Being Anxious, I thought of asking this question in SO, which will certainly help in getting an idea for how the big DB carriers take their backups.
How Gmail and other Mailservice providers must be taking there DB Backups?
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closed as not a real question by Skyhawk, John Gardeniers, EEAA, jscott, Ward May 24 '11 at 13:52
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Google has it's own "database engine" called BigTable and a complete different architecture than any relational database you might know.
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BigTable for some initial idea.