AD CI Struggles

Active Directory Configuration Item struggles! Seems like feeling around in the dark.

I set up a test lab to practice creating an administratively tiered AD forest with a single domain. Challenges came from everywhere; available documentation, platform the lab was built on, and ultimately figuring a way to compare policies and OU structure between labs.

First the virtualization was run in VirtualBox on my laptop and the lab build began there. That was abandoned because of available drive space.

Then it was moved to a dedicated virtual server running VMware ESXi. The browser interface was sluggish for me and, as I leaned, my account didn’t have permissions to copy/paste between my pc and the VM. That slowed me as I tried to enter configurations and compare between guests.

The ESXi guests occasionally froze after changes and were very slow to be to be power cycled when that happened, minutes.

Back to the laptop. Purge VMs that were built for other labs (intended to be continued) and start again on the laptop. And this time, got the administratively tiered lab running.

Great. Needs to be repeatable though. Go back to the ESXi test lab and try to produce the same results. Tried altering ESXi lab guests’ AD and GPO settings to be same as those on the VirtualBox lab. Didn’t work.

Found several ways to produce GPO reports to compare settings in each and see where they differed. Found a few differences and changed ESXi vms’ to match VirtualBox’ working ones. GroupPolicy Module | Microsoft Docs are a great tool. The most useful to me for this were Get-GPOReport, Import-GPO, and Backup-GPO.

Sadly the ESXi lab setup still didn’t produce the same results and response in the console was often sluggish. When I started ESXi I used the console tool which let me open multiple windows within one browser window. Unfortunately it didn’t copy paste between my pc and the session. Not helpful for testing.

I eventually tried the remote console tool. It opened a window for each connection and was more responsive than the console. And, bonus, copy paste worked between my pc and the terminal?!!

Better control of the ESXi test lab now but still not the correct tiered admin function. The ESXi test lab guests showed some symptoms of not enough memory like the sluggish responses and hangs. Am upping RAM from 2Gb to 4Gb, rebuilding the guests and trying again.

VirtualBox guests on the laptop are running 2Gb and the tiered admin lab works.

If more memory doesn’t do it I’ll have to come up with some other adjustment to try. Need to get both working with admin tiering.

Detail that may be a clue, the ESXi lab was built with a Windows 2019 Server lab DVD source. The VirtualBox lab was built with a Windows 2019 Server Microsoft Download image. The VirtualBox lab has Schema Admins group in AD DS as part of the default install from the DVD, the ESXi lab DOES NOT and is built from the different media. Makes me wonder if there are other differences, unseen, that prevent the ESXi lab from successfully building the tiered administration setup.