No announcement yet.

Exchange online backup - which folders to include

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Exchange online backup - which folders to include

    Hello everyone,

    I have a simple question about backing up exchange.

    I currently have a setup in which I backup my Information Store with Backup Exec and it is all working great.

    I would like to add another layer of protection by using an off site backup application which uses ftp to transfer files across to a remote storage location.

    My questions are as follows:

    1) Can I just select the C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\MDBDATA and that should be enough? Can I restore an Information Store from these files? Do I need anything else?

    2) Do I need to make sure that my off site backup application is not touching the Information Store while it's being backed up by my daily backup routines?



  • #2
    Re: Exchange online backup - which folders to include

    1. Because most of the Exchange configuration is located in the AD (Connectors, SG names, Mailboxes locations, etc) backing up the Information Store (mailboxes + PF) would be enough from the Exchange side.
    Remember that because the major configuration of the Exchange is located in the AD - you must have at list one DC in order to restore the Exchange (recommended to have at list 2 DCs in order to backup each other).

    2. In case of disaster, you can use the Setup /disasterrecovery option and then use the Exchange configuration that is located in the AD:

    3. About the off site issue - there is no need to warry about the IS backup by the backup application.
    CNE 5, CCA, MCSE NT4.0-2003, MCSE 2003 messaging, Exchange Server MVP.
    Tzahi Kolber - IT Supervisor
    Polycom Israel.


    • #3
      Re: Exchange online backup - which folders to include

      Your off-site backup application needs to be 'Exchange-aware', otherwise you are in for a world of pain.

      I don't think you should have two backups running on the same Exchange Server at around the same time. That's asking for trouble, even if they are both Exchange-aware. You can image one backup finishing before the other, and then starting to roll the uncommitted logs into the database while the other backup says - "WTF? My database is unexpectedly changing while I'm backing it up! I'm not going to have the logs I expect at the end of my backup!"

      If your off-site backup app is not Exchange-aware then to get a good backup, you will need to dismount the Exchange stores, which may not be convenient.

      Backup Exec is able to backup to disk, and so this leads to an idea. If you have enough extra disk space, you could backup your Exchange IS to disk (in addition to backing up to tape). The backups to disks will be flat files, and so you could then use your off-line app to copy those to your off-site. Would that work?



      • #4
        Re: Exchange online backup - which folders to include

        Hello guys,

        Thank you very much for your helpful replies.

        I think I might have left out an important detail. Yes, my off site backup is not exchange aware. So basically all I can do with it is backup folders and files. That's why I was thinking to myself, is this actually going to work in a disaster recovery situation?

        So lets put it this way, I would back up the system state + the MDBDATA folder (while exchange is running and mounted so basically the backup application would take a snapshot of this folder). This is of course not an exchange aware procedure so I'm basically just backing up files.

        Would I be able to restore from it?



        • #5
          Re: Exchange online backup - which folders to include

          You can't backup Exchange while the services are running.

          Thats it.

          Even the open file backup agents are not worth the hassle.

          If your online backup system is not Exchange aware then I would look for another product that is.

          The only way that you can backup the raw files is to stop the Exchange services, then backup the files. However Exchange is not designed to be stopped for backup purposes, there is no good time to stop Exchange for the length of time that a backup might take to run. Exchange carries out maintenance during the night, so that rules out stopping Exchange during the night.

          To backup Exchange correctly, flushing the backup logs you must use an Exchange aware backup application. Backing up the raw files is not enough.

          If you really have no choice, then I would backup Exchange and the system state, as separate jobs, using ntbackup to file, then get your online backup tool to backup those files.
          Do not allow the backup application to try and backup anything in the /exchsrvr directory.

          Simon Butler
          Exchange MVP

          More Exchange Content:
          Exchange Resources List:
          In the UK? Hire me:

          Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.


          • #6
            Re: Exchange online backup - which folders to include

            Hi Simon,

            Thank you for your reply. I think we've reached a conclusion here. Even if backing up the exchange while the services are running would basically backup the databases in an inconsistent state. If I would need to restore from that, I think I would have to run eseutil and who knows if that's going to help me....

            Anyway, in the end of the day, I'm not going to take the chance. I think what i'm going to do is to upload my backup files (the ones that contain the IS backup and system state) to my off site backup location. I will probably do it once a week during the weekend or something.

            I think this is a good compromise.

            Thanks for everyone's help and feel free to post a reply if what I said here is wrong or if you have a better idea.