(nightmare) protecting an Exchange 2007 running on w2003

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(nightmare) protecting an Exchange 2007 running on w2003

Veeam Logoby tinto1970 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:19 am

Hi folks,

i'm experiencing a difficult situation, where a super critical VM is totally unprotected. To start protecting it we need to perform configuration changes,
but before any change a backup is recommended :roll:

Scenario: Windows 2003 virtual machine (on ESXi 5.5), Exchange 2007 running on it. Legacy backup solution (Backup Exec 2012)
no longer working since months: the mail server is totally unprotected at the moment.
The VM was using RDMs in Physical Compatibility mode, but we have converted the RMDs in Virtual Compatibility mode.

We want to start protecting with Veeam, but we have concerns regarding the configuration of the machine and backup job,
and we want to take the less risk possibile.

Veeam is at 9.5update1, the integration with Netapp storage system works fine.
VM size is reported to be 2.7 TB, the job contains only this VM.
I've enabled application aware processing (test successful).
The job must use only storage integration (faillover to standard backup unchecked).
The NetApp volumes should have enough free space: the one holding log files is at 67% of used space.
I estimate 7-12 hours for the first full backup.

Is this configuration good and we can try to run the backup safely, or not?
Would it be better to convert disks from Virtual RDMs to VMDK before to proceed?

I've also opened a case with support (severity 4, id # 02072446) to upload configuration files and details.

Easy to guess, i have lot of concern with this issue, and i have fear that the snapshot operations could stuck the server driving i.e. to database unmount,
even if we are using Storage Integration, and the vmware snapshot will live just a few minutes. Without Storage Integration i would not even try it.

An comments and suggestions are appreciated. I'm feeling alone on a wrecked ship :(

thank you so much
Alessandro Tinivelli aka Tinto
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Re: (nightmare) protecting an Exchange 2007 running on w2003

Veeam Logoby Gostev » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:40 pm 1 person likes this post

Hi Alessandro, why not create a manual storage snapshot to serve as a safeguard you can roll back to, before trying?
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Re: (nightmare) protecting an Exchange 2007 running on w2003

Veeam Logoby tinto1970 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:12 pm 1 person likes this post

great tip!
actually i had the same idea a few minutes ago, when i was walking alone in the night to calm down after stressing days...

A relaxed mind works better than a stressed one! :wink:
Alessandro Tinivelli aka Tinto
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Re: (nightmare) protecting an Exchange 2007 running on w2003

Veeam Logoby Andreas Neufert » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:39 pm 1 person likes this post

I would do the following.
As you have now a VMware vRDM.
Shutdown the Server (for consistency)
Create a Storage Snapshot manually.

Backup the Server with Veeam without Storage SnapShot Integration and without guest processing (the server is down).
After the job has started and created a VM snapshot you can start the server again.

That way you have 2 savepoint (SnapShot + Veeam).

You can then enable the InGuest processing and see if that works...

Yes you can convert to VMDK, but I would ignore this and start an exchange upgrade to new servers as described in the microsoft migration paths immediately...
Exchange 2007 will go end of support in April and
Windows 2003 did already
after more than 10 years.
If the server was migrated from older Exchange Versions there is good chance that you have some very easy to hack (virus) old protocols enabled (NTLM1 for example).

In times of Viruses that attack any open vulnerability in email systems this is critical.
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Re: (nightmare) protecting an Exchange 2007 running on w2003

Veeam Logoby tinto1970 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:41 am 6 people like this post

update: i've read carefully the consideration from the support engineer, Gostev and Andreas.

The conversion to VDMK has been performed, so i decided to "took a reasonable risk":

- i took a storage snapshot manually, without shutting down the server
- i let the job, with storage snapshot integration active, run
- i have monitored the initial phase, waiting for the vmware snapshot commit to check if the database was still mounted

everything went fine, smooth and fast.

Final considerations:
-the legacy backup software was not able to complete backup in 16 hours, even using a brand new LTO7 tape drive / Veeam completed in less than 3 hours
-deleting logs by enabling circular logging (forced to do this a few months ago) in exchange took 2 hours with services down / Veeam cleaned logs in 12 minutes, with services up
-Veeam has hundreds thousands customers, but you can still find the Vice President and CTO answering your questions on the forum.

Is Veeam a dream, or true? ;-)

P.S.: i really understand the risks of running such and old combination of exchange/windows. Mailboxes from this server should have been migrated, and i hope they will be soon.
Alessandro Tinivelli aka Tinto
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Re: (nightmare) protecting an Exchange 2007 running on w2003

Veeam Logoby emachabert » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:48 pm 4 people like this post

Alessandro, congratulation, you've just been "Veeamized" !
Veeamizing your IT since 2009/ Vanguard 2015,2016,2017
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