Disaster Recovery Prep for Exchange 2003

I'm in the process of preparing a Disaster Recovery plan for Exchange.  I would like to be able to test this plan so I'm comfortable with it if it's ever needed in the future.  Also, I'm unable to bring Exchange down to do testing.  I use Backup Exec 10d w/ an Exchange Agent to do backups, and am running Exchange 2003.  I've been reading about Recovery Storage Group, but would that work incase of a complete hardware failure and I needed to install Exchange and restore backups to a new server?  Would you use Recovery Storage Group incase of corruption of the Exchange database?  I understand how to create a RSG, but how do you make that your "active" group incase of corruption?  Thank you for your help!!
isd721Asked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

TG TranIT guyCommented:
RSG meant for restoring InfoStore from backup - it is just a place holder for you to mount an recovered IS while the live IS is active so you can manipulate items between them.

Disaster recovery purpose; you really need to do a bare metal restore - get another server with same/similar hardware to your Exchange box and restore everything from tape - that's is the only way you can sleep soundly at night!
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
isd721Author Commented:
So RSG is more for if a user lost an email or something to that effect?  I'm in the process of installing a virtual server (the free VMware one) on one of our under utilized servers to use incase of a disaster.  I was going to use if one of our file servers crashed, but would it work if Exchange crashed as well?  At that point in time all I would have to do is install Exchange on the virtual server and restore my backups?  Anyway to test this procedure without affecting our current exchange server?
0
TG TranIT guyCommented:
To test DR in VM environment, you would need a VM that is DC with GC.  You can then isolate that VM from your network, install another VM for Exchange and use disasterrecovery switch when you install Exchange (http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Recovering-Failed-Exchange-2003-Member-Server-Using-Disaster-Recovery-Switch.html)

Once done, you can then test your DR procedures in that VM environment.  Also, you need to  manually remove that virtual DC from your production environment (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=216498) to avoid any AD headaches later on
0
Creating Active Directory Users from a Text File

If your organization has a need to mass-create AD user accounts, watch this video to see how its done without the need for scripting or other unnecessary complexities.

isd721Author Commented:
Without going into too much detail, our Exchange server is not part of our main domain.  It's a separate domain and is the DC for that domain.  In a total hardware failure I would have to install AD from backup, correct?  Then install Exchange using the disaster recovery switch as you described?  To make my scenario as real as possible, could I isolate the VM from my network immediately and restore AD from backup in a VM environment?

Since my virtual DC would never be part of my production environment, I wouldn't need to manually remove it, would I?

0
TG TranIT guyCommented:
I would create DC in VM, join to the Exchange domain, dcpromo it, and then disconnect it from the live environment and do what you will with it in the VM environment.

You are right, you can do all of that to test you DR plan.  The reason I suggest remove the virtual DC from the live production because DC needs to talk to one another and if it can't it will complain.  Nice clean AD is always better than one with lot of deadwoods
0
TG TranIT guyCommented:
There are several P2V products out there including VMware Converter 3.0. You may want to use such P2V product to convert your physical servers to VM.  Unless you have a white-box run-of-the-mill server, restoring your server into VM from tape will result in  handful of BSOD for you to deal with.

The reason I suggested introduce a new DC and install VM Exchange using disasterrecovery switch is to avoid P2V and BSOD
0
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Storage Software

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.