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How To Backup Active Directory

Active Directory or AD is one of the prominent directory services used by thousands of people across the world.

Considering that it is developed by Microsoft, AD is integrated as a critical part of Windows Server operating systems. Therefore, when this integral part of the Windows crashes, everything else goes to a standstill. 

This is why it’s important to have a proven active directory backup and restoration recovery strategy in place. In this article, we will explain how you can backup an active directory so that you will have an uninterrupted performance. 

Install Windows Server Backup 

It’s an important program, which is a great substitute for NTBackup in the newer Windows versions. It comes with an advanced interface along with the capability of creating incremental backups through VSS. 

Moreover, the data that WSB backups is stored in the VHD format. After the backup is finished, you will have to use the VHD disks to a machine and access your data virtually as well as physically.

The affordability offered by Windows Server Backup is the main reason why people rely on it. Here are the steps of installing the Windows Server backup: 

  1. Click on the Windows button and head to Server Manager.
  2. Look for the option ‘Add roles and features’ option on the dashboard’s right-hand pane. 
  3. Select the option ‘Next’ a couple of times until you are shown a features page. 
  4. Select the option titles ‘Windows Server Backup’ on the right-hand side, check it and select Next. 
  5. Select the install button that will appear on the Next page. 
  6. Click on the install option to initiate the installation of the Windows Server backup utility. 

Comprehensive Server Backup 

Performing a full server backup is a great option to backup the active directory.

It backs up your operating systems, applications, and data related to it. If you have a lot of important data and applications, then we recommend you do this step. This is because the step will completely restore your server when required. 

System state backup is another option that includes backing up merely AD components. In this method, the recovery process is limited to AD present on the same server.

Moreover, it won’t be helpful if the operating system becomes corrupt. You also can’t restore to another computer as well. This is why it is recommended to perform full server backup as it is more comprehensive. 

  1. Create a backup disk of the same size as the one you are backing up. 
  2. Launch the Windows server backup utility and click on the Backup Schedule option on the rightmost panel. 
  3. Thereafter, select the option full server backup. You can choose the ‘custom’ option where the screen will show the backup size. 
  4. You can click the items to backup. 
  5. If you want a full server backup, select the ‘Advanced Settings’ option, go to the VSS settings, and select ‘VSS full backup. 
  6. In the next screen, you can schedule the backup to the time that is convenient for you.
  7. Select the ‘Specify Destination Type’ display, click on the ‘Back up to a volume.’
  8. Confirm the selection and select the finish button. 

System Center Data Protection Manager

It’s another backup service developed by the Microsoft team. This software is capable of performing regular data backups as well as Active Directory backups. 

The primary difference between the Windows Server Backup and System Center Data Protection Manager is that WSB is free and comes included in the package. On the other hand, you will have to pay an additional amount to avail of System Center Data Protection Manager. 

Prominent features of this software include Microsoft Azure cloud backup support, incremental backup support, VSS support, etc. 

Third-Party Active Directory Backup Methods

There are many other solutions than Microsoft’s SC DPM and WSB solutions. Relying on third-party active directory backup methods will allow you to center on the specific type of backup along with a comprehensive backup process.

In fact. Many software enables you to backup and restore your data without any hassle. 

Final Thoughts 

Constantly backing up your active directories will ensure that you never lose important data. From the get-go, you should follow good practices to ensure that you continue to hold your data and access them in a timely manner. 

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