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Exchange 2013 Document Level Backup

Posted on 2013-11-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-06-21

I have a few sites with Exchange 2013 in place and working fine but Arcserve (our preferred backup method) doesn't yet support backing up mailboxes or datastores at document level.

I'm currently working with CA to get this working with 16.5 Update 3 with no success yet.

In the meantime, can anyone suggest a different product which they have working with Exchange 2013 document level backups?

I wonder if there is a far better product out there for this?
Question by:benowens
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LVL 63

Accepted Solution

Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39645363
Brick Level backup is completely unnecessary in Exchange, and has been for many years. It is slow, inefficient and usually a waste of time.

Increase deleted item retention and do a full Exchange aware backup. That will cover you for all eventualities. If users delete something then they can get it back. If it is outside of the DIR period then you can just use the regular recovery methods within Exchange to get the content back from the database backup.

I haven't done a brick level backup in over ten years of working with Exchange. Never needed it and have never missed it.

Should also be pointed out that item level recovery direct in to the database isn't supported by Microsoft.


Author Comment

ID: 39645411
Thank you Simon, sounds very helpful and i'll look into that right aware.  I haven't touched Exchange since 2003 now i'm back working with in at Exchange 2013 so there's bound to be quite a few changes.

If you suggestion work, I'll be more than happy to see the back of brick level mailbox backups....so slow!!!!

Author Comment

ID: 39645415
Yeah they have been quite slow on this, maybe I should send that link to CA, although can't help but think they're having to keep up from MS changing the goalposts.
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Author Comment

ID: 39645439
My initial reaction from my colleagues was bad but I think they misunderstood your post.  I think they read it as brick level isn't required and you haven't needed it.  Whereas I've read it as you can restore individual items and folders easily by the methods yopu suggested?

Just to clarify Simon, when you mention not backing up at brick level, upping retention policies, does that really cover us for every aspect.

For example how would you restore an item that was deleted say a week ago... from retention?

Also, we have a scenario where this same customer needs to restore an email from 6 years ago.  What would I do to restore that mailbox in this backup scenario.
LVL 63

Assisted Solution

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39645470
Set Deleted Item retention to cover more than your backup retention period.
So if you keep backups monthly then you need to ensure that DIR is at least four weeks probably more like six.

A user deletes and item a week ago, they get back through Recover Deleted Items (that process is well documented, so you can find a process for your combination of Outlook/OWA easily).
If it was two years ago, you go back to the closest backup. It will either be in their mailbox or Deleted Item Retention.

With a correctly setup Exchange platform it is impossible for a user to lose anything.

Another option if users are very careless (it happens) is to use journaling.
Journal all email to a mailbox and then use a third party app to manage that journal for you. That will usually provide the end user with an interface to find their email. That makes item level recovery very easy - the users can do it themselves and you are doing a backup purely for system recovery, not content.

CA and Symantec (the two main providers of brick level) do it because end users (Exchange admins) ask for it. The reason end users ask for it is because they don't know anything else.

If you track my history back both as Sembee and Sembee2 you will see I have been saying BLBs are bad for years.

There used to be a really good blog posting on one of the Exchange blogs (from Exchange 2003 days) about why BLBs were a bad idea, but I cannot find it now.


Author Comment

ID: 39645547
Thanks for the breakdown Simon.  So are you suggesting that we use backups at dicument level every 6 weeks and up the retention policy?

I'm just running through a scenario.....

Say we have 6 week retention policy and it's been ticking along for a while and then somebody requires an email to be restored from say 10 weeks ago.  What is the best way to restore the email or folder if we then only have database backups to tape and not a brick level backup?

Sorry if I'm not understanding this correctly.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39645567
If your DIR is six weeks, but someone wants something from 10 weeks ago, then you restore to a recovery database the closest backup after the email has been received. You can then recover the email from that backup.

Read this section of TechNet, which explains how the process works:

This is DATABASE backup, not document/item level backup.


Author Comment

ID: 39645587
Excellent.  I have some reading to do, but this all looks like good stuff.  I'm going to have a challenge changing moving from Arcserve with colleagues I think but that will depend on how many extra steps there are in restoring items.  At first glance, its doesn't look like more work, or less work, but just a different process.

Anyway, I'll read and come back to you on what we opt for.

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