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Exchange 2010 - What is the simplest safe way to backup the database so transaction logs truncate?

My understanding is that an "application aware" backup must be done on a MS Exchange database in order to trigger MS Exchange to truncate transaction logs. Right now the database resides on the C drive, which is the system volume. I read this article that recommends a full server backup.
I don't want to buy an expensive Exchange backup program, but I would like to avoid backing up the entire C drive. The only possibility I can guess at is using some sort of Windows command to make Exchange commit/truncate the log files and then use Windows Backup to perform a file-level backup of the database folder. The solution I propose was not recommended by anyone online, so I suspect it is not safe.
I am willing to write scripts and scheduled tasks if necessary.
4 Solutions
jjh2010Author Commented:
By the way, I find on Server 2003 running Exchange 2007 there is a way to select Microsoft Exchange while making a Windows backup...it seems odd that a similar customization to 2008's backup wizard is not available.
Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
You need to take backup from Exchange aware as Online Backup :)

Exchange 2007 Online Backup

Brick Level Backups are one of the worst things you can inflict on your Exchange Server. They are old technology, which as stated above, is slow and virtually useless.

I would recommend you look into a product like Symantec Backup Exec (with the Exchange Agent) for performing online, Exchange-aware backups of the Information Store. If you ever had to restore said backups, you can easily make use of a Recovery Storage Group - an accepted method of Exchange data recovery.

The built-in NTBACKUP (in Server 2003) should also be able to back-up your Information Store. If you are using Server 2008, the new backup tool will not back up Exchange, so you must go third-party in that case.

- Rancy
jjh2010Author Commented:
I am using Server 2008 and Exchange 2010. I take this statement from Rancy's link to mean I am going to have to buy a third-party tool or use Windows Backup to make a full backup of the entire system volume (that also contains Exchange database):

     "If you are using Server 2008, the new backup tool will not back up Exchange, so you must go third-party in that case."
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Svet PaperovIT ManagerCommented:
Witch 2008 do you have? If it is 2008 R2, it's Windows Backup tool does application aware backup of Exchange with truncating the transaction logs.

If not, you could try BackupAssist and its Exchnage plug-in http://www.backupassist.com/BackupAssist/tour_Exchange.html. There is a 30-day trial version that ou can download.
jjh2010Author Commented:
It is 2008 R2. I start the Windows Backup Wizard and do not find a way to specify Microsoft Exchange. I could drill down to the mailbox database folder, but that doesn't seem right when the application-aware wizard in 2003 lets one choose the Exchange Server from the tree view near the top level of the tree...so what are the steps to make the backup application-aware?
Svet PaperovIT ManagerCommented:
You will still have to perform a full backup of the volume(s) where the mailbox databases and the transaction logs reside with VSS Full Backup option enabled (to trucate the transaction logs) but when it comes to restore you will be able to select Appliication restore and to recover the database files on another location. Unfortunately, in your case it means backing up the entire C volume. For Windows Server Backup, you will have to follow the steps in the article you mentioned.

Btw, BackupAssist also requires backing up the entire volume(s) but it has better scheduling options.

A piece of advice: if it is possible, split the C volume and move the database file on dedicated volume and the log files on a third one.
Personally, I'd recommend taking backups using a third-party backup utility - the best i've known is Symantec. However, natively this is also possible - as stated umpteen times above.

Here is a short video for you to check how to take backups using native Windows backup for Exchange and it would show you too, how to verify if Exchange is back'd up or not.


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