Creating an offline replica of our Windows Environment-Part 1

I am working on my new project, upgrading our Exchange 2003 environment to Exchange 2010. I wanted to create an off line replica of our current environemnet. This is how I set about doing that

  • Before I started, I created a new workstation – Windows 7 on our ESX server. This machine is joined to the domain, but no one has ever logged on (deployed via SCCM OSD). I left it overnight to make sure it was in AD and AD had replicated.
  • Next I created a network in ESX that is not attached to any adapters (and no other machines are connected to) – called “offline network”
  • I then used the built in ESX function of cloning a VM, and created a clone of one of our Domain Controllers (DC).
  • This clone was assigned to the off line network, and the Windows 7 VM was moved to the offline network.
  • Since the DC has AD,DNS, and DHCP all running on it, I should be able to reboot the Windows 7 machine and I should be able to log in with my account.
  • Since I never have logged on to this Windows 7 VM before, I know it is not using a cached version of my account and the Windows 7 VM has to be communicating to the DC.
  • Finally, I seized the FSMO roles from the the other non existant DC (not on the offline network)

That gets me a functioning DC and a functioning DNS with a test Windows 7 machine and Office 2010.

Next up: Recovering an Exchange 2003 cluster to a single machine in an off line network.


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