What you cna use Microsoft Excahnge backups for.

Posted on 2011-05-09
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

I have a Microsoft Exchange Backup question.  We curently are running Exchange 2007 Server on a Windows 2008 Server.  The backups are done on Symantec backup Exec versin 11d (Service Pack 3) and the backups are working just fine.  Microsoft Exchange is working just fine as well.  The Exchange Full Backups are being run on Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri. .  These backups are stored on our SAN.

We are continuously running low on our current backup space(on the backup partition).  One of the things I thought about was reducing the frequency of the Full Exchange Backups.

Right now, Full Exchange backups are running 6 times a week (Sun – Fri).  We were thinking of changing that to once/week (on Fridays).  Correct me if I am wrong; but, the only way we would use those FULL backups would be if we wanted to restore the state of everyone’s email boxes to that specific date correct?

Otherwise, if a user wanted to restore a specific e-mail that he/she deleted then that can be done by using the ‘Recover Deleted Items’ option under the ‘Deleted Emails’ Folder.  We currenly have a recover deleted email policy to hold delted emails for 1 month.  That means a user can delete an e-mail and then that user will have to manually empty that email out of the 'Deleted E-mails' folder and then can still recover that emptied email for 1 month.  

In that case we could theoretically probably get away doing Bi-Monthly Full Exchange backups.  

I was just wondering why would we need to do so many ‘Full Exchange Backups’?
Question by:Pkafkas
    LVL 10

    Accepted Solution

    i can't think of a reason of doing that many full backups.

    We have 1500 mailboxes and run a full backup once a month.

    Once a week we will do an incremental backup.

    If we had to restore we would restore the last full backup and then restore the incrementals to the date we were restoring too.

    We also have an archiving system where all emails are archived and retrieving an accidental deletion is pretty easy so deleted items are automatically cleared if it goes past 60 days in the trash.
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    Here is the location of Symantec's Best Practice guide for BE11d.

    According to them, you should be able to do an individual mailbox restore from either Full or Incremental backups.
    (Doing a weekly or semi-weekly full and then filling out the rest of your rotation with Incrementals will most likely net you a lot of recovered space in terms of storage.)

    A couple things to consider:
    1. BE11d was a great solution in 2007 when Server 2003 was the big fish. You may want to consider upgrading to a newer version of BackupExec. 2010 has Granular Restore that will allow you to recover individual items from mailboxes, and (depending on the license you purchse) will allow for a self-service archive.

    2. Incremental or Differential backups will allow you to garner a storage savings while still covering your critical data. An Incremental backup will backup anything that has changed since the last backup. (Of whatever type.) A Differential backup will backup anything that has changed since the last Full backup.
    It's not uncommon to have a weekly rotation something along the lines of:
    Saturday - Full backup (Usually either on the weekend or after-hours because of the size...)
    Sunday - Incremental
    Monday - Incremental
    Tuesday - Incremental
    Wednesday - Differential
    Thursday - Incremental
    Friday - Incremental

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Unless you have a very specific business requirement to run multiple Full backups in a week, this style of rotation should allow you to recover any assets in the time-frame you've specified, while bringing down the amount of storage you're consuming.

    Exceptions to this rotation would be either running a non-scheduled Full for any major maintenance, or End of Month/End of Quarter/End of Year backups. But these can also be scheduled on an as-needed basis.
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    There are tons of backup strategies out there. It comes down to finding one your able to live with in all respects including an actual recovery. It should be part of your Disaster Recovery Plans.

    For simple email recovery though I feel it is a lot of work to restore a mailbox and retrieve a few emails esepcially when there are better options for that sort of thing out there. is Open Source and for simple email recovery it saves you a ton of work.


    Author Closing Comment

    I like both responses.

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