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Brick Level backup never completes on 2k3 SBS servers

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  • Brick Level backup never completes on 2k3 SBS servers

    I read the article on about backing up mailboxes using exmerge and I was rather impressed. So I have implemented this backup on a small number of servers I look after.

    The problem is the backups on all the servers almost never complete. All the servers are SBS2k3 SP2 with Exchange SP2. I get two error messages which start being recorded in the log file and unless stopped just grow and grow until the server crashes.

    I have learnt my lesson and now the log files are on the backup drive but this still does not get the backups complete. The error messages that continually repeat are;

    [08:20:55] Trying to copy messages in folder '\Deleted Items', individually. To avoid duplicates in the target store, messages will be merged and not copied into the target store.
    [08:20:55] Error getting Contents Table.


    [08:23:34] Error copying message with subject '' in folder '\Deleted Items\STORE NZ'. (MAPI_W_PARTIAL_COMPLETION)

    After 6GB of these error messages (not both - always just the one) I'm picking that its just hung on one message.

    Different servers give either of the two messages. Now is this telling me all my exchange server databases are corrupt and I need to run repair, defrag and isinteg? Because every one of them has problems during the week, not every day, but always one. We also do a standard backup every night of the various stores with absolutely NO errors.

    PS - is there a limit on the size of the PST - seems I do not have a PST bigger 2097MB out of exmerge - Yes I know outlook has a limit which I thought was 4GB - but is this my problem - PST too big to append to. In which case, this brick level backup would not seem to be usable, since it appends and never deletes!

    PPS - OK did some more research - seems that 2GB is the limit for exmerge - YOUR'VE GOT TO BE JOKING. Well for extremely small companies I might have a use for exmerge brick level backup. But for me - completely unusable.
    Last edited by DavidLines; 21st July 2008, 23:21.

  • #2
    Re: Brick Level backup never completes on 2k3 SBS servers

    The limits on PST size are well documented have been around for a very long time.
    The limits with EXMERGE are also well documented.


    Furthermore Brick Level Backup is not a valid backup solution for Exchange. It does not flush out the log files, is very slow and very inefficient.

    I can count on one hand the number of times that a brick level backup might have been useful - note the word "MIGHT". In all cases I can recover the data that I need from a full Exchange aware backup application.

    If you are using SBS 2003 then you should read up on the use of the Recovery Storage Group and Deleted Item Retention. With careful planning of DIR recovery from backups of Exchange data can usually be avoided. To date - I have not had to do a single data recovery this year on any Exchange server - apart from testing the backups.

    My advice to you would be to give up on using exmerge as a backup tool.

    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

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