Active Directory Replication on Windows Server 2012

Replication is the process of making a copy of something. Using the replication process we can copy the active directory database from one site to another site. Replication is the process of sending update information for data that has changed in the directory to other domain controllers. That means we are creating a backup of the original domain controller to make sure it is available in the case of failures. Active Directory replication is key to the health and stability of an Active Directory environment. When replica of Active Directory is implemented, every change that is being made to master serve will be replicated to a secondary server.

Following are the steps to configure and test the Active Directory replication on Windows Server 2012. This will replicate the AD changes on Mirror Server :

First, we need to set up 2 Windows 2012 Servers [Master & Mirror]. After setting up servers, we need to install the ADDS on both the servers and Promote Master DC as mentioned below :

  1. Open Server Manager. from the Manage, click Add Roles and Features, and click Next.
  2. On the Select installation type page, click Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.
  3. On the Select destination server page, click Select a server from the server pool, click the name of the server where you want to install AD DS and then click Next.
  4. On the Select server roles page, click Active Directory Domain Services, click Add Features and then click Next.
  5. On the Select features page, select any additional features that you want to install and click Next.
  6. On the Active Directory Domain Services page, review the information and then click Next.
  7. On the Confirm installation selections page, click Install.
  8. On the Dashboard, verify Installation succeeded by clicking on flag icon, and click Promote this server to a domain controller to start the Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard.
  9. On the Deployment Configuration page, click Add a new forest and then type the name of the root domain.
  10. On the Domain Controller Options page, select the domain and forest functional levels(i.e. Windows Server 2012), click Domain Name System (DNS) server, specify the DSRM password, and then click Next.
    Domain Controller Options page
  11. On the DNS Options page, click Next. (We will see DNS Delegation Warning, and we can ignore it.)
    DNS Options page
  12. On the Additional Options page, verify the default NetBIOS name of the domain, and then click Next
    .Additional Options page
  13. On the Paths page, accept default locations, and click Next.
    Paths page
  14. On the Review Options page, confirm your selections, (We must need to check DNS Server: Yes from the script. If it is not there, our entire system will not function properly) and then click Next.
    Review Options page
  15. On the Prerequisites Check page, confirm that prerequisite validation completed and then click Install.
    Prerequisites Check page
  16. The server will now be restarted automatically to complete the AD DS installation.The server will now restarted automatically to complete the AD DS installation

Now follow the below mentioned steps for AD DS Promotion on the Mirror Server :

  1. Open Server Manager. from the Manage, click Add Roles and Features, and click Next.
  2. On the Select installation type page, click Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.
  3. On the Select destination server page, click Select a server from the server pool, click the name of the server where you want to install AD DS and then click Next.
  4. On the Select server roles page, click Active Directory Domain Services, click Add Features and then click Next.
  5. On the Select features page, select any additional features that you want to install and click Next.
  6. On the Active Directory Domain Services page, review the information and then click Next.
  7. On the Confirm installation selections page, click Install.
  8. On the Dashboard, verify Installation succeeded by clicking on flag icon, and click Promote this server to a domain controller to start the Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard.
  9. On the Deployment Configuration page, click Add a domain controller to an existing domain, type the name of existing domain and Click on Select Button and supply the admin login credentials of Master DC along with the Domain, and then click Next.Deployment Configuration page
  10. If the domain is not in the list, then We need to add IP address of Master DC in Preferred DNS Server.
  11. For this, go to Ethernet Properties of your server and modify the settings of Preferred DNS Server. In preferred DNS, assign IP of Master DC.Ethernet PropertiesMaster DC
  12. After this step, repeat above mentioned step no-9 for selecting domain. You can see now your domain is in the forest list.
    selecting domain
  13. Now, on the Domain Controller Options page,check DNS and GC options, type and confirm the Directory Services Restore Mode password, and then click Next.
    Domain Controller Options page
  14. On the DNS Options page, we will see DNS Delegation Warning. If we Ignore above DNS Delegation Warning, it will manage the DNS Records from its end. We just need to ignore it.
    DNS Options page
  15. On the Additional Options page, select the domain controller that you want to replicate the AD DS installation data from and then click Next.
    Additional Options page
  16. On the Paths page, accept default locations, and then click Next.
    Paths page
  17. On the Review Options page, confirm your selections, and then click Next.
    Review Options page
  18. On the Prerequisites Check page, confirm that prerequisite validation completed and then click Install.
    Prerequisites Check page
  19. The server will now restart automatically to complete the AD DS installation.
    server will now restarted automatically to complete the AD DS installation

Here we are done with the basic configurations.

Now to Verify Active Directory Replication perform following steps:

  1. Open Active Directory Sites and Services, here you will see both the servers are added.Active Directory Sites and Services
  2. Navigate to any of the servers and Right Click on Automatically Generated Script. Select Replicate Now Option.
    Automatically Generated Script
  3. You will see an informative dialog box as displayed in following picture which is a sign of a successful replication.
    sign of a successful replication
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6 Comments

  1. What is default replication time between 2 sites, further can we schedule it automatically.

  2. i want the new AD to be the same name as the main one, i don’t want to change the profiles of the clients.

  3. Hi,
    Can You please tell me how to remove the replica server without having issues?
    Thank You
    Alessandro

  4. Excuse me! can i ask you something about this replication? I mean after i did that if the MASTER domain has 100 user obviously Mirror will have 100 user too right? And if i add 1 more user to MASTER domain will Mirror Domain automatic update user for 100 to 101 user or what? and if Mirror Domain doesn’t automatic update to 101 user i have to replicate it again?

  5. Hi , I did the same, except while on the Additional Options page, selected to replicate from any domain controller instead select one with which to replicate

    My concern is that when i m turning Primary controller down then secondary server also stopped working. I am able to login into secondary server but getting error while opening ad user and computers.

    Any solution on this.

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