Aside from being on the Veeam Product Strategy team, I also have a role in managing 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 accounts. Not just a few, but over 1,400 computer accounts. WHOA!

Veeam Explorer for Active DirectoryWhat 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:

Veeam Explorer for Active Directory v8 Beta

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.

Want to learn more cool things you can do with Veeam Explorer for Active Directory? Check out our free educational videos

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Veeam Explorer for Active Directory: It Just Works!, 5.0 out of 5 based on 10 ratings

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  • http://tsmith.co Tim Smith

    Thanks for the mention Rick! I couldn’t be happier! Like the Exchange Explorer, the AD Explorer is a fantastic tool for the toolbox.

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  • Johnathan Wright

    We recently implemented an automated process that finds, disables and ultimately 30 days later deletes user accounts that are deemed inactive. Initially, due to an oversight on my part, the process ended up deleting about 20 user accounts in error. But, because we backup our domain controllers and other servers 4 times a day and keep 85 restore points on disk with Veeam B/R it was literally a few clicks through a wizard to mount AD, find those accounts and restore them to the live AD, then using exchange recovery, finding and restoring the mailboxes for those users was a snap. From the time being made aware of the problem to resolution was less than 30 minutes. In fact the largest amount of time was just waiting for the process to mount the backup. The actual restore was done in seconds with no AD or Exchange issues. Awesome product and features.

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