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  • Question about NTBackup and Exchange

    I've got some questions about Exchange 2003 SP2 backup.

    Today, I use ntbackup and take three full backups per week. There are three backup jobs scheduled and each job backs-up all of the storage groups on the server. The bkf files are ~400GB (the DBs are about 89, 171, 95, and 56 I think).

    I'd like to create a separate backup job for each storage group and schedule them to run simulatneously (maybe starting within 10 minutes of each other). So I'd have one job to backup db1 and db2, a job to backup db3, and one to backup db4.

    My questions are, will that work and what implications will it have for the total size of the backups? Also, can I even run concurrent full backups?

    I'd also like to run a differential backup in between these full backups. What will happen if a differential backup starts before the full backup finishes?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

    what sort of media are you backing up to ?

    If it's just to disk, you'll probably end up with 4 files, of approximately the size of the current mailstore.

    I'm not sure if you can run concurrent backups.. but it shouldn't have any particular impact on the databases themselves.

    Don't start the differential before the full backup. How long is your full backup running?

    You specified you currently run a full backup job 3 times a week. This backup job should NOT be taking 24 hours, so:
    Run 1 full backup on Monday. 1 Differential on Tuesday. 1 Full on Wednesday. 1 Diff on Thursday. 1 Full on Friday.
    Then back to 1 full on Monday.

    Using full+diff will marginally lower your actual backup media required, but will extend your recovery time.\

    Is this helping you at all ?
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    • #3
      Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

      If you have both the time window and the storage capacity I'd be doing full backups every night. I would be surprised if running concurrent backups would work well - I'd expect things to slow to a crawl and then you'd still have jobs running next morning when people are logging in.

      I also have to ask: You're using Exchange Enterprise and clearly have lots of users or at least a very heavy dependence on email. Why are you using a product as limited as NTBackup rather than something like Backup Exec?
      BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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      • #4
        Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

        The disks are SAS in a dell array. I've got a gig-e connection between the servers but the backups take 24+ hours. I'm just trying to shorten that up a bit.

        @cruachan, the problem is that we don't have the time window. We're using ntbackup because that's what we have. I only need to keep a couple weeks worth of backups and don't know that I could make a business case for other software.

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        • #5
          Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

          Originally posted by mhashemi View Post
          I only need to keep a couple weeks worth of backups and don't know that I could make a business case for other software.
          That's a no-brainer. Right now your backup regime is totally inadequate. I really have to question the implementation of an Email system without including an appropriate backup/DR solution. NTBackup is free and has it's place, but it is not backing up 400gb of email data. What sort of backup device are you using?
          BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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          • #6
            Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

            SAS disk in a Dell array. An MD3000 to be precise.

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            • #7
              Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

              Considering that my only concern is database corruption, what benefits would you describe in using something like Symantec's Netbackup?

              The most important users in our environment get a copy of their e-mail sent offsite through an archiving service.

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              • #8
                Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                ok - it's good to know you're archiving critical emails - that actually adds to the way I would handle the scenario.

                If you're archiving all your critical emails offsite, why do you need to backup what's left?
                Your only worry as you mentioned is corruption. So, we've got critical emails archived offsite, a disaster happens, create a new storage group and import the critical emails.

                I think part of your issue is that you need to convince business that technical isn't just spending money for spendings sake, and that backup IS A critical, crucial part of the environment. Best way to do this is to put together the costs of what it would cost business to fix eveyrthing and put it back how it was, then show them how the expenditure would actually benefit them.
                Explain it to them as insurance - you wouldn't run a business without adequate Professional Indemnity or Public Liability, or Employees Compensatio (or whatever it's called) - you don't want to spend the money, but you do it in case you ever need it.
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                • #9
                  Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                  Tehcamel pretty much covered it. The key question always in these situations is "What is acceptable downtime for a recovery?" How long can the business cope without email? The shorter the answer you get the more money the beancounters need to spend. Them's the rules unfortunately, high availability is even more expensive.
                  BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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                  • #10
                    Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                    as for the current scenario Can you please advice which one would be better for exchange 2003 backup. veritas net backup or symantec backup exec and what version ?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                      Personally I have had no problems with either (although my Veritas experience is some 4 years ago)
                      Current version unless it has stopped supporting an older Exchange server
                      Tom Jones
                      MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
                      PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
                      IT Trainer / Consultant
                      Ossian Ltd
                      Scotland

                      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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                      • #12
                        Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                        backup exec tends to be a bit cheaper and is more aimed at the "smaller" size enterprises than Netbackup. At least this is my understanding.

                        I've also found bex to be more intuitive that nbu personally.

                        I also suggest OP runs some diagnostics, and work out how long it would take to copy 400GB to the MD3000 in a normal situation, as 400G taking >24 hours does sound like a long time...

                        Also! I forgot about this one!
                        Make sure any antivirus that has on-access file scanning is turned off while the backup runs. This decreased our window by almost half...
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                        • #13
                          Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                          Something is certainly wrong here with the backup speed.
                          At one client I work with, we are currently backing up 600gb in less than seven hours - it is only that slow because I run two jobs at the same time to the same storage location. 400gb in 24 hours plus is very slow. Are you doing a verification on that data as well? If so, turn that off.

                          Personally I am no longer a fan of Backup Exec. I haven't used it for some time - version 10 (the last non-Symantec version). I now use Backup Assist everywhere. It is based on NTBACKUP, which is fine for doing the job. Microsoft use NTBACKUP to backup their environment, and it is based on technology supplied by Seagate Software (aka Veritas) - the same core engine as Backup Exec.

                          Simon.
                          --
                          Simon Butler
                          Exchange MVP

                          Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                          More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                          Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                          In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                          Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                            But how do I tell where the bottleneck is? I've run counters for the Bytes Sent/sec, and Output Queue Length of the nic and Avg. Disk Queue Length, Disk Reads/sec for the database drives but the numbers don't seem bad.

                            Bytes Sent/sec: average of 3.5M
                            Output Queue Length: average of three (though max of 47)
                            Avg. Disk Queue Length: 1.652/.721 (drive1/drive2)
                            Disk Reads/sec: 249/251 (drive1/drive2)

                            The other server shows similar numbers.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Question about NTBackup and Exchange

                              What are you backing up to?
                              Hard Disk, USB, Firewire?

                              Simon.
                              --
                              Simon Butler
                              Exchange MVP

                              Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                              More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                              Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                              In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                              Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

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