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Test restore of Exchange 2010 to different hardware

Posted on 2012-03-27
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I would like to do a test restore of my single Exchange 2010 server to different hardware (simulating a full server failure) using Microsoft's built-in Windows 2008 backup.  Anyone know of a good online guide for doing this?
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Question by:tenover
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pradeep7880 earned 500 total points
ID: 37775500
I have done extensive testing on restoring an Exchange 2007 database. Here is a summary of what I have found so far:

1) You can test the restoring of an Exchange 2007 mailbox information store on a production system without disrupting the live production database. This is accomplished using an Exchange Recovery Storage Group. The database can be restored to the RSG, mounted, dismounted, and integrity checks can be run using ESEUTIL and ISINTEG utilities from Microsoft. This works well with Exchange 2007, and I expect the same to be true for Exchange 2003.

2) Restoring the database files and appropriate log files to a local file system works well using OBM, assuming the backup that you are restoring completed without errors.

3) Once the database and log files are restored to the local file system, they cannot be mounted directly in Exchange 2007. You must first run the Ahsay utility ExRestore2k7 or ExRestoreX64, to copy the database into the proper location and also apply the required log files to bring the database to a consistent state.

4) The documentation for ExRestore2K7 and ExRestoreX64 is sparse and incomplete and you will have to experiment with the parameters to get it to do anything. There are three issues with the documentation:

a) The required directory structure of the database and log files restored from OBM and input for the utility is not documented and depending on you selected the files to be restored, OBM may not create the structure required by the utilities.

b) There is no explanation of what these utilities are actually doing. You don't know what steps it is taking on your data and what to expect from the utility. You have to figure this out as you run it a few times and see what it copies to where and what it appears to be doing.

c) There are few, if any error messages, and when it fails you have no idea what has gone wrong, or the utility was doing. In most of my tests it just failed and went back to the prompt with no message at all.

5) When ExRestore2k7 or ExRestoreX64 (they both appear to do the exact same thing) work properly, they do create a usable Exchange 2007 database that has log files properly applied. And furthermore, the resulting database passes all integrity checks and can be mounted and used by Exchange.

6) ExRestore2k7 and ExRestoreX64 are extremely finicky and will fail very abruptly and ungracefully if they encounter anything they don't like. Missing logs or logs out of sequence will cause the utility to fail and whatever messages you get , if any, will not help much in determing what went wrong.

7) ExRestore2k7 and ExRestoreX64 can't handle large numbers of log files. About 700 is the limit that I found in my testing. This is extremely serious because on the server that I am testing with there were 1000 or more log files every day. This means that only the weekly "database" backups could be restored to Exchange, and any weekday backups that were a database + logfiles could not be restored.
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by:tenover
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Thanks, however I'm running Exchange 2010.
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