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Exchange Backup Options

I want to use a replication service to copy my database and log files every night to another computer. I want to check if that method successfully copies the store so that I can mount in case of disaster. Could I create an additional store and copy those files over there? How would I have outlook point to the second store?
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1 Solution
There is nothing native that can do what you want.
Exchange is designed to operate 24/7 - there is no good time to shutdown the databases to do this sort of move.
If you want to replicate to another machine then you need to use something like DoubleTake which will do all the work for you.

Remember that Exchange is very closely tied in to active directory and its databases are tied to the server it is installed on. You cannot just move the databases to another machine and expect them to work.

Are you running more than one Exchange server in a mixed environment, like a 5.5 server and a 2000/2003 server? When you say "replication service", I assume you mean Site Replication Service (SRS)? That service is not really meant for backing up your database. It's just a way to make your Exchange 2000/2003 server look like an Exchange 5.5 DS to other 5.5 servers. I believe you only use it if you install a 2000/2003 server into a 5.5 site.

If you're using 2000/2003 and backup software, it's very easy to test the integrity of your backups. It is also very easy to create an additional store as a backup and copy the information into it. The process is called "Messaging Dial Tone" and it doesn't require you to make any change to Outlook or touch the users' computers.  

I don't think you can make Outlook "point to a second store." If you want to do it the way you are describing, you have to create a seperate AD forest with a recovery server in it and mount the production db on another server in another forest. You then have to export anything you want out of it, then import it into your regular server. AD and Exchange are too tied up together. Users aren't pointed to mailboxes through Outlook. That's done through AD with the users' SID and the mailboxes GUID. Outlook is just pointing you to a server.

You can easily test the integrity of your Exchange backups using the "Recovery Storage Group" in the Exchange System Manager. This allows you to restore the information store and log files without bringing the server down. You restore them onto the same server they were backed up from. Once you restore the db to the Recovery Storage Group, you can use exmerge.exe to move objects from your backup to your production database. All of this can be done without dismounting your main information store.

Even if you don't have backup software, you can do this manually, but you don't want to have to bring your Exchange server down every night. If you choose to do so though, you can still use the Recovery Storage Group to test your backup.

By setting up a blank dial tone database on your server, you can switch over to it quickly and easily, repair or restore your database in the Recovery Storage Group, then merge everything back together with exmerge. This way, if your database does become corrupt, service isn't down while you restore the db.

Instructions for setting up, backing up, and restoring to a Recovery Storage Group, as well as instructions for setting up a message dial tone database are here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824126/
Starquest321Author Commented:
I appreciate your explanation. I was actually talking about tools which will allow copying of the exchange database in real time (while exchange is running) using open file options which will allow me to replicate the exchange data directory. NOT the Site Replication Service . Nevertheless your backup solutions seems much more stable.

Do you also have a link for the recommended procedure to perform an exchange backup using Veritas 10.0?

I'm using NetBackUp, so I'm not sure exactly what the recommended Backup Exec procedures are. This should give you a good place to start though:


It tells you how to mount a second copy of your IS on a different Exchange server using RSG. It just has to be in the same Exchange Administrative Group as the original. If you already have another server setup, add it to the same Admin Group as the one you are backing up. Then enable RSG on the backup server and point it to the other server's database. If you're using Backup Exec 10, all you need to back up is the info store and logs. Once you have the RSG setup, it should be an option in your restore choices.
Starquest321Author Commented:
Thanks. I am going to follow your recommended procedure.
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