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  • Exchange 2007 restore server - brick level restores

    Hey Guys,

    First post on the forum after reading many technical articles on the main website over a couple of years

    Currently i am at a small company +-150 users
    They run Exchange 2007 SP2 x64 on a 1 topology Server 2003 R2 standard x64 on a VMware vSphere 4.0 cluster
    There are 2 Exchange databases on the D drive from the server; Mailbox databases on storage group 1; Public folders on the second storage group

    The only available backup mechanism for Exchange is a nightly vRanger backup. vRanger backups the virtual machine configuration and entire hard disks. it backups the hard disks to a single file per disk
    When you restore the disk backup set in vRanger to a VMware datastore you can mount the hard disk to a virtual server

    This means that the only possible restore on Exchange level is to mount a restored disk to restore a complete Exchange database
    note; In Exchange the option is set to keep deleted items for 14 days, barracuda appliance caches all incoming mail for like 3/4 months

    Though i do not really like this, i am trying to make brick level restores possible without further investment in a backup solution.
    i made a second virtual Exchange 2007 server with SP3 (production will also be patched to SP3). i didn't configure anything (like send receive connectors) on Exchange level on the second server.
    I thought maybe i can mount a restored database on the second server and open mailboxes on the local server with Outlook to restore/export single mails for example.

    It seems like i cannot mount a restored database on the second server,(probally due transaction logs files? i only have the option to create a new storage group and a new mailbox database
    I read about a other exchange feature; recovery storage groups. i looked at it in the exchange toolbox i configured it but i think im missing some theoretical knowledge i do not understand how to mount the restored database and access a mailbox by MAPI of IMAP i read

    What is the correct solution to make brick level restores possible?
    I think a second server for restore is preferred instead of doing it all on the production server

    regards
    Last edited by Schrik; 23rd December 2010, 10:40. Reason: add storage group configuration to post

  • #2
    Re: Exchange 2007 restore server - brick level restores

    If you want to restore data on another server in the org then you need to use an RSG.
    http://www.petri.com/using_rsg_in_exchange_2007.htm

    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Exchange 2007 restore server - brick level restores

      Hi Simon,

      i read the article you mentioned before my post
      I think im getting stuck at the following point in the article:


      The first step in this section is restoring the DB from the backup.Open the backup software and choose the DB you want, and marked it to restore:


      I do not understand the restore mechanicsm in the example. it will overwrite a existing production database when you restore to the original location?

      I would like to mount my restored VMDK with exchange database to my mailrestore server if possible
      I am getting stuck how to link this with the recovery storage group

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Exchange 2007 restore server - brick level restores

        Are you not using an Exchange aware backup application?

        That is how Exchange is designed to be backed up and then restored. If you are doing something else then you are pretty much on your own as all instructions will be based on using an Exchange aware backup application.

        The bottom line is that the complete machine backup that you are currently doing isn't suitable for doing anything more than a full machine restore. Therefore straight forward restores isn't going to be possible.

        You would have to restore the entire machine, probably to an isolated platform, and then bring the raw file across to mount in to an Exchange server.

        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Exchange 2007 restore server - brick level restores

          i dont think vranger is exchange aware
          vRanger backups the VMDK disk to a single file
          the vRanger restore mechanism restores the VMDK disk to a datastore on the SAN
          so you can mount the VMDK to a server again and access the files on it

          You mean that a exchange aware backup software (like backup exec with exchange plugin?) is smart enough to restore the database on exchange level parralel to the production database?
          and then the exchange recovery storage group detects is and makes restores from single mailboxed possible?

          i tried to restore the complete server in the vmware environment 'isolated'and removed the virtual nic to prevent dns/exchange conflicts with the production environment
          but i cannot start exchange services like the information store without a nic because it cannot communicate with AD
          so i can not 'locally and isolated' restore individual mailboxes out of the exchange database on the restored machine yet

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Exchange 2007 restore server - brick level restores

            You will not be able to do anything with that restore system because it is identical to the live environment - hence the need to restore it isolated. Exchange will not start because it doesn't have a domain controller. You would have to restore it, then extract the files to bring across to the live platform.

            If Exchange is backed up by an Exchange aware backup application, then the restore will use the APIs that Microsoft have provided. With the presence of an RSG, the restore is redirected to that rather than the live database. Just ensure that you do not have allow database to be overwritten by a restore enabled on the live database.

            If you are currently not using an Exchange aware backup application then either the transaction logs are building up, or circular logging is enabled. That will further reduce your restore options in the event of a database issue. Your current backup strategy covers one scenario only, and a pretty unlikely scenario at that. Whole machine/ imaging backups are quite popular, particularly with smaller companies as they think that it makes recovery easy, but with something like Exchange, they are are of limited value. For most companies the most valuable email is the email received in the last 24 to 48 hours and a restore of a complete machine will actually cause the loss of that email.

            Finally, with regards to an Exchange aware backup, you don't have to use Backup Exec, which has become very expensive and bloated. There are many other options available. I use Backup Assist, both personally and with clients, and find that it works very well.

            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Exchange 2007 restore server - brick level restores

              Thanks for your respons,

              What you say is correct ..
              summary: tried to workaround the vranger backup mechanism by building a exchange restore server; as i tested in this topic that will not work
              i informed the customer about the current situation and possibilities
              they were already looking for backup online and other backup solutions fot the entire infrastructure
              leave it for now as it is

              regards

              Comment

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