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Exchange vm and snapshots

Posted on 2016-11-15
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Last Modified: 2016-11-16
I came across several posting about vm and snapshot . Snapshot is not recomended for exchange 2013 or above.
Normally we take snapshot vm prior to applying the patches.
If we do not take snapshot on exchange vm then how do we revert it back to it original position after applying the patches/CU?
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Question by:sara2000
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Schnell Solutions earned 250 total points
ID: 41888680
It would be very healthy if you stop that practice, as far as that could be very risky if you ever apply one of your snapshots and revert the Exchange VM back to a point in time. Exchange are not supported by Microsoft, but even worst, they can break many things of the messaging system application as far as it changes over time (Changes in its database, changes in Active Directory, Replication to other roles, etc).

It would be better that you perform a supported Exchange Backup, maybe the same one that you have in place in your environment, before patching your servers. Another approach is that you implement high availability (like having more than one exchange server, so you can rely on your second server if something happens to the first one).

This is the same for all the Exchange current versions (2016, 2010, 2007, 2003 ...).

The reason for this is because Exchange is not aware if it is returned to a back time because of a Snapshot. But the case is different with an Exchange Backup aware, which let know Exchange what is going on, so Exchange will take further actions to ensure the system integrity.
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by:Jason Crawford
Jason Crawford earned 125 total points
ID: 41889221
You'll need to run an image level backup that is application aware and leverages VSS.  You may be able to get away with snapshots in a one server environment even though it's definitely not supported by MS, but the real danger is when snapshots are used in conjunction with multiple Exchange servers in a DAG due to the multi-master database.  This limitation applies to all Exchange versions, not just 2013 and above.
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LVL 43

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by:Amit
Amit earned 125 total points
ID: 41889597
Lot of already said by EE above. FYI any application which runs on live dBs and updates frequently. Snapshots are not recommended. That is applicable for Exchange, AD, SQL etc. Imagine you upgraded your Exchange Service pack and you tried to restore old snapshot. What will happen? It will not work as your schema got updated to latest service back and cannot revert back. In this case you need to use recover server option.

Another example. What will happen to emails you received between snapshot taken and restored. Those will be gone. Same goes, if you have DAG. So, VM snapshot is good for lab testing, when it comes to production you need to use backup and restore option.
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by:sara2000
ID: 41890451
Thank you all for the help.
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