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Backups reporting corrupt data: database or database element is corrupt

Posted on 2004-04-20
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The server with the problem was recently installed (MS Win2003 SBS server w/ Exchange 2003) from an NT4/Exchange 5.5 server which had a hard drive going bad.  The bad hard drive prevented me from running the migration utility for the Exchange mailboxes to the new server so I used exmerge to pipe them into a pst file and then back up to the new server.  Some of the mailboxes would not exmerger so I copied the mail records to a local pst file and then up to the new server.  Also some of the mailboxes were very large and I had run into some problems but I got them all to the new server and everything seems OK but the backups report failures on every backup.  The error:  

Click an error below to locate it in the job log

Backup - \\SERVER\Microsoft Exchange Mailboxes Access denied to file Louis Modumal [modumall]Top of Information StoreInboxFW: AC Surf Update: PLAY BALL SATURDAY at SANDCASTLE.

Database or database element is corrupt

There are very many of these and after removing them some more will appear.  It seems like there might be some problem with the exchange database but I am not an expert with Exchange.  

I would really appreciate any help.

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Question by:Blacksheep_Systems
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by:bwinzenz
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Sounds like you are running a Mailbox level backup.  Don't.  I assume that you are using some sort of 3rd party backup program, as NTBackup does not allow you to back up individual mailboxes.

Instead of doing backups this way, simply select the Storage Group from your backup set.  This will perform an online backup of the entire database (instead of doing it mailbox by mailbox), will purge the committed log files once it is complete, and will ensure that you can get all mail back in the event of a disaster (complete server crash).  Brick-level backups do none of that.  I'd be happy to go into more details if needed.

Ben
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by:Blacksheep_Systems
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Ben,

Thank you very much for your post.  I am backing up individual mailboxes using BackupExec 9 as I thought that was the way to go.  After looking at the backup job, I was also backing up the storage group but I have already changed this.  I would appreciate a reference so I can find out more info if you know of one.  Otherwise, thank you very much.

On another note though why would e-mails keep getting corrupt?  Is this indicative of a problem with the Exchange database?
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bwinzenz earned 50 total points
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If there is actually corruption in the database, then you would see corresponding errors in your event logs on the server.  Errors such as 1018, 1019, 1022.  When you say that e-mails are getting corrupt, are they no longer accessible from the mailbox, or is BackupExec simply unable to back them up?  If it is simply the mailbox-level backup that is unable to back them up, it's not something that I would worry about.  If the actual e-mails are being corrupted to the point that they cannot be accessed by the user, you may have another problem.  Do you have file-level antivirus running on this server?  If so, have you made sure that you have excluded the M: drive, along with the pertinent Exchsrvr directories?

As far as a link, here is one that explains some of the reasons that mailbox-level backups are not the best way to back up Exchange data.
http://mail.tekscan.com/nomailboxes.htm is a detailed rant against Brick levevel backups.

Also, if you refer to your BackupExec documentation, it should be quite clearly stated that you cannot restore a server from mailbox-level backups.  You have to have a full online backup (which it sounds like you are doing, so that is good).

I suspect that your backup jobs for Exchange are taking a LONG time to complete?  It's because of the individual mailbox backup portion.

If you have any other questions about this, feel free to post additional comments.  I'd be happy to provide more information.

Ben
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by:Blacksheep_Systems
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The backups are completing successfully.  Thanks again Ben.  I really appreciate your input.

What did you mean to exclude "the pertinant Exchange srvr directories?"  I knew about the M: drive but is something else supposed to be removed from the scans?
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by:bwinzenz
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Take a look at the following Microsoft KB article, which details the directories that you should exclude if you are running a file-level antivirus program (not the same as Exchange antivirus).
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;328841

Ben
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