Two new emergency repair disks can save your server and Active Directory.

When Disaster Strikes

Two new emergency repair disks can save your server and Active Directory.

Product Information
ERDisk 6.0
ERDisk for Active Directory,
starting at $99/server or $10/workstation
Aelita Software
Powell, Ohio
614-336-9223
www.aelita.com

Aelita Software has two new products that work hand in hand to alleviate some of system administrators' worst nightmares. ERDisk 6.0, combined with ERDisk for Active Directory (AD), solves two of the most troublesome problems currently facing AD administrators.

ERDisk 6.0 is the latest release in the ERDisk line. The idea's simple: ERDisk allows administrators to remotely collect Registries from critical workstations and servers. If a workstation or server goes belly up, ERDisk comes to the rescue.

When disaster strikes, ERDisk has two methods to get you out of the jam. If the machine is bootable and can see the network, you can use the "Remote Restore" feature. From the centralized console, simply click both the target machine and the desired backup set, and the system gets its previous system set. Unfortunately, some disasters could take the target PC offline, rendering the "Remote Restore" feature useless. In this case, ERDisk has an "Advanced Aelita ERD" function, which can copy the saved critical information to a floppy or CD-ROM. Once on removable media, the target machine can be booted from the media, and the system can be restored.

While ERDisk facilitates the resuscitation of your workstations and server, ERDisk for AD does the same for AD.

Since the release of Windows 2000 and AD, there's been the thorny problem of AD database restoration. The built-in restoration features of Win2K are clunky. If you have a slip of the keyboard and delete just one organizational unit (OU) or user, you must reboot a domain controller into Directory Services Restoration Mode, restore the entire AD database, then use the tragically intricate NTDSUTIL utility to perform an Authoritative Restoration of just the slice of the affected AD database. To add insult to injury, this only works if you know the full LDAP path of the deleted object(s). [See Jeremy Moskowitz's "Active Directory Back from the Dead" article in the February 2001 issue online. —Ed.]

ERDisk for AD changes all of that.

ERDisk for AD's main feature allows for a granular restoration of OUs and/or users via an easy-to-use graphical user interface. To set it up, use ERDisk to manually back up the AD database or set a schedule to perform regular backups. Once disaster strikes, simply fire up ERDisk for AD, run the Restore Wizard (see Figure 1), highlight the AD database backup set you wish to restore from, and select the deleted OU and/or user. In moments, the deleted OU and/or user is back in AD Users and Computers. It was even able to restore the delegated permissions on the OU!

ERDisk 6.0
Figure 1. Granularly restore just one user, if desired, using Aelita's ERDisk for Active Directory.

This is a wholly useful product suite and one that should be seriously considered as a time- and money-saver for even a moderate-size environment. However, consider that tape-backup software vendors may be setting their sights on ERDisk for AD's granular restoration functionality and provide it built into their backup offerings. Before jumping into the purchase of ERDisk and ERD for AD, check with your tape-backup software vendor to see if this functionality is on the horizon.

About the Author

Jeremy Moskowitz, a Group Policy MVP, is the Chief Propeller-Head for Moskowitz, Inc. and GPanswers.com. He is one of less than a dozen Microsoft MVPs in Group Policy. Since becoming one of the world's first MCSEs, he has performed Active Directory and Group Policy planning and implementations for some of the nation’s largest organizations. His latest books are Group Policy Fundamentals, Security, and Troubleshooting and Creating the Secure Managed Desktop: Group Policy, SoftGrid, and Microsoft Deployment and Management Tools.


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