Directory in my v8 beta lab:
Tim wrote a blog about the process and it is a great story of recovery. The best part is, from that “Oh No” moment until the restores were completed, it was literally only about two hours. This included Tim and I communicating on what to do and him downloading and installing the beta.
While the beta is still private, this is a powerful indication of the recovery options available for critical applications like Active Directory.
Does this sound like a tool that can help you provide additional availability? We think so. Stay tuned for the latest news around v8 as well as links to get more information about the features coming.