Adding a Virtual DC for Redundancy

Old 4 Comments on Adding a Virtual DC for Redundancy 55

Back-story: The company I work for is a non-profit organization and as such, the budget restraints have made it difficult to create a solid IT Infrastructure. So when I began my job there were many projects that needed triage early on. Now that I have a little more time to focus on best practices and overall improvements I knew we needed a second DC. I have been eager to get some Virtualization experience; so began the process of repurposing a donated server for the cause.

VMware vSphere: I downloaded VMware vSphere Hypervisor  (The free version can be downloaded here: You need to download the vSphere client software as well. I burned the Hypervisor .ISO image and installed it on the server. Note: After installing the Hypervisor not much is done on the server itself; it shows you the IP address assigned to the VM Host and you should write this down if you are following this as a tutorial.  Next install the vSphere Client on you Workstation PC and connect using the IP you wrote down in the previous step; this is how you will manage you VM Host and install your OSes.

Creating a Virtual Machine: Within the vSphere Client I created a new VM and I installed a Windows Server 2012R2 instance to that VM. I will not go into detail in this particular post as to creating the VM (perhaps another time if people are interested). I will state though that for the NIC you should select VMXnet3 rather than the default (This is best practice).

Adding ADDS Roles: Within 2012R2 Server Manager I configured the server. Added the ADDS roles and features and DNS. At the end of the ADDS Configuration Wizard there is an option to Promote this server to a Domain Controller. Once you select this you can choose to add this DC to an existing Domain and continue through the setup process (This really only take a matter of minutes).

Conclusion: All is working very well and I would encourage everyone to start gaining experience with Virtualization Technologies if you have not already. Do your due diligence to follow best practices. My next big goal is to P2V our other physical servers and setup failover clustering.

Note: Backups for you VMs is someting I am currently still looking into. I know that I want to use VEEAM and I would; except for the fact that the free version does not work with the free version of VMware vSphere. It states that it will work with Essentials.


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  1. maul0e July 17, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Since you are using windows server 2012r2 why don’t you use hyper-v? It ships with server 2012 and as such is free

    • Tyler Cleveland July 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      This is true, but I was wanting to gain experience using VMware specifically, thus I installed a virtual instance of 2012R2 using VMware vSphere (Also available free). I also have a CentOS VM I am setting up with Nagios.

    • The Captain July 31, 2014 at 9:25 am

      I think it’s great that the author decided to go with VMWare! While Hyper-v is nice for hosting legacy Windows systems and applications it is not a practical solution for true infrastructure machines, especially DC’s. Hyper-v from Microsoft is just too far behind in the virtualization race at this point to be a true competitor.
      Invest your time in VMWare and cloud based virtualization. (Microsoft Azure is a competitor in this market)

      Have fun virtualizing!

  2. Jeff Newman July 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    What are you planning to use for your P2V effort?

    I can recommend VMware’s vCenter Converter Standalone. It’s free and available here (account and login required):

    Grab the version that matches the version of ESXi you’re running.

    The Converter does P2V, converts some VM and backup image formats for use under VMware’s hypervisors and is what we generally use to copy VMs between vCenters, though having a vCenter server is not a requirement for its use.

    It’s a handy-dandy tool.

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