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Using NTBackup utility on SBS 2003 with Exchange

Posted on 2004-08-16
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I've seen a few posts on this subject, but I thought I'd ask and spread some points.  
I have SBS 2003 and I'm currently using Exchange with the POP3 connector for my 25 clients.
I've read that my Exchange backup is failing because it's already locked and the NTBackup utility can't access it.

My questions are:  

What is the best way to set up two different backups (since SBS has a lot of built in reporting based on the wizards) without breaking anything in the process?

And how confident should i realistically be about this form of backup (i.e. NTBackup) for exchange?

We're a small company, and if NTBackup will suffice (even with some advanced recovery techniques in the event of a disaster) it would be a good thing.
It wouldn't hurt if you could give me an idea on how difficult it would be to restore exchange (or the SBS server) in the worst case scenario.

I'll beef up the points if i need to.
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Question by:rbuckman
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10 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:rbuckman
ID: 11815079
Sorry if my original question is cryptic.

Two different backups = One for files and system state, and one for exvhange


Also, I'm running Symantec AV 9 on the SBS as well.  I, just today, turned off auto-protect for the exchsvr folder.
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

by:Exchange_Admin
Exchange_Admin earned 300 total points
ID: 11815391
Check out the following link on how to use NTBackup to backup your Exchange databases. This tells how to backup Exchange 2000 with Windows 2000 backup but you can use the sam steps with SBS2003.
http://www.msexchange.org/articles/MF020.html

Hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:rbuckman
ID: 11815683
Ok, that helps a little (I pretty much figured that part out).  But I still need to know how to change the backup that SBS created with the wizard.

I cannot figure out how to configure the scheduled backup the SBS wizard creates to NOT attempt a backup of exchange.  This means it continues to try to backup the exchange info even if I create a new scheduled backup that only backs up exchange.  I imagine simply excluding exchsvr is not acceptable.

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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:ralfalpert
ID: 11816058
Re your two backup sets, I had the same problem and this is how I fixed it:

The backup wizard stores the backup configuration file in c:\program files\microsoft small busiess server\backup directory.

I tried to edit this file with Notepad, but found this leads to corruption.
Therefore, I copy the "small business server backup script.bks" to "odd.bks"
Then I modify the "small business server backup script.bks" using the wizard to reflect my second selection (may not include Exchange) and copy the new "small business server backup script.bks" to "even.bks"

Then I schedule a taks on each monday, wednesday and friday just prior to the backup time to copy "odd.bks" to "small business server backup script.bks" and on each tuesday, thursday and saturday "even.bks" to "small business server backup script.bks"

Works fine with me.

This also covers cases where the tape capacity may not suffice to backup the entrire server. Obviously, you can use this method to create unlimited backup sets, each executing on its specific day.

Good luck
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Author Comment

by:rbuckman
ID: 11821270
Ok.... I made that a lot harder than it was.

Exchange Admin:  That article definitely explained for me what I needed to do (which is now done, including the IIS Metabase backup, which I didn't know i needed to do).  I used the backup wizard in Server Manager to turn off the SBS backup and recreated 2 different backups in ntbackup utility's wizard instead.
1 for exchange store and 1 for system state and files.  Not sure yet if this will report to the 'Monitoring and Reporting' page of Server Manager but as long as the backup is good, i'm good.

ralfalpert:  I appreciate your input, but I'm still not sure how to use the SBS backup wizard (different than ntbackup's wizard) to not include exchange backup.
The only option that mentions exchange is whether I want to save a copy of deleted emails.

I'm sure I'm missing a concept here.  There's got to be a way to manually edit the SBS backup once it's created.

Ultimately Exchange Admin got me closest to my goal... I'd still really like someone to explain how the SBS backup is different from ntbackup (which, realistically, i know it's not), and if this is an acceptable way to back up exchange and the system state (i.e. Has anyone ever had to restore exchange using ntbackup, and did it go smoothly).  If nobody has any more input I'll go ahead and award the points...



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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:ralfalpert
ID: 11826276
The last entry in c:\program files\microsoft small busiess server\backup\small business server backup script.bks

reads:

JET FW111\Microsoft Information Store\First Storage Group\

Try to remove it to see if this stops backing up exchange.


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Author Comment

by:rbuckman
ID: 11829966
I saw that, but you also said editing that file leads to corruption...
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LVL 1

Accepted Solution

by:
ralfalpert earned 1200 total points
ID: 11836612
Correct. I tried to edit it in Notepad. Maybe if you edit it with DOS EDIT or with a binary editor you can modify it.
Anyway, it is easy to test as the backup will not run at all if the script is not deemed cosher.

Of cause, you have the option of just using the normal NT backup with scheduler, but I always prefer to use the wizzard based backup as the Server Management screens (backup section) and the notifications only seem to work if the backup has been set up through the wizzard.

Hope this takes you further.

Re. your other question if anyone has done a restore of Exchange with NTBackup: I did one on the SBS 4.5 version and it worked. The only difference being, the backup script downed the Exchange services prior to doing the backup. I guess, you may want to consider this if you don't want to trust the NTBackup entirely.

I found http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;258243&Product=sbserv2003 and
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;328794&Product=sbserv2003 very useful.

Good luck.
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Author Comment

by:rbuckman
ID: 11841388
Ok.... I think I've got it all sorted out.

The SBS Backup Wizard saves the *.bks scripts in the %system drive%\program files\microsoft small busiess server\backup directory as you said.
The NT Backup utility stores the scripts in %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\Data. (by default)

So, all i did was open the "small business backup script.bks" in the ntbackup utility, edited it manually and saved it back to the SBS directory.
I also created a seperate backup (that is stored in the NTBackup location) and scheduled it to backup exchange a few hours before the SBS script kicks off.

This should keep the SBS Backup reporting intact as well as get my Exchange backed up.

I'll know tonight if this did what i wanted, but it seems like it's going to.

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Author Comment

by:rbuckman
ID: 11851607
So everything is working like a charm.... The SBS backup still reports to the backup page on Server Manager and exchange is backing up on it's own schedule.

Thanks for your help ralfalpert... and Exchange Admin....
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