At my company The MS-Exchange plug-in is used to Backup our Exchange 2003 Information Store (Storage Group), and its Logs and Stores in the Information Store (Please do try to correct my terminology). This has never been tested, and we would like to do a test restore.

What do I need to do to restore a Information Store as a test, without overwriting or interrupting the current store?

The following from the manual makes me wonder if this is even possible:

Redirecting a Restore to a Different Path
A user can restore mailbox objects and Public folder objects to folders that are different from the folders from which the objects were backed up. Database objects should not be redirected to different paths.

Since the following is not set, I think we are not doing MailBox Level backups:

▼    To configure the mailbox for the NetBackup Client service account
   1.    Open the NetBackup Administration Console or the Remote Administration Console.
   2.    In the left pane, expand Host Properties.
   3.    Click Clients.
   4.    In the right pane, right-click on the client you wish to configure and choose 


   5.    Expand Windows client and click Exchange.
   6.    In the Mailbox for message level backup and restore box, specify the mailbox. The
       mailbox may be specified as:
       ◆       An Exchange mailbox name
       ◆       A fully-qualified name
       ◆       /O=Org_Name/OU=Site_Name/CN=Server_Name/CN=Mailbox_Name

It's not clear from your posting what version of NetBackup you're using so I can't necessarily give you step-by-step instructions.

The "magic words" you're looking for, in terms of Exchange terminology, are "Recovery Storage Group" (RSG). RSG's were a new feature in Exchange 2003 and allow you to restore a copy of a database (public or private store) onto the same or another Exchange Server computer in the same organization while that server continues to operate in a production capacity. Once an RSG is restored into and mounted up you can connect to it with ExMerge and read out mailboxes into PST files for merging back into a "live" store.

A rough overview of the procedure is as follows:

  • Create an RSG on an Exchange Server computer by right-clicking the server and choosing "New / Recovery Storage Group..." in Exchange System Manager.

  • Put the RSG on disks with enough space to handle the restored database.

  • Choose the database that will be restored into the RSG (through the "Add Database to Recover" action in Exchange System Manager).

  • DO NOT SET THE CHECKBOX ON THE PRODUCTION STORE THAT ALLOWS IT TO BE OVERWRITTEN BY A RESTORE! This interlock prevents the restore that you will run in NetBackup from overwriting the production store!

  • In NetBackup, perform a restore of the Exchange database back to the original location (if you've created the RSG on the server where the data was originally located), or redirect it to another server if you've staged the RSG there

A step-by-step for several versions of NetBackup, albeit not very detailed, is here: http://seer.entsupport.symantec.com/docs/281259.htm

It's always a bit of a white-knuckle moment for me when I do one of these, even when I know I've set everything up properly. Having said that, I've done this procedure with Backup Exec several times with success each time. Obviously, your mileage may vary-- test the heck out of this in a lab before you go touching production data with it.

  • 6.0MP4 for the Netbackup Server. Trying To figure out how to see the version of the Exchange Plugin. btw, you should put an amazon wish list in your profile, I'm not the only one who is going to owe you a present when The holidays come round :-) – Kyle Brandt Aug 4 '09 at 14:26
  • Ahh I totally forgot about recovery storage groups (but it's mentioned in the webcast). I don't use them because I had a moron that worked for me hose my production mailserver once and came to the conclusion that anything that has a possibility of killing production shouldn't be used on production- but it's certainly a valid approach. – Jim B Aug 5 '09 at 15:46
  • @JimB: I've seen people accidently blow up production environments w/ RSG's, so it's valid to be a bit wary. Having said that, RSG's can save a lot of time. The key is the safety interlock checkbox on the production storage group. So long as you don't check it on production data you're pretty safe. (I suppose some brain-damaged backup software could try and check the box for you...) Since you can restore an RSG to another Exchange Server you can further mitigate the potential for accidents by using a second server (albeit not a "recovery server" in the strict sense, thankfully) w/ the RSG. – Evan Anderson Aug 5 '09 at 15:53

Follow Method 3 of this KB article to test a restoration of the exchange store. The problem with just restoring to a different path (and I doubt it's possible) is that you can't mount it to see if it works. building a recovery server will let you do a full restore test. See also this webcast: TechNet Webcast: Exchange Server 2003—Recovery and Preparedness Strategies—Level 200

  • So is having a separate recovery server my only option? – Kyle Brandt Aug 4 '09 at 13:46

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