E2003 restoring .. different server.

Folks,

I think I might be asking for the impossible.  I don't know.  I hope someone can enlighten me.

Let's say I've got "Server A" in "Forest A", which runs Exchange 2003.

I make an online backup of the Exchange stuff; priv, pub, etc..


I've got a test lab, with "Server B" in "Forest B".. and I want to restore into it.  

Can I do this?  

If I can, how do I do so?  


thanks vm,
-- Scott.
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scdavisAsked:
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Rant32Commented:
Yes, the forest naming scheme is not directly related to Exchange server, but all the rest is. The main issue here is that the Exchange Organization name, administrative group, storage group, mailbox store, server name, and LegacyDN must be named *exactly* the same as the server where you got the backup from.

What backup software are you using?

Here is a good article from Veritas Backup Exec:
http://seer.support.veritas.com/docs/247985.htm

This article also links to various MS knowledgebase articles, and I've used the first one (legacydn.exe) in various disaster recovery scenario's. This works best if you have an offline copy of the Information Store files you wish to mount on a different server. Restoring an online mailbox backup has a lot of requirements.

How to use Legacydn.exe to correct Exchange organization names or Administrative Group names in Exchange Server 2003 or in Exchange 2000 Server
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;324606

Support WebCast: Microsoft Exchange 2000 Alternate Server Data Recovery
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;811063

XADM: "Event ID 1088" Is Logged and Store Fails to Mount
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;280652

How to change the legacyExchangeDN attribute in native mode with ADSI Edit
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/273863/EN-US/
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scdavisAuthor Commented:
Rant,

I'm just using NTBackup.  It's featureless, but reliable, I've found..

So, in order to restore from an online backup, I have to have:

1) Same Exchange Org name
2) Same admin group name
3) Same storage group name
4) Same mailbox store name
5) Same server name (I assume that's FQDN, not just netbios)
6) Same LegacyDN value

I'm freaking out.  Is Microsoft on crack?  That's a huge list of requirements.  



You indicate that restoring from an offline backup may not be subject to all of the conditions above.  Can you let me know what the requirements for restoring from offline files are..?  

I'd rather not guess-and-check that all, as each O/S install in the test lab takes several hours, eh?  


Thanks VM for your response!

-- Scott.

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Rant32Commented:
Hi Scott,

The requirements above are for restoring an online backup. I think NTBackup checks all of them, but I'm not sure; I don't use NTbackup.
The requirements for *mounting* an information store is just that the LegacyDN in AD must match the LegacyDN stored in the Information Store files.

My experience is this:

- New Exchange server in a different forest, organization, server name, everything. It's very important that servers are running the same Service Packs for Windows and Exchange server and store.exe has the same build.
- Existing (empty) information store with one mailbox store and one PF store.
- You have a plain, consistent copy (clean shutdown) of the database files and transaction logs.
- Replace the existing database files and logs completely with your copy
- If you try to mount the stores, then the -1018 error occurs.
- Solve the -1018 error using LegacyDN.exe - you need to enter the same info as server where the copy is from
- If the database files are consistent then the stores will mount in a completely different environment.

I'm doing this off the top of my head, but you can try this safely. If it doesn't work, I'll try to crack this one using VMware but I'll need more info on your setup (software involved, SP levels, number of databases, etc). I suggest you try it yourself, first, because eventually you'll need to understand what's going on in ESE.
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scdavisAuthor Commented:
Rant,

At this point -- all I am trying to achieve is mounting a "restored" infostore.  That'd be a good first step for me.

I'm re-installing my testlab machine with the exact same FQDN, org name, etc.. as my production machine, to see if I can do a restore from an "online" backup.

So, if the only requirement is the LegacyDN value for mounting a copied (offline backedup) db, chances are I can pull that off.

I have a couple of clarification questions:

1)  You say that "the same" builds must be used.  Have you attempted to mount using newer builds?  i.e.  a priv.edb from SP1, can't be mounted under an SP2 installation..?  

2)  By "empty" infostore, do you mean no infostore, i.e. the /disasterrecovery switch..?  What if there's a mailbox in there, do you mean the restore from online backup won't work?  I think I'm not comprehending you re: this issue.


Thanks, Rant.

Thank you, very much.


Assuming I am considering this all for like say, a dozen SBS installs, what do you think about using the EXMERGE backup strategy instead of "native" Exchange backups..?  Seems to me like recovery of Exchange from SBS installs, from online backups, is nearly impossible..

-- Scott!
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Rant32Commented:
Restoring a System state backup might give the same results as re-installing the OS and domain.

1) Maybe a newer version does work, but I recommend to use the same SP levels.
2) By 'empty' I mean the default EDB/STM files that are 2,5 MB in size. Empty, as in no data other than the DB structures. Doesn't matter, you will replace them anyway. But you need the Storage group and the stores defined, and that creates empty database files.

The tactics I mentioned above were actually for a Windows 2000 SBS.

Just let me know how you get on, and we'll go from there.
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scdavisAuthor Commented:
Rant,

For the purposes of this exercise, I'm not going to restore system state.  I've found that installing storage (RAID) controller drivers post-system-state-restore is a real challenge.  For small shops, it's best for me to assume I'll be restoring into hardware that's not the same as the existing ..  eh?


Thanks for the clarification.  My re-install of my testlab box is about 605 done -- I should be able to post more results around 11am, EST.


Best,
-- Scott.

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scdavisAuthor Commented:
Jimminy Crickets,

Looks like the restore from online media just might work -- when I follow the 6 steps, above.


I'm now starting my patching run.  Another hour, roughly, and then I can try the restore..

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Rant32Commented:
I'm CEST (GMT+1) here and we have visitors for the Easter holidays so I won't be around for a while. I'll be back.
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scdavisAuthor Commented:
Gents,

I took a week.

Sorry for the delay -- I'm back at it again.  

Guess I should assign some points..  hang on!

-- S.
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