Active Directory Replication Problems

One word, or at least one acronym: GUID.

Background: I manage a multi-tree forest, with two trees, one in each of two sites. They are connected by a slow site-to-site VPN link, over which all AD replication takes place.

The domain controller at the forest-root-domain needed rebuilding, as the operating system was installed on a flaky single disk, and was due to be moved to a RAID1 array. So I thought it best to promote another DC, transfer all FSMO roles, rebuild the first, and transfer the roles back. This process went swimmingly, and the first DC was back online in no time.

However, when it came to the second site, it seemed that no replication whatsoever was taking place. After delving into AD with tools such as adsiedit and replmon, I discovered that the second DC had not "heard" about the rebuild of the first. This meant that the GUID had not been updated to hold the value of the newly installed server. The fact that I had used the same name as before didn't help the situation at all.

In the end, it was clear that I would have to either restore the original DC from a System State backup, or rebuild the second domain from scratch. I chose the latter, as it was a small domain, and wouldn't take very long. Now the process is complete, and we have a fully functioning forest again (after lots of metadata cleanup and /forceremoval's!).

I won't forget this one in a hurry - allow time for big changes to replicate before making more big changes!