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Mailbox Backup with Veritas Backup Exec

Hi experts,

I would like to exploit "retain" option within Exchange System Manager (ESM), in combination with BE. It is very time consuming to manually select and deselect mailboxes since big fluctuation of users in my company and /ECLUDE . Namely, I want to set this automatically and my final plan is something like this:

1. Deleting of an mailbox (thru AD or ESM, what ever)

2. In Deletion settings
      - "Do not permanently delete ... until been backed up" - checked
      - "Keep deleted mailboxes for 0 (zero) days. Which means - delete immediately
      ### in this phase - still no "x" on mailbox ###

3. Daily Maintenance (set in ESM, Mailbox, Database)
      - an "x" becomes visible on mailbox

4. Daily Differential Backup
      - still "x" on mailboxes stands because full backups are scheduled for weekends and only this type (or incremental) can be recognized by Exchange in this manner

5. Weekly Full Backup

6. First next daily System Maintenance removes mailbox
      - no mailbox on BE list and no mailbox in Mailbox Store

The problem in this is the error messages appearing after step 3. and step 5.

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2 Solutions
If you are doing brick level backups, get used to the messages. They will never go away.
You will either get mailbox or messages errors.

As far as Exchange is concerned, that isn't an Exchange aware backup. The only type of backup that most people need to do is an information store backup. I have never done a brick level backup and not once wished I had one available.

If I have the capacity, then I always do a full Exchange backup every night. I don't do incremental. That is recognised by Exchange and minimises the recovery time.

What you have failed to provide is an idea of backup windows, capacity and version of Exchange, so trying to advise further is very difficult.

DusanM011Author Commented:
Yes I do differential backup, as you call "brick level" backup. General ideas are 1) to restore faster (restore last full + last diff. backup - not set of incrementals) 2) to restore a specific mail message (not mailbox) which can not be done only by backing (and restoring) up Information Store.

Capacity I have - 2*80GB on HP DLT, but time I do not. Strategy is to do full backups on weekends and differential on daily bases. But I backup 12 Windows servers of various type of data like (dc, oracle bases, user files .... and lot of it more)

I do backup Information Store AND mailbox backup explicitly. I am aware that I do one job twice, but this is the only way to be prepared to reply on demands for restoring specific email message (not complete mailbox) and still have alternatives.

All systems are based on Windows Server 2003 Standard editions and Exchange is 2003 is on single server where resides Symantec AV plug-in for exchange along with some anti-spam part within.

I hope it clarify picture. Any new ideas?
You stated:
"2) to restore a specific mail message (not mailbox) which can not be done only by backing (and restoring) up Information Store."

Have you looked into using the recovery storage group feature of Exchange 2003.
By using this you can restore the information store into the recovery storage group and not impact you users. Then you can extract the needed message.
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For individual message restore, do your users clear out the deleted item retention as well? I can count on one hand the number of times I have been asked to recover a single message that was deleted that I could not recover from deleted item retention.

DusanM011Author Commented:
As a meter of a fact, I am dealing with one group of users within the company who are pretty scary and un trusty. And yes - they do clear they deleted messages twice (deleted items AND from recovery) but this is not an issue …

Some how, I started discussion about what and how should be backed up within Exchange 2003  It was not my intention. I do back up Information Store and I did few mailbox recoveries using RSG. I am aware how to merge/append mailbox data to users account. But I also backup Mailboxes (and Public too).

What I learned is that it is very clumsy to restore some subfolder under Inbox or single mail from RSG using Exmerge. Next, what is the use of existing process to backup Mailboxes, if it only creates headache???

And the last, the “bottom line” question is what is the use of “Do not permanently delete mailboxes and items until the store has been backed up” if back up CAN NOT be executed when mailbox in UN- PERMANENTLY deleted ??? If so “UNTIL” is going to last until retention date expires. And finally mailbox is going to be deleted when retention date is passed in any case of mailbox status - backed up or not.

So if you read my first post to this thread you will see how I tried to solve it. It did not work. So, the question remains…
Microsoft do not provide a method for backing up mailboxes. All of the processes for doing mailbox backups are created by third party vendors. What most of them do is create a MAPI connection to the mailbox and pull the content out in much the same way as Outlook does.  

Therefore if you are deleting accounts, the backup application will be unable to access the mailbox to extract the content. Furthermore, it doesn't matter what you set the data retention time to if you have set the option to not delete the mailboxes until a backup has been completed. The deleted mailboxes will be there until the first period of Exchange maintenance after the full backup has been completed. The backup application will still see them and attempt to access them - but will fail.

If you have users who cannot be trusted, then you should look at other options. The first thing I would look at would be some kind of journaling application. GFI Mail Archiver would be perfect. You can then restore individual email items quickly and easily without having to resort to backups.


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