Restoring Cloud Exchange Backup to New Server

Posted on 2011-09-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi all,

I'm considering signing up for iBackup's cloud based exchange backup (http://www.ibackup.com/p=freshmango).

One thing I've never looked in to before is the practicalities of - should the server in question get accidentally dissolved in a pool of acid along with all system backups - restoring an Exchange database backup a to NEW server installations (so the active directory, users, SIDs, GUIDs, etc would all be new).

Does anyone have any experience with this?  Obviously the cloud based backup is great but restricted if I can't restore it to anything other than a server with the original system state on it.
Question by:Mango-Man
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36713147
" NEW server installations (so the active directory, users, SIDs, GUIDs, etc would all be new)."

Why would AD be new if your exchange server got hosed?  You do have more than 1 DC in your domain right? You DONT have exchange installed on your DC do you?

Exchange recovery is now fairly simple BUT you need to safeguard AD first and formost.

AT LEAST 2 domain controllers, BOTH GC's, exchange on a seperate server.  THEN Worry about your backup solution.

Author Comment

ID: 36713264

That doesn't really help and makes a lot of wrong assumptions about the setups we support here.

1) Three words for you: Small Business Server.

2) In addition to this, because of our location the type of disaster were talking about isn't a 'someone broken in to the server room' scenario, it's a "the building doesn't exist anymore because a tsunami destroyed it, the firesafe is at the bottom of the sea and everyone from that office is clinging to a barrel somewhere, so even for the clients not using SBS a second DC really doesn't help.

Any advice on my actual question is much appreciated!    :-D
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36715481
OK Lets start from the begining, What version of SBS are we talking about? You dont say. SBS211? Premium add on?
LVL 37

Accepted Solution

Neil Russell earned 2000 total points
ID: 36715749
If you are below SBS2011 then a great article on the whole recovery thing for AD and exchange where ALL you have is an exchange database and NO AD servers or Exchange servers left can be found here -> http://www.msexchange.org/articles_tutorials/exchange-server-2007/high-availability-recovery/generating-active-directory-accounts-exchange-database-part1.html

This is NOT for SBS Specifically but it should give you a good grounding in the techniques. I would suguest you set up a lab environmet and give it a good test.

If you are 2011 then I am not sure if this process will map across and work as is, but should still give you all the right ideas to try.

Author Comment

ID: 36716777
Hi Neilsr,

Thanks for the link.  Since posting the question I found a fair bit of information on 'Recovery Storage Groups' for Exchange 2003/2007 (http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Working-Recovery-Storage-Groups-Exchange-2007.html) and their Exchange 2010 counterpart Recovery Databases (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd876954%28EXCHG.140%29.aspx), these seem better suited to our needs as if the worst happens, we wont have any client machines either!

Either way, the link you sent is very interesting - I'd never have considered rebuilding AD from Exchange but it makes sense given all the information stored.

As for which version of SBS we're using, I can't give specifics as I'm not talking specifically about any one server - as I say, this is planning for the absolute worst.  If there is a disaster with the disaster recovery you might say.

Most of the customers we're signing up for this are small businesses running SBS 2003 to 2010, on a tiny budget so the backup of Exchange and network folders/files to the cloud (as well as locally and on rotational drives) gives them an automatic 'last resort' for a very small $$$ outlay per year.

If you're wondering why the strange setup and the paranoia, we're on an island 12 miles long in a seismically active zone right on the hurricane belt!

Definately agree on the testing - we're just freeing up a spare server now specifically for testing DR stuff and ESXi fiddling.


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