The Blackbird Group is raffling two license packages of Blackbird recovery for AD, a sophisticated Activate Directory backup tool. The value of each license is $1,800 USD and allows you to back up an Active Directory with 500 users. You will find more information about how to take part in this contest at the end of the article.

Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

Active Directory Backup Software - Blackbird Recovery

Blackbird recovery is a module of the Blackbird Management Suite, which consists of Blackbird auditor for AD (real-time auditing for Active Directory), Blackbird auditor for Windows File System (real-time file system auditing), Blackbird privilege explorer for Windows File System (access rights reporting), Blackbird protector (protection against AD modifications), and Blackbird privilege manager (workflow based management of AD privileges).

This suite is not just a collection of Active Directory and Windows file system tools. Essentially, it is one big management tool with different modules that are tightly integrated. Each module can be purchased separately. In this article series, I will only cover Blackbird recovery, the Active Directory backup module.

Today, I will outline why it makes sense to have a specialized Active Directory backup tool. Most organizations secure their Active Directory data with a common backup tool that is also used to back up file systems, databases, E-Mail, etc.

Blackbird recovery does not really compete with these solutions because they usually have a different purpose. While the AD agents of common backup solutions are often only for disaster recovery—that is, the recovery of a whole Active Directory domain or forest—Blackbird recovery's main purpose is for restoring individual or multiple AD objects and attributes in case of a user error or an application malfunction.

Even if a conventional backup tool supports granular recovery, you usually can only restore the data from the last backup. In comparison, Blackbird recovery allows you to restore the previous state of a particular object at any point in time. That is, the backup software supports continuous data protection (CDP) for Active Directory.

In my experience, AD disaster recoveries are rare because Active Directory is very robust. Even if one of your domain controllers goes down because of a hardware malfunction, you still have "backups" of your directory database on other domain controllers.

On the other hand, Active Directory is an essential service in every Windows network. Not only does Windows rely on it, but many third-party applications depend on it as well. And this is where the problems begin. Applications, admins, and even end users store data into the directory all day. This is why errors are inevitable. As with file system backups, most restores are required not because of hardware malfunctions but because of user mistakes or application errors.

Of course, you don't want to restore your whole Active Directory just because your great new PowerShell script that was supposed to automate a tedious administration task wreaks havoc and "automatically" destroyed half of your directory. An Active Directory disaster recovery, where the complete database has to be restored, is quite complicated and usually shuts down your whole IT infrastructure for the time of the recovery process.

Furthermore, even if your backup software supports restores of individual objects without downtime, you will most often only get one-day-old data. This might still prevent a disaster, but it could also mean that you will lose essential data and most certainly your brilliant automation efforts won't stay unnoticed.

Lucky you if you have a backup tool at hand that allows you to restore Active Directory to the point in time when you hit the enter key on the PowerShell prompt, with just a few mouse clicks and without the hassle of an authoritative Active Directory restore. This is where Blackbird recovery comes into play. In my next post I will describe Blackbird recovery's architecture.

To participate in the competition for a chance to win a Blackbird recovery license, worth $1,800 USD, please send an email to:

contests-at-4sysops-com

with the subject line:

Blackbird recovery.

You can also use this contact form.

The deadline of this contest is August 31, 2010.

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