Exchange 2010 Clone

Hi all,

I have been task with creating a clone of our production exchange 2010 environment which is in the process of being migrated to office 365. Currently its setup in a Hybrid Deployment with an on premise exchange 2013 server. All mailboxes are still on with exchange 2010. What we would like to accomplish is to have a cloned copy of exchange mailboxes on a server before all mailboxes are migrated.

This cloned copy will be used for performing mailbox searches but would like to keep the cloned server separate from our production environment.

All servers are virtual and use up a lot of resources during mailbox searches.  Do anyone have any tips on how to create a cloned copy of exchange?
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Since databases can't be mounted in two locations simultaneously the only way I see this working is backing up the environment (AD and all) and restoring it in a disconnected separate VM isolated bubble. Then perform your searches there. Note that the data will be regrettably static. Thus regular backups and restores to keep search data relatively up to date.

The only other way would be have some type of 3rd party data replication outside of the DAG (SDRF). Again isolation of one copy of the environment to the other would be key here. Issue with this is AD wouldn't be updated either, thus new mailboxes entering the environment wouldn't be reflected like the backup and restore method mentioned earlier. Exchange would have the content in the EDB's, but no corresponding AD objects.

Just my opinion as I've never tried something like this.

bottom line here is - did you follow published guidelines for server sizing? IE - use of the mailbox role calculator, etc? Will be way easier to just add virtual resources then jump through these hoops.
Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
I would recommend using something like Kernel Data Recovery for Exchange Server. This software can Read, Export, Repair databases offline outside of your Exchange environment. So really all you have to do is create a copy of the EDB file, save is somewhere and then use the software to read the EDB file. Very easy product to use and very effective. Highly recommand.

Kernel Data Recovery for Exchange Server


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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
I do this every 3rd month for my customer. It is called DR exercise. However clone is not the right way. You need to recover your server in test environment. Here are the steps.

Step 1: You need to cold clone one DC from your production environment. Then bring it up in test environment. Seize and transfer FSMO role.

Or if you want to avoid FSMO transfer then you need to clone FSMO DC from production environment.

Note: Cold Clone means, shutdown the DC first and the clone it.

Step 2. You perform Exchange server recovery using recover switch. Then restore DB mount it and it is now live.

Let me know, if this helps.
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
Maintaining the clone environment would be a lot of work. I would rather look at your existing environment to see why searches are slowing it down so much and also better understand why the users are doing so many searches.
AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
The answer you accepted doesn't matches your question. Not sure why you selected. The answer, I gave you is the right answer.
kjacquesAuthor Commented:
Amit i choose to go with a third party tool and not clone my Exchange environment. This is why i choose that answer. It  would take too much time and resources to clone my entire Exchange environment which includes 2 MB server and 2 CA servers.
AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
It could be my mistake, as I am pure Exchange person and never recommend 3rd party tool, until someone ask in question specifically. If you feel Will answer is best, I am fine with that.
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