We just moved to Exchange 2010 from another mail system and have been using IDrive for years to back up our Documents & mail on a single windows server.

Previously we just stopped the services that access the mail database and then scheduled an incremental backup in Idrive resulting in small amounts of changed data being sent to idrive nightly. This system has worked fine for us but now that we on exchange 2010 things seem a little bit more complicated.

We were not sure what exactly what needed to be backed in exchange so Windows Server Backup seemed to fit the bill but it seems windows backup creates a new directory for each backup which will in turn result in duplicate amounts of exchange data being uploaded to idrive.

  1. Is ok to stop the exchange services and back up at file level with IDrive?
  2. How could a mailbox be restored in this scenario
  3. Do I need to worry about transaction logs
  4. Can you suggest a better way?

The server hosting exchange is W2008R2” running as a guest on ESXi 4.1

Note: We plan to make other backups of the server to a NAS device in addition to IDrive.


  1. Yes this will work. It's very very far from ideal, but as long as the information store is stopped, you can grab file level backups of the database
  2. I don't believe there's an easy way of restoring the mailbox in this scenario. A third party tool like On Track would have to be used
  3. This scenario would definitely make you have to worry about transaction logs. The way they typically work, is they are truncated following a backup. This method of backup would not trigger that so they would just grow indefinitely. You can fix that problem by making the database use circular logging, but that may make some recoveries difficult in the event you need to do it.
  4. A better way of doing this would be to buy software that handles Exchange backups. Symantec's BackupExec or BackupExec System Recovery are options. Shadowprotect has an Exchange backup product that looks really good. Mozy Pro offers an online Exchange backup option (I've never used it, but it looks like it would be better than this).

The solution that I do for most of my clients is this: ShadowProtect Server backs up the server with a single full backup followed by incremental backups every 15 minutes. 1 VSS backup is performed per day which truncates the logs. The base and incremental backups are copied offsite. Ontrack is used for any granular level restores (single mailboxes and such). This has tons of advantages. It's an image based backup, so full recoveries to dissimilar hardware are easy. It's a block level backup so the incrementals don't take up all that much disk space. I've got revisions galore to choose from for restores. I've got offsite copies for total disasters. Also, in a pinch, the shadowprotect backups can be converted into VM disks and virtualized.

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  • What is the specific tool you're referring to when you say "Ontrack"? – Evan Anderson Jul 31 '10 at 21:08
  • Ontrack PowerControls – Jason Berg Jul 31 '10 at 21:38

Just a note on #2: you'd need to restore your mailbox database to a Recovery Database.

You might want to give the TechNet article a read, to get a little more comfortable with the changes in 2010.

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