How do I backup my Exchange 2000/2003 server?
One of the most important tasks for an Exchange administrator is the regular, day-by-day, backing up of all the Exchange databases. This can be easily accomplished by use of the built-in NTBACKUP.EXE software found on your Exchange 2000/2003 server.
Some administrators might choose to your 3rd-Party backup tools, such as:
However, as stated above, you do NOT need to buy expensive 3rd-Party tools just to backup your Exchange server.
Generally, you can backup Exchange 2000/2003 in 2 ways: Online backup and Offline backup.
Online Backup – An Online backup is performed while the Information Store is still mounted and the Exchange server is operational. The Exchange is Online and available for transactions, therefore it still allows users to work without interruption. Online backups also automatically clear the database logs upon completion.
Another major advantage of the Online backup method is the fact that the Exchange store is checked for corruption at the file-system level. This check is done by verifying the checksums on each 4 KB (Kilobyte) block or page in the database. If there is a checksum failure, backup will terminate. Exchange will not allow you to back up an Exchange store with a wrong checksum in it.
Therefore, after an online backup is complete, you should check the Event Viewer to find out whether your Exchange store is corrupted. If you see a failed backup with a page read error event in Event Viewer, this may be an early indication of a problem in the database.
Offline Backup – Offline backup is performed by shutting down the Exchange Information Store service and performing COPY procedures on the Exchange databases (Public Folder or Mailbox stores). Using an Offline Backup provides a method to restore the Exchange system to its last known state or specific “point in time”, and is usually considered to be less attractive than the Online backup.
However, you may need to perform an Offline backup in the following situations:
Some disadvantages to performing an Offline backup include:
In this article I will discuss the Online backup method.
Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 already have the NTBACKUP software installed by default. However, installing Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 2003 on these machines will upgrade NTBACKUP and allow it to be used to backup the Exchange databases (also known as Stores).
Note: You can also Backup Exchange 2000/2003 from a Non-Exchange Server.
To perform an Online backup of Exchange Server 2003 follow these steps (note that 99% of the steps outlined here also work for Exchange 2000, although the screenshots were taken on Exchange Server 2003):
Note: It is always best to backup an entire Storage Group rather than individual Stores, and if possible, try to backup the entire IS in one job, although lack of time or storage might force you to selectively backup just parts of the IS at a time.
You can also press the Advanced button and select the Backup Type. For this demonstration I‘ve chosen Normal. I‘ll discuss the differences between the backup types in a different article.
When you‘re done press the Begin Backup button. The backup job should begin:
To verify that Exchange recognizes that an online backup was performed follow these steps:
Note regarding the backing-up of the System State AND the Information Store in one backup job: In Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 you cannot perform a backup of the System State AND the Exchange IS in one job, due to limitations in the Volume Shadow Copy service (VSS). These limitations are described in the following KB Article:
You might also want to read the following related articles: