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Barracuda Backup
Barracuda Backup

How to Back Up Microsoft Active Directory

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This article refers to Barracuda Backup Legacy Release firmware or newer, and Microsoft Active Directory (AD).

Barracuda Networks recommends enabling Active Directory Recycle Bin before backing up content. Refer to the Microsoft TechNet article Enable Active Directory Recycle Bin for details.

Before attempting to recover a domain controller, first review the Microsoft TechNet article Domain Controller Recovery for a complete list of recommendations.

Backing up the AD is done on one or more Active Directory Domain Controllers, and is performed by backing up the System State on those servers. Barracuda Backup utilizes the Barracuda Backup Agent (Windows) to back up and restore the Microsoft Windows System State. Back up the System State to have a backup of critical system-related components.

 The System State backup contains the following:

  • Local Registry
  • COM+ Class Registration Database
  • System Boot Files
  • Active Directory Database File (NTDS.DIT) for Domain Controllers
  • SYSVOL folder

A System State backup allows you to recover to a known "good" system state after a hardware or software crash.

Use the following steps to add a computer and configure the data source on Barracuda Backup: 

  1. Log in to the Barracuda Backup web interface, and select the associated Barracuda Backup Server in the left pane.
  2. Go to the Backup > Sources page, and click Add Computer, and complete the details for the data source:

    1. Enable backups – Turn on to enable backups for the VMware host; this option is turned on by default
    2. Computer description – Enter a name to identify the host (for example, ESX, ESXi, vCenter) field
    3. Computer name – Enter the name or IP address of the VMware host on the network
    4. Computer Type – Select Microsoft Windwos from the drop-down menu
  3. Click Save.
  4. The Add Data Source page displays.
  5. In the Add to Schedule section, select a schedule from the drop-down menu, or click Add New to create a new schedule.
  6. In the Agent Software section, click Test Software Connectivity to verify connection to the Backup Agent.
  7. Select whether to replicate to Barracuda Cloud Storage.
  8. Turn on Replicate to Other Barracuda Backup Servers, and click Save.
  9. Go to the selected schedule on the Backup > Schedules page. In the Items to Back Up section, select the data source to back up, or click and expand the data source to select individual items for backup.

    System State must be selected to restore AD.

  10. Click Save.
  11. Once configured, define a policy for how long to retain the data on the Backup > Retention Policies page.

To ensure a good backup you should be aware of the tombstone lifetime. The tombstone lifetime is the number of days before a deleted object is removed from the directory services. A backup that is older than the tombstone lifetime (the default is 60 days) set in Active Directory is not a good backup. At a minimum, perform at least two backups within the tombstone lifetime. Active Directory incorporates the tombstone lifetime into the backup and restore process as a means of protecting itself from inconsistent data.


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