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Recommendations for backing up exchange 20003

I have an Exchange 2003 server that i backup using Veritas backup exec 9.1.
After searching on the net for preferred backup methods or best practices, I am more confused than ever.

There are some contradictive positions. There a many differents methods for backing up exchange.
Which one is recommended.   Is it enough to do a VSS backup or do I have to do a full backup of the information store as well.
Is it good to do differential or incremental in between full backups.
I tested the "brick-level" mailboxes backup , but it it painfully slow.

I know that I can do a backup to disk using Windows NTbackup and backup the file to tape.
And use On Track Power Controls to retore, but this method needs a lot of disk spac ethat I don't have

Anway, please let me know what you think

2 Solutions
If you have Veritas Backup Exec, get the Exchange add-in for backing up an Exchange Server. I find that the best thing to do is an incremental backup between full.
If you use backup exec then definitely get the Exchange add-in, much better way to go than backing up the .edb database files or anything like that.

I would recommend not using NTBackup to create a BKF then back that up with Backup Exec, it will make for more convoluted restores in future since you have to restore the BKF from BE then restore it to the server using NTBackup. If you do go for this route though make sure it is well documented in case you or someone else needs to know how your backup routine works.

Backup Exec with Exchange add in is definitely the way to go IMO.

I would be unsure here - *personally* I would not be buying the Exchange Add-On, I would be uninstalling Backup Exec altogether and using NTBackup from now on.

It will cost you nothing, and work fine.
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But the limitations of NTBackup compared to Veritas Backup Exec & other solutions such as Legato when you have to restore a mailbox, it would pay for itself immediately.

I can restore a single mailbox with NTBackup.

I also don't have the endless troubles of doing Brick Level Backups, which quite honestly, are the worst thing ever invented.

Add to that, single items and deleted mailboxes rarely need to come from tape if you are configured right.

mlepageAuthor Commented:
if I understand correctly, there is not a bad way of backing up Exchange 2003
It all depends on what restore options you want.  
If you want the ability to restore a single mailbox or message or not.

Also, which methods is easiest to restore in case you need to do a compete disaster recovery.
I guess doing only full backups everyday is the easiest to restore becauase you only need one tape and one restore job

The only thing I want is to make sure that I am not using a bad method.

I like the ntbackup/ONTrack Power Controls method to restore single messages or mailboxes but I don't think it's a good solution for disaster recovery.

Has anyone ever tried the recovery Storage Group method

Thank you for your comments
The Recovery Storage Group method works fine.

I only do backups in two ways...

1. NTBACKUP - full every night.
2. Third party tool such as Backup Exec, using an Exchange agent, doing full information store backup every night.
I never do incrementals. I want a single tape that contains everything I need.

Restoring single items is very unusual with good use of deleted item recovery.

"if I understand correctly, there is not a bad way of backing up Exchange 2003
It all depends on what restore options you want.  
If you want the ability to restore a single mailbox or message or not."

I disagree with that.  Brick Level Backups are a pain - they are slow, ineffective, fat and a nightmare to administer.

You can get the same benefits with the RSG as Simon pointed out, or a good deleted item retention configuration.

The easiest in a full restore is an information store backup.  The easiest in a single message restore is not to restore at all :)

Power controls is not something I recommend except in an emergency - it is too expensive for day to day use.

"Has anyone ever tried the recovery Storage Group method"

Yes, and while it is slightly convoluted, I would rather have a convoluted process rarely (such as when I need to restore an item from the RSG) as opposed to a convoluted process every day (such as when you are doing daily brick level backups)

Forced accept.

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