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heydonms
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Backing up Exchange mailstores separately to VM

Post by heydonms » Aug 12, 2013 1:45 am

I have an archive exchange mailstore, the contents don't change much and when they do it is always because something has been moved from the main mailstore into the archive. I would like to back up the archive mail store less regularly than the rest of the host. The archive store is on a separate disk so I can just exclude that disk from the job and then create a separate job for just that disk, but I am wondering if anyone else has tried this and if they have had any issues with recoverability.

Obviously we would do our own testing before committing but I thought I would start by seeing what other people thought.

If the archive is backed up on Monday, and exchange is backed up daily, if we restore Wednesday's copy of Exchange and Monday's copy of the archive, are we going to have problems getting it to use an older copy of the database? Are there any other issues with backing the disks up separately?

Dima P.
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Re: Backing up Exchange mailstores separately to VM

Post by Dima P. » Aug 12, 2013 10:15 am

Hello Michael,

Could you please clarify what version of Exchange you are running and another place of interest is the way you archival mail store is set up: does it use separate database or it share database with the original exchange mail store?

Thank you.

heydonms
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Re: Backing up Exchange mailstores separately to VM

Post by heydonms » Aug 13, 2013 3:38 am

Exchange 2010 SP3, the archiving is done using Exchange's built in archive functionality and the archive mailboxes are stored in a separate database to the primary mailboxes. Currently both DBs share a disk for transaction logging but that can be changed easily enough.

Dima P.
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Re: Backing up Exchange mailstores separately to VM

Post by Dima P. » Aug 13, 2013 10:09 am

Thanks for clarifying!

The configuration looks perfect - and backup would not be a problem. From this point you can use two options for restoring the backup of the archived mail store:

First option is to use Exchange Explorer to restore the individual items from the archive mail store.

Second in to restore entire VM disk with archive mail store. I believe this would do you no harm, and it should not conflict with your original mail sore – I found some indications that users backup the archive mail store this way.

However, I can think of some logic issues may arise if you restore the archive backed up on Monday to the Friday Exchange - as exchange items that were moved to archive mailboxes in this case would be lost, as it has been already moved to archive before restore took place. To make it work as it should you can schedule to run archive disk backup more frequently - for example you can use incremental mode, as you mentioned previously that archive mail store don’t change much, so this would not use a lot of disk space.

Another way to resolve this is to throttle the archiving on the Exchange. Archiving became continuous process starting from exchange 2010 SP1, but it could be turned on/off thru the managed folder assistant and work cycles. Let’s say you can turn on archiving the day before backup and then shut it down. Please note that this may produce heave load on the production.

Hope this makes sense,
Cheers!

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