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Full vs. Full/differential backup of Exchange 2003

Posted on 2007-04-04
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
Experts,
I am setting up a backup plan with backup exec 11d for Exchage 2003 standard and would like to use a full backup once a week followed by daily differential backups for the rest of the week. I have seen some talk about running a full backup of Exchange daily being better that running the diffs, but haven't been able to find a good reason why.

Can someone make the argument for running daily full backups only vs. full/diff?

Thanks,
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Question by:fyrfyter
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:b0fh
ID: 18852839
If backups are not the sole responsibility of a single individual (and a dedicated backup), then it can be useful to have full backups run nightly.  

This is because someone who is not familiar with the backup system would not necessarily know that a failed full backup would cause the remainder of the week's backups to fail.  

Also, it is always nicer to restore from a single tape than from multiple media.

The cons (other than full-backup failure as mentioned above) are the extra wear-hours on your drive(s) & media and the increased backup window.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:b0fh
ID: 18852859
Edit... should have read

"The cons are the extra wear-hours on your drive(s) & media and the increased backup window."


I don't multi-task nearly as well as my PC does  :-(
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Author Comment

by:fyrfyter
ID: 18852925
I understand the conceptial differences between the full and full/diff backup. What I am wondering is why I should use a full backup as opposed to a full/diff as it specifically relates to exchange. Is there a reason other than speedy restoration to use full backups daily on exchange?

Thanks,
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Author Comment

by:fyrfyter
ID: 18852931
P.S. I am backing up to disk. Not tape.
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18853078
I only do full backups. Nothing else.
I want a single tape, disk whatever with all the data on it. I want that disk/tape to be complete without having to worry about additional tapes or disks being required.

I don't even consider diffs.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:fyrfyter
ID: 18853111
Hi Simon,
Do you mean with Exchange or backups in general.
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18853440
Definitely with Exchange, with backups in general it depends very much on the site. If I can get a full done every night in the window allowed then I will do so.
If I cannot, then I will to see how I can - I prefer fulls over everything else.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:fyrfyter
ID: 18853713
So, at the end of the week do you have 5 individual full backups, or do you over-write you full backup everynight?
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LVL 104

Accepted Solution

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Sembee earned 225 total points
ID: 18856388
At the end of the week there are five backups.
I usually retain the Thursday backup, then a monthly backup, quarterly etc.

Typically it is
Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Friday,
Thursday 1, Thursday 2, Thursday 3, Thursday 4, Thursday 5
Month 1, Month 2.
Quarter 1, Quarter 2, Quarter 3, Quarter 4

Remember that you are not backing up date for something that might happen tomorrow, but you could get a request to find something from six months ago.

Simon.
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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

by:MarkMichael
MarkMichael earned 50 total points
ID: 18856472
If it does the Exchange log purge/cleanup with either then it's only a question of capacity and backup window. It's an online backup so that negates the latter and you've already said you're backing up to disk and in so in this instance I'd be doing a full backup.
I'm of the opinion though Exchange should always be a full backup, even if you diff the filesystem; you don't ever want difficulties restoring a Director's email :)
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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:b0fh
b0fh earned 225 total points
ID: 18856721
Sorry, I had an emergency to tend to.  I have to agree w/ Simon & Mark; I never run anything but a full backup of Exchange and I attempt to run a full backup whenever time/media constraints permit.  It's just easier to manage and easier to restore from.

NEVER set backups to overwrite nightly!  If your backup fails, you are left with absolutely nothing to restore from.  My media rotation (given the budget for media permits) is:

Monday-Thursday tapes, labeled as Week1-Week5
End of Week tapes (generally used on Friday), labeled as Week 1-5
End of Month tapes, labeled by month
End of Year tape, labeled as such

This allows me to keep daily tapes for a month and monthly tapes for a year.  I keep yearly tapes until upper management requests their destruction in writing.  Each day, I check the status of the previous night's backup and ensure that I have the most recent SUCCESSFUL backup with me when I leave for the day -- If the building burns down w/ my backups, then they are no good to me.

I also "retire" the monthly tape that corresponds to the end of each fiscal quarter, as defined by my accounting staff (until the next year, when the tape is inserted back into the rotation) to off-site storage.


Hopefully, we have managed to answer all of your questions.  If you require any further detail, please let us know.


Thanks,
Frank


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LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18856930
I used to do my weekly tapes on a Friday, until I realised that meant a long term tape was in the server all weekend. I now do them on Thursdays.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:fyrfyter
ID: 18859072
Thank you all very much. Excellent advice as usual! I'll split points for all.

Talk you soon,
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