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Friday, October 8, 2010

What to Backup in Exchange 2007?

Disaster Recovery is planned well ahead in Time during the planning phase of critical technologies like AD DS, Exchange etc. Disaster Recovery strategy is created to prevent or minimize the services outage due to hardware, software or powerfailure. Recovery times depends upon what needs to be restored for example, mailbox, database or Entire Server.

Today, We will broadly be discussing about Exchange Server 2007 disaster recovery best practices and methods

So to start with:

A. Use clustering Technology like CCR, by far this is the most widely used. I have my self suggested and Implemented CCR

B. Use Deleted Item Retention. Suggested value 14 days
C. Use Deleted Mailbox Retention. Suggested value 30 days
D. ProActive Monitoring using SCOM or any enterprise monitoring tool
E. Distribute mailboxes evenly among multiple exchange databases
F. Manageable Database size. Put restriction on the limit on how big the database file can grow. Ideally < 100GB

Disaster Recovery Checklist

1. Create and Use Backup Strategy that matches with your agreed SLA, downtime, recovery time, datalose tolerance.
2. Use clustering Technology as mentioned above, SCC, SCR, CCR
3. Fault Tolerant Hardware like RAID, Dual power supply

For exhaustive list please refer to

What needs to be backed up?

For Mailbox Server Role

1. Exchange Database: Exchange aware backup solution
2. Exchange Transaction Logs : Exchange aware backup solution
3. Offline address book: File System Backup
4. Windows Registry: System State backup

Few words about OAB backup
The offline address book (OAB) is a file that contains an offline replica of the information in a given address book on an Exchange 2007 server. It enables Microsoft Outlook clients to look up address book requests without having to connect to an Exchange server. The OAB is stored in the public folder database and on the Mailbox and Client Access servers.

If you are using OAB distribution in public folders, you should back up and restore public folders as usual. If you are using Web distribution, you need to back up and restore the OAB file on your server.

By default, the OAB file is in the following folder on the server that generates the OAB: C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\ExchangeOAB. This location is the authoritative store for the OAB files. You may also back up the <Exchange_install_location>\OAB directory on your Client Access servers that contain the local cached copy of the OAB files.

For Hub Transport Server
Hub Transport Server stores most of the information in AD configuration partition.

1. Message queues: These are not backed up but can be mounted on to new server if they are received from failed server.
2. Tracking Logs: File System Backup
3. System State Backup or registery export for following keys

For Client Access Role
I found backing up this role requires more attention as you need to backup and export more configuration files than other roles.

CAS server stores it's data in Active Directory configuration partition and IIS metabase. Although you can recover CAS server role using

setup /m:RecoverServer [This will restore the CAS to default state before post installation customizations are applied, custom virtual directories will be lost]

if there is sync error between AD and IIS metabase then CAS server will not work properly that's why it's not recommended to use RecoverSwitch rather use standard installation and re apply the customization. Most importantly the change to CAS server role must be documented.

Default location of CAS Role C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange\ClientAccess

1. OWA and Web.Config File    \OWA              File Level Backup
2. IMAP4 and POP3                    \ClientAccess      File Level Backup
    Microsoft.Exchange.Pop3.exe.config \
3. Availability Service [Free Busy Info]         System State, Web.Config
                                                                \exchweb\ews              File level backup

4. Autodiscover                       IIS metabase [export of website]
                                             System State
5. OWA virtual directories        System State & ClientAccess\

6. Active Sync                   Active Directory configuration container
                                        File system, including the Web.config file in the \
ClientAccess\Sync folder
                                        IIS Metabase
In editing or making changes to web.config file use only notepad.

You can use the following script to backup and restore IIS metabase

For Edge Server

1. Use the ExportEdgeConfig.ps1 for backing up ADAM and IPFilter configuration.

I hope this information will be helpful in managing your exchange server better.

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