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Backup Exec 12.5 on SBS 2003 - Exchange mailboxes taking too long to back up

We have a customer using SBS 2003 and Backup Exec 12.5. Over the past three months, the amount of time taken to backup Exchange Mailboxes has increased by 4 - 5 hours.

The Exchange Mailbox backup (approx 73GB) is taking around 15 hours at a transfer rate of 82 mbps whereas all other data backups up at at least 1300 mbps.

Backups are going to a directly attached LTO-3.

I have checked the RAID and there is no degradation at all.

I really need to resolve this because the complete server backup is now taking approximately 22 hours!
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Chris Millard
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Chris Millard
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1 Solution
 
YorickosCommented:
What kind of backup are you using for backing up the exchange server?

- Database level
- Brick level
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
Both. The database backups are fast, but it's the GRT backups that are taking so long.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Is there something running during the backup & Compare steps that is delaying the completion or taking up system resources?

Anti Virus scans, Exchange Maintenance....
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YorickosCommented:
Is "Verify" turned on?
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
@TG-TIS - I have tried disabling Virus Scan and it made no difference whatsoever. Exchange Maintenance takes place at the weekend so doesn't affect these weekday backups.

@Yorickos - No.
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ktaczalaCommented:
I noticed you stated that it's SBS 2003  Then I am assuming your running Exchange 2003 that's built-in to SB 2003.

That has a max database size limit of 75 GIG, which you are close to reaching.
I would suggest having your users cleanup everything possible.
Offload to PST's and create new PST's "OR" get an archiving solution like GFI MailArchiver
then the database would be at a more manageable size.
Since you're so close to the limit do you see any warning or error event log messages pertaining to the exchange system?
You could also try a separate backup job for exchange database to disk to see if the speed increases.
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
@ktaczala - indeed we are close to our 75GB limit, and we have policies in place to permanently delete items from certain folders over xx days old.

The customer is in the lengthy process of being quoted for a new server setup, but it is a drawn out process due to some of the customised applications they run. They are not willing to put an archival solution in place, neither do they want to create PSTs so I'm doing all I can to keep on top of that as it is.

3 months ago, their database was less than 2GB smaller, yet the GRT backup took almost 5 hours less to back up.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Review the backup job logs and see if there are any messages or timestamps within each process. you might find something you didn't expect.

Also, check to see if any other drives are selected that were not intended.  I use BE 2010 on an SBS2003 at one client with no problems. It's been running for about 4 years.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Can you post these specs?

Is a Raid being used?
How many drives?
What model drives?
What raid controller is being used?
How much ram?
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
@TG-GIS:

It's a Dell PowerEdge 2900 server with Perc 5/i controller.

There are 3 Virtual Disks:-

1 - RAID1 - 2 x 300GB Cheetah 15K RPM
2 - RAID5 - 2 x 146GB and 1 x 300GB Drive
2 - RAID5 - 3 x 500GB Samsung HE502HJ Drives

It's got 8GB RAM, but it's only a 32BIT O/S so only 4GB usable.

This same config has sen in place for at least 3 years, and has been running great until January
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Check Backup Exec to see if any updates are needed. Go into BE Options and run Live Update.
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
Done that already - it is fully up to date
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YorickosCommented:
Have u checked your LTO-3 tape drive with diagnostic testing?

82mbps is really slow and not healthy for your tapedrive, check if its working properly.
At the HP website you can download the HP Tape and Library tool for LTO-3
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
The drive works fine with every other part of the backup - it goes between 1300 and 2500+ mbps. It's just the Mailbox backup that it grinds to a halt with.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Does the LTO need a driver update? Normally it used a driver from Symantec specially for BE.
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
It's using Symantec drivers.
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YorickosCommented:
Is it possible for you to Backup to disk first and after this backup to tape?
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
We have a backup running to NAS at the weekend instead of to tape, and it takes just as long. The NAS is connected directly to the second NIC of the server, both on a completely different subnet to the LAN, and both the server and NAS have gigabit LAN ports.
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ktaczalaCommented:
Try a NON-GRT Backup is that any faster?
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
I apologise for not responding to this sooner, but I've had a week off. Non-GRT hasn't made any difference. I also tried disabling AV for the duration of the backup, and that too does not work.
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ktaczalaCommented:
Make sure you're NOT using Advanced Open File Option for this.
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
Advanced Open File Option is NOT being used already.
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
Eventually resolved this issue by doing an offline defragmentation of the Exchange database. Backup now takes just a couple of hours.
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Chris MillardAuthor Commented:
Problem was resolved by accident. Database needed defragmentation after nearly reaching it's limit, and as a result, the backup is no longer taking a long time.
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