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I have netbackup backing up my Exchange stores stores to tape, but would like to maybe make the restore process faster.

I have plenty of room on the array attached to the mail server, so I was thinking I could use NTBackup to do weekly backups in addition to my tape backups. Has anyone used this with good success?

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4 Answers 4

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NTBackup was our store-level backup solution for our Exchange installation for years. We had been on ArcServe and Veritas at different times, but for just the Exchange store they didn't give us any more than NTBackup for the store plus ExMerge with a mailbox list file and and ExMergeIni.exe for brick-level backup and quick restore for individual mailboxes or messages. In addition to being free, this left us with pretty portable and flexible restore options.

Here's how our .bat file looked:

ntbackup backup "@C:\backupscripts\exchangestore_selection_file.bks" /f "c:\backup_directory" /j "Exchange Store Backup"
cd c:\backupscripts\
ExMergeIni.exe DataDirectoryName c:\backup_directory -f "c:\backupscripts\ExMerge.ini"
ExMergeIni.exe LogFileName c:\log_directory\ExMerge.log -f "c:\backupscripts\ExMerge.ini"
EXMERGE -F .\EXMERGE.INI -B
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If speed if your issue, then you don't want to restore directly from tape as disk is faster. However, the array that you have space on, is that shared with the storage groups? If so, you lose your array, and you've lost your online backup in addition to your in-use mailstores.

How many storage groups do you have? How many mail stores? Maybe you could implement more groups and stores, across different sets of disks. Then any individual backup and restore would be quicker, due to less data being involved.

Potentially, you could have a 'High Priority' set of mailboxes, and have those on their own store. That way, in the event of disaster, could you restore those first?

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4 Stores, about 200 GB, not sure how many mailboxes off the top of my head. I would probably put them on a the transaction logs array, it is okay to loose the backups if the array goes south since I will have the tape as well. It is also more to make it a little more simple than it is speed too. All your points are valid, but this is just to make a little faster without putting in a lot of time/work. –  Kyle Brandt Apr 9 '10 at 16:57
    
I'd suggest you don't write your backup to the same place as your data. For one, it'll potentially slow down production access to the data For two, if you lose the data, you lose the backup too. So, have to resort to restoring from tape anyway Do you have any expansion available in your server(s)? Would it be worth putting in a new RAID for dumping your backups to? Or a new SAN allocation or something? Id' keep the backup and data as separate as possible –  Ben Quick Apr 13 '10 at 9:21

The only Exchange backups we do are via NTBackup and it seems to work quite well for us. The only thing I wish it supported was some kind of compression.

With command line parameters, it’s fairly easy to script as well.

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I'm not a fan of NTbackup myself, but that's personal preference. For what you're trying to do, it sounds like it would work. Here is a link for some documentation on NTbackup. There are also some things to consider. 1)Are you going to use NetBackup for log truncation, or NTbackup? Make sure you have the right program doing it. 2) Make sure that the two backups don't over lap. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth will ensue.

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