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Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

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  • Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

    I was just reading another thread regarding backing up Exchange databases and it got me thinking about my own backup practices. I am running Backup Exec 10d on a member server and using the agent to backup my Exchange 2003 databases and mailboxes over the network. When I run a full backup, it is taking 17 1/2 hours to backup 420GB of data (and verify). I have full 1GB/sec switches and NIC cards in the servers. The tape is a Ultrium -TD3 which according to the documentation can support up to 160mb/sec.

    My exchange database is around 77GB. I currently have the job backing up the information store, all the mailboxes, and the public folders. I was reading that I am essentially backing everything up twice. Is that the reason for the extremely long backup times, or am I missing something?

    I tried to be as detailed as possible, but I can provide more information if needed.

    Thank you,

    Tim

  • #2
    Re: Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

    Here's a not so simple answer:

    Yes, you are backing up everything twice. Here's why you need to do it that way with your current version of BackupExec:

    1. The Information Store backup can not be used to restore individual items (mailboxes, public folders, messages, etc). That's why you need the mailbox backup.

    2. You can not restore the Information Store from just the mailbox backup, that's why you need the IS backup.

    When backing up mailboxes (BE calls this legacy backups) the BE engine uses MAPI to connect to each mailbox in order to back up it's contents. You'll be lucky to get 5 - 20 MB per minute as your job rate, that's why it takes so long.

    Here's my recommendation: Upgrade to BE 12.5 which uses GRT (Granular Restore Technology) to backup Exchange. This will allow you to only backup the IS, but be able to restore individual items from the IS backup. You won't need to back up the mailboxes anymore, only the IS, and your backups should complete in half the time.

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    • #3
      Re: Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

      I'll have to disagree.

      GRT in Backup Exec is garbage. It had so many issues in 11d that almost everyone stopped using it and I have no plans to even give it another try. At one point Symantec came out and said something like "we have to reverse engineer Microsoft's IS for GRT to work, it will never work perfectly"

      You're on Exchange 2003, there's a fantastic feature called Recovery Storage Groups. Use that if you need to do individual item restores and stick to a sole IS level backup.

      To compare I backup 245GB daily w/verify in under five hours.

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      • #4
        Re: Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

        Thats what I thought. I could just backup the information store and then if I needed to recover an individual mailbox, I could create a recovery group, restore the IS to that, the then move items back to the real IS. Correct?

        Thanks for the replies and Happy New Year!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

          Originally posted by timmytimm3 View Post
          Thats what I thought. I could just backup the information store and then if I needed to recover an individual mailbox, I could create a recovery group, restore the IS to that, the then move items back to the real IS. Correct?

          Thanks for the replies and Happy New Year!!
          Yes, works great. Just make sure your Exchange server has the capacity to hold two copies of the IS. As an extra step adjust deleted item retention settings, with that you can even avoid doing a restore in most cases.

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          • #6
            Re: Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

            Originally posted by Garen View Post
            Just make sure your Exchange server has the capacity to hold two copies of the IS.
            From memory, Microsoft strongly recommend that you spec your Exchange server to never use more than 50% of disk space on the IS partition anyway. With disk so cheap these days, that's a reasonable enough recommendation.
            Gareth Howells

            BSc (Hons), MBCS, MCP, MCDST, ICCE

            Any advice is given in good faith and without warranty.

            Please give reputation points if somebody has helped you.

            "For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the Earth." (Exodus 9:15) - I could kill you with my thumb.

            "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you." (Genesis 9:3) - For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

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            • #7
              Re: Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

              Well, I'll have to disagree. I've used GRT since version 11D and have never had a problem with it. I regularly restore mailboxes and messages. You could use RSG as others have suggested but that's a lot of work to restore a single message or mailbox. If you have the budget to upgrade BE, why not give it a shot?

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              • #8
                Re: Backup Exec 10d Exchange Questions

                I have been using Backup Exec 11D for the past year and a half and I must say that GRT is unreliable at best.

                GRT was working for me and I was even able to restore some individual messages. However, I went to do it again recently and for some reason it has just stopped, and I could only recover at the store level. I removed and re-installed the agent and lo and behold I could now backup and restore individual messages.

                Unfortunately, this does not have a happy ending and seems to be an ongoing saga, in that I can not not recover indivdual mailboxes/messages again this week.

                12.5 is a bigger nightmare (another story), but I will most likely be moving to it in the near future as I have an upgrade covered under maintenance and we will then be able to use it for our VCB/ESX solution which will hopefulyl yield better results.

                This will be the last straw though, and I will then seriously consider an alternative if that doesn't work the way it was advertised.

                If you have it working, that's great though.

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