Installing SP1 on Exchange 2010 (Vmware)

hi guys,

We're going to be installing SP1 on the Exchange 2010 server. It's a virtual server. Of course, like anything I'd like to ensure we are able to revert back to the settings prior to the install in case we run into problems. I believe I can do this using the snapshot manager on Vmware and once we're happy we can 'commit the changes'.

But technically, how can I do this? Do I take a snapshot first and then install SP1 and then commit changes via snapshot manager?

Thanks
Yashy
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YashyAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It would be better if you used the CLONE option before you install the service pack. (e.g. CLONE acts as a BACKUP!)

I would not recommend reverting to a snapshot!
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
SP1? Really? Any reason you aren't going straight to SP3? SP1 isn't even supported any longer.

The changes that are made will mean that you cannot really go back to the previous snapshot, so this is not even something I would consider doing. By all means take a regular backup, but anything else isn't something I would look at doing.

Simon.
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraConnect With a Mentor Solutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
You can preferably take a System State and Exchange DB backups .... and as Simon said simply move to SP3 as SP1 is no more supported and you dont need to go through each SP

- Rancy
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Haresh NikumbhSr. Tech leadCommented:
First you have to take snapshot, before making any changes on the server.

if anything goes wrong then you can revert system with that snapshot..

once snapshot is taken go ahead and install SP1

if everything goes smoothly then you can commit changes via snapshot manager..
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NetfloCommented:
Ideally I would suggest to shut the VM down first and then take a snapshot. Once complete fire the VM back up and proceed to install SP1, better yet I'd suggest SP2 first. As you don't need to install SP1 first - it's included.

Once you're happy you can delete the snapshot which will effectively commit the changes. Remember I wouldn't suggest or recommend that you roll back your Exchange install should anything odd happen, as there is a strong possibility you could lose user data. If this is a demo isolated environment, perfectly okay, as long as you know what you're doing.

I'd recommend looking at the following links for further reading:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1009402

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1025279

Best of luck!
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AbhishekJhaCommented:
You can take a snapshot from Vmware & Install the Sp1 or SP3 whatever you want to. Incase if you'll face any issue  you can rollback the VM. If not then you can use the VM with the changes.
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YashyAuthor Commented:
Hi guys,

Okay firstly yes, it'll be SP3.

Secondly, the majority of you are against snapshot taking. Why? Is this the case for all update situations or is this just Exchange that you are against the snapshot?
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Simon Butler (Sembee)Connect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
Snapshotting Exchange isn't supported.

I would read this to start with:
http://thoughtsofanidlemind.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/be-careful-with-vm-snapshots-of-exchange-2010-servers/

Basically Exchange is a living product, it changes constantly. You cannot just go back to a previous snapshot and expect everything to work - it will not.

Simon.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
So, stop All Exchange Services, and then backup (or you could use CLONE).

then complete installation of SP3, in the event it fails, you have a backup you can restore.
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YashyAuthor Commented:
Aha, okay. Now I understand, because it's a live changing environment.

In terms of cloning, can I just clone it and leave it be and if the original VM with the SP3 installed on it doesn't work, I can just fire up the cloned version again?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, provided, you stop all the Services, so no emails flows!

1. Stop Services
2. CLONE
3. Install SP3
4. Test Exchange with SP3 installed (without connection to network) - check all services start etc check event logs
5. If fails, Restore CLONE
6. otherwise connect to network.
7. Done.
8. Remove CLONE
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YashyAuthor Commented:
Thanks man. Just one last question, if I clone this will it not be too big for a clone? I've got two exchange servers (each of them holds a separate database). And the total amount of space on each disk is around 829gb, however there's 500gb free on each. Still clone?

Thanks again.
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
I still wouldn't clone it. How are you going to know the upgrade wasn't successful? Problems might occur after the server has been running for hours or days, then your clone would be out of date. I have never had a problem with the service pack installation - as long as you read the release notes. I have done probably 100s of them.

Simon.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you are performing an change to a production machine, if you practice change control, what's your back-out plan if it all goes wrong?
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YashyAuthor Commented:
Hi Hanccocka, I have a backup of the actual system registry, backup of all mailboxes along with the system state and Exchange logs.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would recommend, a full backup of the virtual machine, which can easily be restored, should it be required.

Do you not have any Virtual Machine Backup Product that you use?

e.g. Veeam Backup and Replication
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YashyAuthor Commented:
I can try that, sure. I'll give that a shot and see. Usually with backups on Symantec Backup Exec, they've failed on VM's that consisted of SQL. I haven't tried to take a full backup of the VM with Exchange and see where I get.
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YashyAuthor Commented:
Thanks as always. That goes for everybody who's been helping. I'll be making a new post about SP2/SP3 for exchange shortly.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You really need to get a proper virtual machine backup product working correctly.
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