1 2 Previous Next 29 Replies Latest reply on Nov 12, 2006 4:44 PM by larstr

    Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?

    dpomeroy Virtuoso

      I came across this article: url=http://searchwinit.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid1_gci1227204,00.html Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea? /url

      He does raise some valid points, but I found this line interesting:

      I personally only know of a few companies that actually implement virtual DCs in production. /i

       

      I think production virtual DCs are more common than he thinks.

        • 1. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
          Jasemccarty Champion
          vExpert

          Our virtual DC worked like a champ this weekend at DR.

          • 2. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
            boydd Champion

            We use Virtual DC's all the time during DR tests.  A few of our prod DC are VM's.  They work well and we will probably virtualize the rest of the DC's over the upcoming year.

             

            DB

            • 3. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
              jpoling Expert

              We are a relatively small shop.  Our main site has two DCs - one of which is running on ESX 2.5.3.  I plan to move our other DC to another ESX server in the very near future.  We've had no problems and we also run Exchange 2003.

               

              Jeff

              • 4. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                acr Virtuoso

                Seems this article is cropping up more and more...!!

                 

                Just read the article, which firstly points to a support statement from Microsoft thats over a year old.. The world of virtualization is driving many manufacturers to totally rewrite their support statements, and that includes Microshaft...\!

                 

                The main focus of this statement surrounds Virtualizing DC's, but draws on concerns arround Memory and I/O and processing...

                 

                Isnt that the concern of every virtualization candidate...

                 

                After all know your application..!!

                 

                Virtualization is not MAGIC... it needs planning and done right DC's are great candidates for virtualization, done wrong and it could be as bad as virtualizing NASA's database Server on a single PIII with 1G of memory...!!

                 

                DC's would be my first candidates for virtualization.. i did think it fairly funny though the best practices made it read like, if you follow these all will be ok...??

                 

                Like without virtualisation we never have windows issues...???

                 

                Message was edited by:

                        acr

                • 5. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                  juchestyle Master

                  I feel pretty strongly on this topic so I am going to jump up on the soap box.

                   

                  I got into VMware because I was tasked with a DR project to take an active directory domain controller running exchange and restore that box to a different hardware platform (dell poweredge to beige box).

                   

                  This project stunk, why? Because disaster recovery using old school microsoft technologies is horrible. At microsoft tech ed last year I talked to the tech support for MICROSOFT, and they told me that about half the time they failed their own DR SLA's. (They could restore, but not always in the desired time frame.)

                   

                  I will make you one promise. I can do DR work on a virtualized os infinitely better and faster than on a physical box.

                   

                  Additionally, I was at a VMware user group meeting on Friday and I was talking to some financial institution guys who have virtualized their key servers because they couldn't pass audits restoring their physical servers using SUNGARD as their backup site. Since they virtualized their key servers, (domain controllers, commvault media server for tape backup, and several others) they haven't failed a single audit.

                   

                  If you ask me whether I think it is a good idea to virtualize your domain controllers. I would say, if you care about your business and take your job seriously, how can you not consider virtualizing important servers?

                   

                  It probably makes sense to have a couple physical domain controllers, but if you don't have any domain controllers virtualized? If you have a couple virtualized domain controllers you can have the majority of your infrastructure restored in minutes in a disaster. Minutes, using any hardware platform. Having your domain working is half the battle; then you can seize roles if you need. You could even restore your domain on a laptop using virtual server or workstation.

                  • 6. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                    juchestyle Master

                    I have been working with the person in charge of DR.  In the world of Business continuity, they say that a business that looses it's data center for more than 3 days; something like 98% of those business are out of business completely within 1 year of that event.

                     

                    That is pretty serious!  And the fact that microsoft can't hit their own sla's every time, to me, says that something needs to change! 

                     

                    Respectfully,

                    • 7. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                      kix1979 Champion

                      Every company I have been involved at has had DCs in production as VMs.  Some are hesitant to move their PDC Emulator into virtual, but those that have virtualized their entire AD structure have had little or no issues.  As you said the article has some interesting information, but some seems sketchy.

                      • 8. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                        canadait Expert

                        I had a problem with one of our physical DCs at my shop. So I built two DCs as VMs and removed the old physical DC and I haven't looked back!

                        • 9. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                          M.Drost Enthusiast

                          We have got a complete domain within VM's ( 1 for test and 1 for development 40 machine each)  and it works fine including the DC's. We doubt about it but where glad that we did.

                          • 10. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                            1996camaroSS Novice

                            We have done it for numerous in house DR tests and 2 tests for DR; and we use DC VMs in our lab environments exclusively.  We are planning to virtualize some servers this lifecycle round.  We have not seen any problems with virutualized DCs.

                            • 11. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                              juchestyle Master

                              Great example after great example...

                               

                              Microsoft pays people to go out in the world and cast doubt on competing technologies.  FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt is their hallmark marketing strategy.

                               

                              Personally, I have never once called microsteal for help or support.  There are enough resources out there (forums especially) that will help you figure out the things you need to know.  Furthermore, I was talking to a buddy yesterday and he was telling me that microoutsource support has really taken a dive anyway.

                               

                              Respectfully,

                              • 12. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                                M.Drost Enthusiast

                                We have MS people  in house on the moment and i must say i don't see the dive of the quality! They real know what they are talking about and know how the “ buttons” work.

                                 

                                FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt the world is ruled by it! Just remember

                                 

                                To succeed you must stand up 1 time more then you have stumbled

                                • 13. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                                  RobMokkink Expert

                                  I live image DC's and restore them in vmware for test and dr.

                                  Never had a problem. Allmost every live imaging software supports VSS.

                                  So open files etc. are no problem.

                                  There is also a great benefit when having virtualised DC's, when ever you have a schema update etc.

                                  You can easily seperate it first from the rest of the dc's, before replication occurs, or put the disk in undoable mode.

                                  I only see benefits.

                                  • 14. Re: Is domain controller virtualization really a good idea?
                                    juchestyle Master

                                    Rob,

                                     

                                    I vote you the gold star!

                                     

                                    Fantastic example!

                                     

                                    Respectfully,

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