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Exch 2000 transaction logs not being flushed by backup exec

Posted on 2004-08-19
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Hi there,

my exchange server is rapidly running out of space, due to the transaction logs not being cleared or flushed. After reading about the topic a little bit it would seem to me that it's the job of my backup software to do this. For various reasons (too much data, a few corrupt files, some incorrect settings in the backup job) I haven't had a 'successful' backup in a long long time - until last night.

After last night's succesful backup however I've still found that the logs haven't changed any.

The backup that I'm doing is only of selected mailboxes, which I'm guessing is precisely the reason it hasn't removed or flushed any of the logs (not knowing anything about transaction logs, I didn't know if backing up SOME of the mailboxes would remove SOME of the logs.) So my gut feeling is to select all of the mailboxes and see whether this solves things.

Normally I'd be quite happy to experiment with this until I got it right - however each backup takes around 12 hours I'm running out of time (and space!) - so I'm posting here as hopefully someone will be able to give me some pointers.

Thanks very much
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Question by:dyl666
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by:rhandels
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Hi,

You will need to do a full back-up of the store, not a single mailbox backup. Normally Back-up software have a single mailbox back-up and a Online store backup. You will need to do the online backup of the complete store, then the transaction logs will be flushed. A quick way to help you out now is to use NTBAckup (it's Exchange aware) on the Exchange server and do an Exchange onlien backup of the store, then the Transaction logs will be purged.

Small note. Make sure to safe the .bkf file to a tape or cd in case of a disaster recovery..
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by:scampgb
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Hi dyl666,

Having looked around, the general concensus seems to be that the log files will be purged once a good complete backup is performed.
Make sure that you are doing a FULL backup, with "flush committed logs"

The thread http://www.experts-exchange.com/Applications/Email/Q_20891226.html suggests that you can delete the log files manually, but be a bit cautious with doing that.

I hope that this helps - let me know if you need any further help.
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by:Sembee
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Doing mailbox backups is slow. They are very inefficient, use lots of space and are useless for disaster recovery. As you have also seen they are very prone to failure.

You should do a Information Store backup instead. This is a complete backup of the entire Exchange databases. You haven't said how large your Exchange database is, but at one site I do a 40gb Exchange store in around 6 hours on to DLT. Your times will depend on the tape technology used.

I would NEVER EVER delete the transaction logs by hand. That is asking for trouble. Exchange aware backup tools will flush these logs for you.

Simon.
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by:scampgb
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Hi Sembee - I was probably understating the case when I said "be a bit cautious" about deleting the logs :-)
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by:dyl666
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Thanks guys. When you talk about backing up the information store, are you talking about the .edb file (which is about 40gb by the way - this doesn't present a problem) - or something that shows up as an 'information store' in the backup software? (The only option in Backupexec (v8) that I get is for the mailboxes - perhaps this means that the Exchange connector is installed incorrectly?

I should have also mentioned - the tape drive is on a different server, so it's backing up across the network (using the 'Backup Agent for MS Exchange Server' option...)

Thanks again
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by:rhandels
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Hi,

Question, not be stupid or anything else, but what didn't i post in my question that is posted after it??? Oh well, maybe i'm to cryptic.... And on the posts..

>>I would NEVER EVER delete the transaction logs by hand. That is asking for trouble. Exchange aware backup tools will flush these logs for you.<<

I agree with Sembee, never ever ever delete transaction logs manually...

>>Doing mailbox backups is slow. They are very inefficient, use lots of space and are useless for disaster recovery. As you have also seen they are very prone to failure. <<

Don't agree with Simon. I don't know if you have the "stupid" user among your users??? Our users tend to throw away pieces of their mailboxes that they need and we need to recover inboxes and stuff.... I would recommend doing both back-ups, this will give you both disaster recovery and fast user mailbox recovery.. (if you have the time and space off course)
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by:rhandels
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>>Thanks guys. When you talk about backing up the information store, are you talking about the .edb file (which is about 40gb by the way - this doesn't present a problem) - or something that shows up as an 'information store' in the backup software?<<

Somethins that shows up as "Information Store back-up". If you back-up the .edb file, than it's called an off line backup.

>>I should have also mentioned - the tape drive is on a different server, so it's backing up across the network (using the 'Backup Agent for MS Exchange Server' option...)<<

Shouldn't be a problem at all..
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by:dyl666
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Ok, then I'm thinking there must be a problem with the Agent that I have installed, as I certainly don't get the option to back up the information store - just individual mailboxes.

Can I post html in here? If so,

<img src="http://hatch.ifb.co.uk/backup.jpg">

and if not...

http://hatch.ifb.co.uk/backup.jpg

I guess I will look into this aspect. Thanks for your help so far...
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by:rhandels
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I would say if you can backup mailboxes, you installed it correct. Maybe back-up exec cant do an online back-up (don't think so, but try to ask the vendor on this subject).

Another thing you could consider is to enable circular logging. Then you only have two transaction logs. Only problem is that you cannot do disaster recovery of your server. You can only go back to the last back-up you made..
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Sembee earned 500 total points
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Backup Exec can do do online backups - it wouldn't be the leader in backup software it couldn't.
However you need to have the latest Exchange agent. If you have recently upgraded to 9.x then you need to make sure that you have the latest key from Veritias. Call customer services to get it if you don't already have it. I had the same problem with a client a few months ago.

As for the comment above about the users... I have never need to resort to recovering data for individual emails. Exchange has enough options built in to get round that - such as deleted item retension and do not purge options.
With Exchange 5.5 an MVP wrote a process that means you NEVER have to restore: http://www.swinc.com/resource/exch_faq_appxb.htm

Simon.
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by:rhandels
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>>Backup Exec can do do online backups - it wouldn't be the leader in backup software it couldn't. <<

Strong point Simon ;)

>>such as deleted item retension and do not purge options. <<

Agree, agree, but if you delete a file using the Shift delete option, it is gone (or if you remove a complete "folder"). Maybe i should be looking into that. But backing up mailboxes makes it easier to restore if gone...
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by:robinluo
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rhandels,

>>but if you delete a file using the Shift delete option, it is gone <<

There is way to retrieve it.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;178630
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by:rhandels
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Hi Robinluo,

Thanx for the post, i did found it after Simon's post... But this is for Exchange 5.5 and 2000, does it work for 2003 to???
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by:rhandels
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Tried it and it works....
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