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More on Cloning Trees for Testing

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By Peter J Strifas

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Posted: 23 Dec 2002
 

We use the 'mirrored drive' trick to provide a copy of our production tree for our lab environment which is truly isolated. Can't stress that enough.

At first there was no link up beyond a switch within the rack with no uplink to our production network. Recently we added a FreeBSD firewall to the rack and connected it to our network. We installed a Windows 2000 server in the rack with Terminal Services for accessing our lab rack from our desks (why freeze in the datacenter!).

Of course we're using Compaq hardware with SmartArray controllers so there's acceptable risk when breaking the mirror. The server hardware needs not be identical since our production server is a DL370 while our lab server is a Proliant 5500. Same array card, same NIC and NetWare 6 is pretty good dealing with the differences. At most, we're selecting the appropriate slot for the NIC card.

Once in the lab, use ConsoleOne to delete server objects -- this ensures the replica rings are cleaned up correctly. Only drawback to this process is the timeout feature in ConsoleOne -- could take up to 1 minute per server.

Also -- delete all unknown objects then run DSREPAIR until no errors show. You may need to re-visit services such as SLP (DAs), Timesync (if you have a large system) and DirXML driver(s) (if you don't copy your primary DXML server).

At this point, we also use ServerMagic to create an image of this 'copied' production server. Once imaged, we restore the image into a VMware session for additional testing. Especially good for DirXML testing.

One thing to remember about adding a server into production, adding replicas then "crashing" it out -- you're doing this to your production DS! One hiccup and you're chasing stuck obits.

Next test -- using LDAP Import/Export....


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