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What to back up on Exchange 2010 to recover from disaster?

Posted on 2011-04-30
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Suppose:
Head Office (HO): Windows 2003 AD (dc-ho), Exchange 2010 with 150 users on single database (exch).
Site A: Windows 2003 AD (dc-a)
Site B: Windows 2003 AD (dc-b)

If DAG features and third party solution such as Doubletake is not cost effective enough to recover from HO site disaster, I imagine using the following way as site disaster recovery strategy.

I store a copy of exch image at Site A (say virtual machine on ESX). Usually this image is not running.
The exch data is backed up from ho to site-a daily or even hourly.
In case of disaster at site HO, I would bring up exch at site A and restore the backup data, change the DNS record to point to site A, then email will be restored. But I am not sure if this is feasible.

Q#1. If dc-ho is destroyed with exch at site HO, will the copy of exch be able to run at site A with dc-a only?
Q#2. If not, how to 'replicate' the minimum AD features from site HO to site A so the copy of exch can run at site A?
Q#3. If yes, what data from the live exch should be backed up to site A regularly?

Thanks a lot.
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Question by:richtree
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Raheman M. Abdul earned 600 total points
ID: 35498934
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Author Comment

by:richtree
ID: 35498962
What about those AD roles missing because dc-ho is destroyed?
If I force dc-a to take over such role in this case, will exch run properly at site A?
Can you also please comment on Q#1 & Q#2?

Thanks.
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Assisted Solution

by:ckeshav
ckeshav earned 1400 total points
ID: 35499159
Q-1 If DC-A is destroyed you can change the Site settings is AD sites and services, so DC-B can support the Exchange server in        Site-A until the DC in Site-A is rebuilt.
You might also need to change configuration DC is Exchange to the DC in Site-B. Make sure to revert this back to DC-A once the DC-A is up

Q-2 No need to replicate anything if you follow the above step, once the DC is rebuilt it will take care of the replication automatically.
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Author Comment

by:richtree
ID: 35499173
dc-ho, dc-a, and dc-b are DCs of the same domain.
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Author Comment

by:richtree
ID: 35499186
No Exchange server is in production at site A when site HO is operational. I just 'seed' at site A a copy of production Exchange server (exch) at site HO for disaster recovery prupose. Can you comment on my Q#1. and Q#2 again if the response is different now?
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Assisted Solution

by:ckeshav
ckeshav earned 1400 total points
ID: 35499200
Yes it is from the same domain but are in different locations. I have re framed my answer to suit your Network assuming you have 3 sites
Site HO - where Exchange is located
Site A is where you have ESX configured

Q-1 If only HO DC is destroyed you can change the Site settings is AD sites and services, so your other site DC's can support the Exchange server in HO site until the DC in HO is rebuilt.
You might also need to change configuration DC is Exchange to the DC in other site(Site A or Site B). Make sure to revert this back to DC-A once the DC-A is up.
If even Exchange is down or whole site goes down, for this you might need to configure DAG and Exchange Server in HO Site and Site A is part of DAG group

Q-2 No need to replicate anything if you follow the above step, once the DC is rebuilt it will take care of the replication automatically.
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Author Comment

by:richtree
ID: 35499209
Sorry for the confusion.
In the begining I assume that the only Exchange server is at site HO.
Site A and B has only DC running.
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Assisted Solution

by:ckeshav
ckeshav earned 1400 total points
ID: 35499261
Then you have failover for DC not for Exchange. Your Q1 and Q2 are still answered and relevant.
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Author Closing Comment

by:richtree
ID: 35517898
Thank you.
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