By Vidhya Natarajan, Senior Associate, Product Marketing at Vembu Technologies
November 30, 2012

Vembu Online Data Backup Expert Tips: StoreGrid Exchange Backup and Recovery – Some Best Practices

Microsoft Exchange, one of the most popular and extensively used business applications by Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), and of which any hardware failure, corrupted databases, server crashes and accidental deletes which could affect such critical exchange data can paralyse business. The ability to quickly recover an entire Exchange server or recover individual mailboxes or even an email in the event of such failures is the cornerstone of any Exchange Recovery Solution.

Exchange Configuration Best Practices
The StoreGrid Exchange Server Plugin uses the exchange plugin to stream the exchange database directly to the backup server or dump the Exchange Server databases to a local hard drive in a compressed format and upload the compressed dump files to the backup server. After successfully uploading the compressed dump file to backup server, the uploaded files will be removed from the StoreGrid client. StoreGrid gives you the option to choose to backup your exchange database whichever way you want.

StoreGrid provides three types of backup for Exchange Server: Full, Incremental Log and Differential Log.

Full Backup : A full backup is a complete backup of the selected databases and all necessary log files. Once full backup completes, all log files older than the time when full backup started would be deleted. Database (EDB+STM) files and Log files will be backed up in the Full backup by backing up the entire database and all the log files, and then purging the log files.

Synthetic Full backup : In Synthetic Full backup schedule, StoreGrid client will dump the Exchange Server database and log files to the local dump location (just like it does during the first full backup). Also, while uploading dump data to the backup server, StoreGrid client will upload only the changed data (in dump data files) with respect to the latest Full or Synthetic Full Backup to the backup server. Exchange Server log files will be purged on completion of the Synthetic Full Backup schedule [similar to the Full Backup schedule], so it will help to avoid frequent full backup, helping in reduction of bandwidth usage.

Incremental Log Backup : An incremental log backup backs up only the log files since the last full or incremental backup. Once an incremental backup completes, all log files older than the time when incremental backup started would be deleted. Incremental backups are quick and they do delete old portions of the transaction logs.

Differential Log Backup : A differential backup backs up only the log files since the last full backup even when the last backup was an incremental backup. The difference between the incremental and differential backup is that differential backups do not purge or truncate the transaction logs.

We recommend the following steps for configuring Exchange Server and Exchange Mailbox backups in StoreGrid.

1. Usually it is not enough to just backup mailboxes alone. It is recommended that you always configure the Exchange Server Information Storage Group for backups. You can have additional mailbox backups under the ‘MailBox Store’ so that you get additional granularity during restores wherein you can restore only a mailbox that is required.

2. If you just configure only mailbox backups and not configure the full storage group, then if your full exchange server crashes then you may find it difficult to restore your exchange server. StoreGrid Exchange Mailbox backup was designed to facilitate easy backup and fast restore of individual mailboxes.

3. The best practice is to configure storage group backups and then configure additional mailbox backups for quick restores. Also for mailbox backups it is better to configure only critical mailboxes and not all mailboxes for backups to reduce time and bandwidth.

4.  You can configure the exchange server backup as per your wish. Normally we recommend to configure the exchange server backup depending on the size. If the exchange server data size is huge then configure full backup once in 4 months, Synthetic backup on ‘every month’ and the incremental backup ‘daily’.

About the Author: Vidhya Natarajan is a Senior Associate, Product Marketing at Vembu Technologies, a leader in providing cost effective, hybrid (on-premise and cloud) data protection and business focused online backup and disaster recovery solutions for ISPs, MSPs, VARs, Managed Hosting Providers and Educational Institutions. Vembu’s flagship product, StoreGrid, an award winning cloud solution has delivered tangible value to over 3,500 partners worldwide.

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