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Jun 29

A solution for Exchange backup and restore

http://www.ontrackpowercontrols.com/

Some of you who are forced to deal with MS Exchange might want to take a look at this.  For about $1,000 retail, the basic version of Ontrack’s “Power Controls” software is the best investment you could ever make.

I ran into the point this week where my Exchange “Brick Level” backs were taking more than a day to complete.  So the long and the short of it the next backup was ready to start before the prior one finished.

Going to TimeFinder/SNAP based backups was always the plan, but this little fiasco today accelerated that project.  But what I needed was to be able to do a mailbox or item-level restore.

OnTrack PowerControls does just that.  You can open the .EDB file directly and extract whatever you need out of it.  Search by name or subject or just select an entire mailbox and either drag it directly to your production exchange server or into a .PST file that the software will create for you just for this purpose.

Amazing stuff.  The other peice you get using the full EDB file instead of the Veritas Exchange client backup is you get everything in the deleted items folder as well, and if you’ve set retention for 30 days or so, it means that you get it even if the user has emptied the deleted items in religiously.  (Somehow I always end up cleaning up after the disgruntled employee who feels it necessary to dump everything he’s got to make life miserable on the people he’s abandoning)

And now, instead of having to rely on the MAPI connection into the exchange server for my backups, I just SNAP the volumes off, back-up the flat files, and I’m good to go.  I’ve got enough to re-create the server *AND* do a single-item restore in one backup.

And our SNAP based backups run, literally 1,000 times faster than the old fashioned way of doing it.

3 comments

  1. NetApp resells this as their SMBR product (Single Mail Box Recovery). We have been using it with Snap Manager for Exchange for quite some time now. Works great. Yeah the snap technology allows you to
    take more frequent backups, we do it 3 times a day.

  2. Jesse

    Cool – I wasn’t aware that NetApp resells it as well.

    Yes, one of the great benefits of Snap technology is being able to keep a system/database backup “in-ready” just in case it’s needed. I think, while we are only planning on putting the data to tape once a day, that we’ll probably go on a two-hour cycle between two different sets of virtual devices for added protection.

  3. It is fun seeing you grow and come around to doing things the way Netapp has been doing them for a decade. 😛

    Typical Exchange snapshot schedules are something like full snapshots hourly, transaction logs on the half hour, rolling snapshots of the log luns (every minute or so), a daily backup that gets an integrity check (and often rolled off to tape). Most people are keeping 5-7 days, though larger implementations often keep 14-30 days worth of snapshots on disk. Provided they don’t go over 255 total snapshots per volume. Many of them also use Snapmirror for DR, and just pull to tape or run the integrity checks from the DR copy. Some pretty cool stuff.

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