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(2010-04-01) Developing An Active Directory Forest Recovery Plan

Posted by Jorge on 2010-04-01

Original Source:

Original Author: Gil Kirkpatrick

I’m working with Guido Grillenmeier, Jorge de Almeida Pinto, and Ulf B. Simon-Weidner on the Masters of Disaster Active Directory Disaster Recovery workshops for TEC this year, and I have to say that I am very excited by the results so far.

Several years ago, Guido and I did the first "Masters of Disaster" workshops on AD disaster recovery, and they were very well received. Most of the workshop was focused on data recovery, e.g. recovering deleted users, groups, and so on, which was a new concept for most people. The final exercise of that workshop was a full forest recovery scenario, but in fact most people never managed to get all the way through the forest recovery process. It was complicated, the VMs were slow, and frankly, leaving the thorny forest recovery process to the end of an exhausting 8 hour workshop when the cold beer and nachos were calling probably wasn’t the smartest idea I ever had, either.

Since then, I’ve talked to a lot of people about disaster recovery planning for AD. Most people have sorted out the data recovery problem, either by using the native tools, or by using Quest’s Recover Manager for AD. But I am shocked at the number of companies that still have not developed a forest recovery plan. At a recent series of breakfast seminars I did here in Australia, fewer than 20% of the companies represented had developed a forest recovery plan. And these are large organizations whose IT infrastructure completely depends on Active Directory. And in case you’re wondering, NO, downloading and reading Microsoft’s forest recovery whitepaper does NOT count as a disaster recovery plan!

We decided to bring the Masters of Disaster workshops back to TEC this year, but with several important changes. First off, we’re not going to try to host 200 lab VMs on a massive blade rack and SAN… those of you who were at TEC at the Red Rock in Las Vegas know what I’m talking about. 🙂 This year, each person will have their own server with VMs running on them. But more importantly, we’ve broken the workshop into two pieces. The first 4-hour workshop focuses on AD data recovery using authoritative restore, tombstone reanimation, and the new AD recycle bin in WS2008 R2. Jorge has put together a great lab book for this session, and I think you’ll really get a lot out of it. The second 4-hour workshop is focused on developing a forest recovery plan. We will walk you through the steps of developing a forest recovery plan in your own organization, taking into account things like recovery SLAs, mission-critical applications, remote sites, and so on. Using that knowledge, you’ll then develop a plan for the lab forest using templates and worksheets that we will provide. Finally, you’ll get to recover the lab forest using the plan that you created! How cool is that? And the best part is that you can take those templates and worksheets back to work with you and start working with your DR team to develop your organization’s own forest recovery plan.

So now there’s no excuse for not having a forest recovery plan for your organization’s Active Directory. We’ll walk you through how to build the plan, give you the materials to develop your plan back at the office, and we’ll give you a chance to execute a forest recovery in a hands-on lab environment. And when you’re done, you’ll be fully-fledged, card-carrying Master of Active Directory Disaster yourself!

So don’t be a drongo and wait for your AD to go cactus. Give the workshop a go, it’ll be bonzer!

I hope to see you at TEC in LA!

* This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confers no rights!
* Always evaluate/test yourself before using/implementing this!
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3 Responses to “(2010-04-01) Developing An Active Directory Forest Recovery Plan”

  1. mkline said

    This is going to be one of the highlights of TEC this year. I really wish I was going.

    Have fun in LA

  2. Anil Kumar said

    Hi, I am not able to locate Disaster recover masters / Masters of Disaster Workshop, The link you had give above is just redirecting to Dell Home page. I am not able to locate the files.

    • Jorge said


      Unfortunately that is not available anymore, due to Dell acquiring Quest (and therefore TEC)


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