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Merge mailbox store

Posted on 2006-03-30
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have a single domain with 2 Exchange 2003 servers. For disaster planning purposes if one server were to completely fail I want to be able to take a backup of the mailbox store and restore it to the other. The surving Exchange server would contain all of the mailboxes. Could this be accomplished with RSG and the exmerge? Any other options?
Thanks.
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Question by:setags
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ksharma4 earned 672 total points
ID: 16339918
RSG is obviously the best option in this particular case Followed by running exmerge utility.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;824126

Thanks
Kunal
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Expert Comment

by:f_umar
ID: 16340177
u can use a third party product which saves downtime "Double Take" for critical services
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by:ATIG
ID: 16341634
What you want to do is  possible but there are some gotchas related to this. 1. All information about users are stored in AD like which server thier mailbox is on and the storage group information. So you can not just restore data to a 2nd Exchange server and have it funcation with out a bit of effort.
with that said there are numerous other possibilites for you to use like
1. Clustering
2. 3rd party like Wan Sync HA etc or you have a 2nd server with OS loaded but not Exchange  
3. and you can do an install in DR mode etc...

What is your goal just to be able to recover or limited down time?
How many users to you have on your system?

I believe clustering provides the best solution but requires a higher cost. Exchange 12 will provide features that will allow this to happen however will not be released until 2007.
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Assisted Solution

by:f_umar
f_umar earned 664 total points
ID: 16341727
u can use disk mirroring to make a mirror set all of your disks and partitions including system and boot partitions then simply remove mirrored disks, boot your system from the orignal and break the mirror run it as normal, take backup every day using windows backup or veritas.

incase of disaster replace the faulty drives with the mirrored one boot and then restore the latest backup.

this method only needs additional hard drives.

if u make a mirror set for all the time it would give u hardware recovery but what if there is some software corruption. (it would be written on both disks)
thats why we removed mirrors once they are synchronized. in that way it gives u recovery in both cases, u can cover the difference of data by restroring the last backup.
ask me if some thing confusing.
Cheers!  
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Author Comment

by:setags
ID: 16344266
My objective is to take the simplest approach possible with the current gear I have. Going to a cluster or providing replicated servers are great options but not currently part of my equation(monies). My situation is made up of two 2003 Exchange servers each with 400 different mailboxes. If I were to completely lose one I want to take my backup and restore the mailboxes to the remaining one creating a server with now 800 different mailboxes. Restoring to the recovery storage group and exmerge sounds like a great approach as this is native to Exchange. Any pitfalls to look out for or is this a straight forward method?
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by:ATIG
ATIG earned 664 total points
ID: 16345131
There is a reasonable method:
Senario:
Server 1 - 400 mbx
Server 2 - 400 Mbx

Server 1 goes down and you have a valid backup-
1. Create New SG or db to match on other server
2. mount new db then dismount
3. Restore old server info to new location
4. Mount old server info
5. All user data will show up as disconnected
6. From ESM go to mailbox recovery center and choose find match

Exchange will find the old info and update the directory information for you.

With this method you will just need to make sure you have room for the extra db's from the other server

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Author Comment

by:setags
ID: 16347935
Atig can you explain step 6 referring to find match? The mailbox store being restored to the remaining server will be different there will be know matching mailboxes.
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Expert Comment

by:f_umar
ID: 16531546
see the link below for "How to use Recovery Storage Groups in Exchange Server 2003"
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;%5bln%5d;824126

and this for "Using Exchange Server 2003 Recovery Storage Groups"
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2003/library/ue2k3rsg.mspx

Cheers !
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Expert Comment

by:ATIG
ID: 16629685
The find match looks at the disconnected mailboxes and queried AD to find a user object that corresponds to the disconnnected mailbox.

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