In the company I'm working for, we use exchange 2007 and backup it using netbackup.

The backup is a daily complete backup of the information store and the direct corollary of this is that restores are hell. We need to restore the entire information store (over 80 gb), somehow merge it back with the original store, which causes problems. Alternatively, we tried using QUEST software to emulate exchange and restore mails from the emulation. However, this proved unreliable.

The main problem with this entire situation is that we have to restore the whole information store and walk it through the restore process manually, and its quite absurd to be forced spend more than a day restoring even one erased email. (we have erased mail retention, but sometimes we need to restore older mail).

in comparison, back in the day of XCH2003 and backupexec 12, we had complete brick level backup and restore at the push of a button.

I've spoken to one of our chief sysadmins who claimed that the official response from microsoft to this issue was - "sorry guys, no brick level backup in XCH2007" which sounds ridiculous to me.

Can someone shed some light on the situation? How do you backup your exchange2007 stores? Can you restore a single email quickly? A mailbox, perhaps?


Well, your chief sysadmin is incorrect. (link removed to KB article posted above because I don't have enough points to post two hyperlinks) shows that it's possible. Those instructions probably won't help you directly, because you should be looking in the admin guide and KB for Symantec NetBackup. Maybe it needs an Exchange agent to do brick-level, have you looked into it?

Edit - Aha. Page 10-12 of this PDF say that the Exchange agent for NBU supports mailbox (brick-level) backups

Also, you do know that brick-level takes a lot more time and space, right? And that if you're doing fulls, you just need to restore to the Recovery Storage Group and then use ExMerge to just get the emails in question; that really shouldn't take more than a day.

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  • There is a small company I do some light consulting for, and for this exact purpose I have a script that runs exmerge and dumps out their mailboxes to a PST. We still do a regular full information store backup as well, but for the one off recovery this is sooooo much easier - and storage isn't a problem so far. – Goyuix Jan 5 '10 at 16:09

Brick level backup is not really available in Exchange 2007. There is a MS KB article here that explains how to enable a sort of Brick Level backup using exmerge.

That does not mean there are bit products that let you restore an individual mailbox, products such as Microsoft's System Center DPM will do this, take a look at this article for more detail.

Exchange 2010 features a whole new backup and restore SDK, so offers more features.

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The NetBackup agent for Exchange is what you need/want. Here is a link for a white paper discussing the options.

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