Best way to backup exchange and confirm that it correctly backed up (don't have agent for backup exec)

Currently running exchange server 2003 (standard) on a windows server 2003 enterprise machine.
I havea backup exec 10d, without the exchnage agent. Looked for the agent all over, but either can't find it or it's too expensive (over $800). This is for a 2-person (hopefully growing) lawfirm, so I don't want to spend money needlessly.
I'm currently using windows backup to do an online backup of exchange to a file, then using backup eec to backup that file.
Is this a safe way to do it? In windows backup, I notice that only "storage group 1" is slectable----is this backing up everything I need to backup?

Last, what is the safest way to confirm that the backup workd (i.e., safest way to do a restore)? this is a live server.

Thanks.
jglass03Asked:
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Use the windows builtin backup tool (ntbackup). It is exchange aware.

When restoring, do that to another place then mount the restored exchange store within exchange and view your data.
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KCTSCommented:
You can either use the NTBACKUP program built into Windows 2003 or you can do an offline backup as detailed at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/296788
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drequinoxCommented:
ntbackup is OK, also try to create a system state backup as well. This will make you recover from disasters. e.g if you loose your server. atleast you'll be able ot recover the O.S from system state backup(provided that you install the first CD atleast from the original CD) and then do a restore of system state. after that you can install exchange and then restore the information store using the ntbackup utility.
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TalonNYCConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You are already using Windows Backup, which is great!  If you run the Windows Backup tool on the Exchange Server directly (meaning launch it while you're on the Exchange Server, not from another box), then you can even drill down within the Storage Group after you select it.  The Windows Backup tool on an Exchange Server is updated during the Exchange installation to contain the Microsoft Exchange Backup Agent - free of charge, so to speak.

NTBackup and Windows Backup are the same tool, so Rindi's answer is absolutely correct =)
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Hedley PhillipsOwnerCommented:
As above, but I would also like to ask... is $800 really THAT expensive when you take into account the amount of time AND money that might be involved if you can't restore an email or mailbox?

As a law firm I would have thought you guys would be on top of data retention.
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jglass03Author Commented:
If you had read my explanation fully, you would see that I *AM* on top of dataretention. As I stated IN MY QUESTION, I'm using a combination of backupexdec and NT backup. My understading is that for a small operation, backup exec doesn't add anything,. If you have any constructive comments (such as, no, ntbackup + backup exec is a waste of time, you're making a mistake, the $800 is worth it and here's why) then feel fre-- silly, unsubstantiated "Spend the $800 because you're a lawfirm" is something my 10 year old can say.

go back to playing warcraft.
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TalonNYCCommented:
OK, let's try this:

BackupExec, NetBackup, ArcServe and other tape based solutions offer support for more types of tape systems. NT Backup may not directly interface with your tape, so the add-on could eliminate the extra step of generating the NT Backup first, then using the standard BackupExec to get it on tape.  

The commercial products also offer better managment options, alerting systems and flexibility in terms of the various types of backups they can perform (granularity, schedules, etc).  You could obtain Data Protection Manager from Microsoft to get this functionality too, but with the hardware costs that will usually be more than $800.

So, the add-on cost is worth it if you are looking to minimize steps you have to take on a regular basis, or if you want the added flexibility.  If you're just looking for basic backup of the storage group with log retention, then the add-on doesn't buy much more than Windows Backup.
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jglass03Author Commented:
ok.. thats what I thought. I'm backing the data up daily to a robotic 6-tape (dat 72) drive, weekly to a single tape (sony ATI3) drive, and also daily to a SAN RAID device. I tried coaxing NT backup to work with these devices directly, but it's a nightmare.

So long as I'm protected, the extra step doesn't bother me. I just want to make sure I'm not going to regret getting the agent... if it just means I need to do a little extra work on the backup/restore side,
I'm ok with that..

now... onto installing my ISA server!!
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rindiCommented:
Why don't you just use ntbackup to backup exchange to your harddisk, and then you can backup the resulting bkf with BE? When restoring you just need to first restore the file from BE, and then again use ntbackup to restore the store.
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jglass03Author Commented:
here's a quote from my original question Rindi:

I'm currently using windows backup to do an online backup of exchange to a file, then using backup eec to backup that file.

Is it common on here for people to ignore the question when answering?
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rindiCommented:
Why don't you just leave it that way? This should work fine, and you can schedule both backups so they don't bite each other.
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Hedley PhillipsConnect With a Mentor OwnerCommented:
"If you had read my explanation fully, you would see that I *AM* on top of dataretention. As I stated IN MY QUESTION, I'm using a combination of backupexdec and NT backup. My understading is that for a small operation, backup exec doesn't add anything,. If you have any constructive comments (such as, no, ntbackup + backup exec is a waste of time, you're making a mistake, the $800 is worth it and here's why) then feel fre-- silly, unsubstantiated "Spend the $800 because you're a lawfirm" is something my 10 year old can say.

go back to playing warcraft. "

Gosh, I have never had that sort of response from anyone in al ofl my 200,000 points I have earn't over the years. Quite taken aback really.

Sorry you have taken offence to my point. I will ensure I don't make that mistake again.

And why the remark about Warcraft? I don't understand that.
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jglass03Author Commented:
It wasn't offense.. I was annoyed.  You clearly answered the question without bothering to read it.  It was the type of response I would expect from a newbie, not an "expert".
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jglass03Author Commented:
Really frustrating when "experts" read the title without reading the entire message. Half the responses this question were nonsense. If I could, I'd give Mr-Madcowz negative points for absolutly useless comments. I'm only giving him 20 points s he hopefully sees this summary.

Rindi's first response was on the money.
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Hedley PhillipsOwnerCommented:
I still stick by my original comment.

I think $800 is cheap for the ability to backup and restore the complete info store or down to individual emails via the brick level backup.

I only mentioned the law firm, as I keep on reading about firms getting into trouble for not keeping copies of emails and thought that as a law firm the OP would be even more wary of this.

Never mind. Apparently I deserve negative points and should go back to playing Warcraft.

Mmh.
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jglass03Author Commented:
The question was whether the backup solution I was using worked.  You stil haven't explained (after three exchanges) why your method is any better than using NTbackup. Will your method provide a better online backup than nt? Please, if you have something of substance to add, please do... saying that using NTbackup will "get me in trouble" without any support is just absurd, and you know it.

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Hedley PhillipsOwnerCommented:
Ok,

Brick Level backup for backup and restore of individual emails.

As far as I know. NTBackup doesn't do out of the box brick level backups without using the additional utility called ExMerge, which while easy to use is not the sort of thing I would want to be playing around with every day when running backups.

The Exchange Plugin will allow you to backup and restore down to individual emails through the GUI giving you the ability to "restore an email or mailbox". whereas NTBackup does the whole info store in one go.

Meaning that if an individual email or mailbox was required from a backup, the entire Info store would have to be restored using the Recovery Storage Group. (Rindi, correct me if I'm off the mark here please).

For this, and the fact that it plugs straight into BUE means it is a one click backup rather than having to do a two stage NTBackup -> BUE process.

It also means that confirming your backups have worked is as easy as clicking on an email that you know to be deleted and restoring it.
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rindiCommented:
It isn't a good idea to do brick level backups. It slows the backup a lot and it just adds issues. As far as I know Symantec has removed brick level backups anyway from it's newest versions, because it never really worked well. You can also restore single objects from a restored information store.
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jglass03Author Commented:
and besides, my original post said *ONLINE* backup, not "brick and mortar.. and who the heck ever does a brick and mortar backup these days???.. sheesh, madcowz,. you still haven't completly read the narrative!!!!
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