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Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

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  • Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

    Ok. It is a bit complicated but I will try.
    First thing is first, some info about the system.

    - Domain is 2008, Domain controller is 2008 R2
    - Exchange 2010 SP1 (with hotfixes) on 2008 R2 ent.
    - We use Exchange DAG (2 servers)
    All of the system is virtual (on ESXi)
    There is a physical backup server with CA ARcserve r15 backup software

    Until 02/Jun everything is fine, we take document level backups and some occasional restores.
    At 02/Jun we face a disaster and had to reinstall the system and restore from backups.
    Everything is OK except Exchange....
    All of the attachments for all of the users are same. (Yes same...) a 404kb Excel file with name 2801.xls.

    Some of the mails (which originally have multiple attachments or one big attachment) have multiple attachment with names 2801.xls, 2802.xls, 2803.xls and so on... (all with 404KB and same content)
    We can open this common file and it is one of the attachments for one of the users.
    Even some of the mails which originally do not have any attachment are now with this common attachment.
    After a deeper inspect we face a second common file (KLG-09.pdf‎ (75 KB‎) a PDF file from someone’s mailbox.

    So to summarize:
    All of the attachments for all of the mails and for all of the users are; 2801.xls or KLG-09.pdf

    The new emails don’t have this problem. It is only related with the ones that we restore from the backup set.

    We have talked with CA but they told that it is not because of Arcserve and point Microsoft

    Even if you don't have any idea some reply with sympathy is welcome also

    Thanks in advance…

    Ali Cem
    Last edited by Sembee; 7th June 2011, 18:37. Reason: Formatting Correction

  • #2
    Re: Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

    Sounds like a cop out from CA. Remember the first rule of Tech Support - find something else to blame the problem on.

    I have never heard of this problem before, but I don't use any of CA's problems... sorry products anywhere else. Arcserve is known as Arghhhserve, also "good at backups, shame about the restore".

    Your only option though is probably going to be PSS. If PSS then point the finger at Arcserve, then they will have to be dragged in (Microsoft may do this for you).

    I suspect the recovery didn't work correctly, or the backup was bad.
    However only Microsoft, possibly with CA's assistance are going to be able to sort this out.

    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

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    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.


    • #3
      Re: Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

      Have you tried going back to a further point in time?

      That would be my next step, while I give MS a call.

      Bring up a Exchange box, outside of your production configuration and start restoring older backups. Once you have one with viable attachments, I would bring that into production (if the attachments that are corrupted are critical to business).

      I would do this, while you work with MS on the most recent backup of the information store.


      • #4
        Re: Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

        Ok it seems the problem is on CA site.
        We made a small test which is:
        A fresh install of an additional/test exchange server
        Delete selected test user mailboxes
        Recreate test user mailboxes on test exchange server
        Restore CA to alternate location (test exchange server)
        The result is:
        Again all of the attachments are same
        but this time with a different file. (A valid zip file)
        The attachments -are- in the backup set.
        The restore procedure somehow messes up regarding attachment pointers.
        The CA claim crumbles. (As they claim "CA will only restore what it backup before")

        I will try to update the situation further.


        • #5
          Re: Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

          I want to update so that everyone would be aware.

          Heck, I think everyone should hear about this... ( I am so frustrated so this will be good time to pep...)

          Today CA told me that, this issue is because of them and they are doing a "root-cause" analysis. After that they will publish a fix for it. (in fact they already publish a "hyper-doc" regarding this issue:

          However it won't be possible to restore the previous backups as they are allready messed up. (you can substitute a more appropriate word instead of "messed" ) This means our customer had lost all of the attachments...

          The cause is simply because of "Single Instance Storage".
          As most of you know the SIS is a feature of 2007.
          And in 2010 the database do not use SIS.

          However it seems, the current CA Exchange Agent is not aware of this.

          Now I should explain this to our customer and although we are not guilty ,I somehow responsible as it is a product we propose/promote in the first place.

          My only solace is, because of our problem, and the fix from CA. Other CA users will not face a tragedy like this. (Though I doubt they won't face other blows, as long as they use CA products)

          And once this event manifests:
          "Never ever, trust a backup."

          PS: Yes Sembee, it is really Arghhhserve.


          • #6
            Re: Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

            really pleased you're gettin this sorted, and you should get massive reps for identifying a fault with CA, and getting it sorted for everyone in future !
            Please do show your appreciation to those who assist you by leaving Rep Point


            • #7
              Re: Joint attachment problem in Exchange 2010.

              Just for the record:

              CA has published a fix for this problem... But this fix will not recover old backups. (For our case the attachments are gone for good and all)

              Details are:::

              During a Exchange Doc Level restore, the attachments for all emails being restored are incorrect. The same attachment is being restored for all emails.
              This will occur if SIS option is enabled on Exchange Agent when performing the backup.

              This problem has only been seen on Exchange 2010 systems.

              A problem has been noticed that MAPI CDO apis are returning unexpected data with regard to email attachments.
              With the ARCserve Backup Exchange Agent SIS option enabled, all attachments may not be backed up by the Exchange Agent.

              Please apply fix RO31785. Fix can be found at:


              Note: It should be noted that the email attachments were never backed up. After applyiny fix RO31785, please perform a backup of your Exchange system
              so that the email attachments will get backed up.