Exchange 2003 and Snap Shots

My mail server is Exchange 2003 Enterprise running on Windows 2003 Enterprise.  My information store is in the neighborhood of 400GB and my tape backup takes 4hours to process the backup with a transfer rate of over 2,100 MB/Min.

I was wondering if it would make sense to take snap shots.  Restoring exchange data from tapes is quite time consuming.  Has anyone ever done this?  How would I take the snap shots?  Can snap shots be backed up?
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
What typeof snapshots are you talking about?  Imaging software, SAN snapshots, vmware/virtualization software..

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We use SAN Snapshots, with a NetApp filer, and use NetApp Exchange Snapmanager for backups.
Glen KnightCommented:
My suggestion would be to breakup the stores in to smaller DB's this will make the stores much easier to manage and quicker to backup.

Presumably whenyou are talking about snapshot you are talking about using a VSS agent to backup the server rather than an Exchange Backup agent?  If so, this method you will be required to create a new AD forest and install Exchange with the same organisation name to allow you to restore the data.

So, if that's what you are referring to, I would suggest it's not the best way to go.
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There are Exchange aware backup products that utilize VSS, however VSS support for Exchange started with 2003 and while it works its not as robust as with 2007/2010.  Also you may want to consider upgrading your Exchange system before purchasing a VSS 2003 capable agent, since they may not be supported for much longer and also you may have to buy a new agent when you update.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@lucid8: We've never had any issues or our clients using NetApp Snapmanager for Exchange on NetApp filers for Recovery. (with Exchange 2003 and later with VSS). It's an excellent product as is  GoExchange!
Sorry, perhaps I was misunderstood;

1. Wasn't meaning to slam any VSS based product that currently supports Exchange 2003 at all, just saying that VSS for Exchange was first introduced with 2003 and as such it has certain limitations when compared with later VSS releases for Exchange 2007 and 2010.   For Example Exchange 2003 prevents more than one VSS backup process from running at the same time therefore you and or your application need to queue this else you will get failures vs 2007 and 2010 do not have this issue.  

2. If you are thinking of updating Exchange it would be better IMO to do that now rather then spending money on a VSS 2003 compliant agent that you very well  may have to re-purchase once you do upgrade to a newer version of Exchange.

P.S. I agree that  NetApp makes some very fine products
Thansk for the points!
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