The ability to run an Azure AD Connect installation in staging mode, prepared identically by importing the active configuration, allows a High Availability solution to be created for Azure AD synchronization with minimal effort.

In case of a disaster recovery of the Azure AD Connect service, only the staging mode on the prepared server can be deactivated due to the high availability. The synchronization from Active Directory to Azure Active Directory continues to work seamlessly.

Export existing configuration

To start exporting the configuration, launch “Azure AD Connect” on the server that is actively connected to Azure AD.

Select “View or export current configuration”

The settings can now be exported in JSON format.
Exit Azure AD Connect after successfull export.

Installation and import of the configuration with staging mode on another server

To install Azure AD Connect, download and launch the latest setup file:
Download Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect from Official Microsoft Download Center

Select “Customize”

Select “Import synchronization settings” and upload the JSON file just created

The installation of the necessary components and import of the configuration is now running.

The user sign in must be configured the same as on the installation from which the imported JSON file originates.

Für die Konfiguration von Azure AD wird ein globaler Administrator benötigt.

Connect to the local Active Directory

The configuration is checked and ready for installation.
On this client, the options:

– “Start the synchronization process…” is deactivated
– “Enable staging mode…” is activated

This installs Azure AD Connect, but does not synchronize data from on-premises Active Directory to Azure AD. This task is still to be performed by the primary Azure AD Connect installation. (Azure AD Connect supports only one concurrent synchronization connection).

The installation is now complete..

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Disaster Recovery with High Availability (Disable Staging Mode)

If it is necessary to activate the prepared installation, this can be done as follows.

Launch Azure AD Connect

Select “Configure staging mode”

Specify a global administrator from Azure Active Directory for the configuration.

Before disabling staging mode, make sure that no other Azure AD Connect client is synchronizing to the same Azure AD directory. Azure AD Connect does not support concurrent synchronization connections.

After the configuration has been checked, click “Configure”.

After successful configuration, Azure AD Connect can be closed. Only then the synchronization starts in the background.

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