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exchange backups and lack of risks

Posted on 2014-01-16
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Last Modified: 2014-01-23
have you ever had to use your exchange mailbox database server backups for restores, and if so for what purposes/scenarios? It seems exchange has many built in features whereby users can restore accidentally deleted mail, admins can restore accidentally deleted mailboxes, that the overall emphasis of having daily full backups seems a bit pointless.

So i wondered what types of issue do the backups save you from, and what the risks are of not having say a recent full backup for the mbx database for say 1 month. i.e. the last full backup was done 1 month ago.
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Question by:pma111
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Kent Fichtner earned 500 total points
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We use Backup Exec to do full exchange backups.  Two main uses come to mind

We have a user (an executive) that likes to delete their emails.  That user then likes to try to find them (a year or two later) and needs them recovered.

This would be outside the normal "recover my deleted items" and requires a tape to restore the files.

The other reason that we have is not so much for retention but speed of consolidating emails.  We had a court case and had to find all the emails that had to deal with a specific topic.  It was nice to search the whole database and do the restore

I am aware that this can be done in exchange as well, but that is only for current emails and not ones from a year or two (or more) back.
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by:pma111
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I guess I was more hinting at the neccesarity daily/weekly full backups, as opposed to monthly full backups, or fortnightly full backups. As I assume you probably maintain only a single monthly snapshot of historical "how the mailbox server was as of xx/xx/2013"... i.e you wouldnt have 365 full backups available to you to resore, so as long as the email was in one of those month ends, the fact the server is only backed up fully once every 2 weeks or so , doesnt seem as much of an issue?
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by:Kent Fichtner
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Sorry about that...We do daily backups of our exchange server.  They are kept for one year...but not because we need the email data, but because of the other information we backup on other servers.

We back up all servers on a single tape (1 full and 6 differential).  Things like our fileserver we need to be able to restore for any day.  As for Exchange, if the server goes down we need to have the ability to restore as much data.  You are correct, by the time Wednesday goes around our Monday differential backup of exchange is mute, but we keep it because of the other data on the tape.

hope that helps...
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by:pma111
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are they daily full backups of exchange? as it seems there is a few types, full, differential, copy and incremental..
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by:Kent Fichtner
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We back up all servers on a single tape (1 full and 6 differential).  
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by:pma111
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quite new to backups never been an area of responsibility, but does that indicate you do 1 full backup 1 day, and then 6 differential backups for the other days in the week..
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by:Kent Fichtner
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Exactly.

For us Saturday morning does a full system backup (all 13 servers all data).  Then sunday - Friday they do differential backups.  Meaning that Sunday - Friday are a lot smaller then Saturday since we only backup what has changed.

The downside is that you need both the full + differential backup to do a full restore.

We do this on an LTO 5 Tape using backup exec.  It has cut down our use of tapes from one a day to one a week while still having a high restore availability.
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