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I have a Windows server 2003 SBS running backup exec 10d. From what I understand, backup exec takes a snapshot of Exchange and backs that up; in that case, should I also back up the exchange database files or would this be redundant? Backups are mainly for disaster recovery, so would it be better to backup just the database files (.edb/.stm)?

From the selections screen, I can see Microsoft Exchange Mailboxes, Microsoft Public Folders, Microsoft Information Store > First Storage Group. Aren't the exchange mailboxes/public folders essentially on the information store? If I chose both, would it not double up?

On another note, do I need to backup the entire C drive to restore AD in the event, say for example, the server motherboard fries and we have to restore SBS to another server with different hardware? What component do I have to select to backup the AD and ensure I can recover to a different server?

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2 Answers 2

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As for AD and restoring the complete system, you should be backing up the entire C drive and the System State.

As for Exchange, you should back up the Information Store. Backing up the IS will backup all mailboxes and public folders. This is the only backup that you'll be able to use to restore the IS from scratch in the event of a loss of the IS. You can not restore the IS from individual mailbox or public folder backups. Backing up individual mailboxes and public folders is considered a legacy backup method for Exchange and is not recommended by Symantec. In addition, a "brick level" backup of the mailboxes and public folders uses MAPI to access the mailboxes and public folders and will be extremely slow.

You should not backup the Exchange database files at the file level. BackupExec with at least version 11 has a built in file filter that will exclude those files automatically if you backup the database directories. You should check if version 10 also has this and if not, you should not include those files in your backup selection list.

Symantec has an SBS version, I'm assuming you're using that. If not, you probably should be.

If you're not using the SBS version then you should have the BackupExec agent for AD, Exchange, Sharepoint (if you're running it), SQL (if you're running it), and Windows. Also current versions of BackupExec include the IDR option free, which will allow you to perform a complete system restore to new hardware.

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As an addendum, I would recommend reading the BackupExec Admin Guide. It's invaluable in understanding how to backup and restore your system and the associated caveats for doing so. –  joeqwerty Oct 22 '09 at 4:22
    
+1 - For mentioning the horror that is "Brick Level" Exchange backup and recommending against it. –  Evan Anderson Oct 22 '09 at 11:55

For Exchange 2003, make sure you have purchase the Exchange agent from Symantec and then select the database through the GUI. Do not backup the individual EDB/STM/LOG files for Exchange (probably just exclude them). Here is a good article on backing up Exchange 2003. It deals with NTbackup, but is relevant to Backup Exec too.

From the selection list, choose First Storage Group (and any additional SGs you may have). Selecting individual items or stores is relying on the brick level backup. It is useful for restoring individual messages or mailboxes, but takes a long time and is not useful when recovering from a complete server failure.

For Active Directory, you will need to backup (and restore) the System State on the server. Similar to Exchange, you don't want to backup the individual DIT files.

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