Wednesday, 28 May 2014
5/28/2014 11:45:00 pm 0

How to perform Backup of Exchange data?

Exchange is developed by Microsoft. It works as a client server collaborative application. It provides calendaring, E mailing and management capabilities.

It stores its mailbox data in EDB database. It is always a wise choice to take regular backups of the Exchange data. So that, in any case the database gets corrupt then you can recover it from the recent backup and thus, can avoid critical data loss situations.

What is Exchange Backup file?

The Exchange Backup file is a copy of exchange database files. The Backup file contains the .edb, .stm, and .log files of Exchange server.

Types of Exchange Backup:
  • Online backup
  • Offline Backup
Online backup: While taking online backup of the exchange data, you don’t need to take the server down, it’s still functioning. Thus users can continue working and transactions can go on without interruption and the backup process can go side by side. After completion of the online backup, the database logs are cleared automatically.
  • You don’t need to dismount the Exchange Information Store.
  • You don’t need to shutdown Exchange server and related services.
  • While online backup process the databases pages/blocks are checked for the correct value of checksums. If any mismatch is found or any file-system level corruption is detected then, the backup process will be terminated automatically.
The Event Viewer indicates the backup process failure and contains the page read error event that occurs due to wrong checksum or Exchange store corruption.

One common page read error is: checksum1018 JET_errReadVerifyFailure).

If the online backup fails then take offline backup of the Exchange data.

Offline backup of data: If your backup software doesn’t support APIs for taking online backup then, you need to take offline backup of the Exchange data. Public Folder or Mailbox stores are back up using the COPY procedures. This type of backup let you restore the Exchange database to a specific point in time or last known state. While the backup process if going on, the users cannot access their mailboxes.

In case of Offline backup of data:
  • You need to shut down the Exchange Information Store and related services. If you want to backup the log files only, then there is no need to stop the Information Store services.
  • You need to dismount the Exchange 2000/2003 mailbox and public folder stores
There are some more comparative points that make offline backup a better choice than the offline process. In case of online backup the transaction Log files (that are already written to the database files) are automatically purged once the backup process is done but doesn’t happen in case of Offline backup of data. As the copy procedures are applies to copy the Public Folder or Mailbox stores to/from backup location, there are more chances of database corruption. Also the offline backup process doesn’t detect any database corruption. So at the last of backup, it’s not sure that you are going to get a healthy database, you can also end up with a corrupt database and backup sets that is of no use.

How to perform Backup of Exchange data?

There can be three possible methods to Backup Exchange data:
  • using NT-Backup tool
  • using Windows Server backup
  • using a third-party backup tool
Method 1: Using NT-Backup tool

The Exchange backup is different from a normal windows backup. It is stored with a .bkf extension and consists of the Exchange .edb, .stm, and .log files.

Windows operating system provides NTBACKUP tool to backup the Exchange database. NT-Backup tool is included with Windows® XP, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows Server™ 2003 and it can back up all versions of Exchange Server as well. Some users find it hard to use so they generally abandon Ntbackup in favor of third-party tools.

NTbackup is available in Exchange version 2000/2003 for the newer versions Microsoft tools and third party backup apps are required.

Before starting the backup process using NT-Backup tool, Exchange System Manager must be installed on your system, after that follow the steps given below.

Steps to take online backup of Exchange data using NTBACKUP:

1.    If NT-Backup is installed in your system ,
•    Go to Start> Run NTBACKUP.exe. Hit Enter.
•    Or   press Win+R to open command line and type “NTBACKUP” in the prompt window
•    Or if you know the exact location of NTBACKUP.exe. Simply open that and run NTBACKUP.
2.    This will open the “Welcome to the Backup or Restore Wizard page”
3.    Click Advanced Mode.
4.    Go to the Backup tab>Microsoft Exchange Server> servername
5.    Here you can see you server’s name.
6.    Expand Microsoft Information Store under servername.
7.   Now, select the checkbox corresponding to what you want to backup. It can be the entire Information Store, entire Storage Group or individual Stores
8.    Choose the Backup Destination.
9.    Give a name to your backup file. 
10.  You can either choose to append the current backup file to an existing backup file or delete the old file & replace it with the new one.
11.   Click ‘Begin backup’.
12.  Once the backup process is done, Click ‘report’ button to view the ‘backup01.log’ to check if any occurred in the backup process.
13.   If there is no error listed in the ‘backup01.log’, close the Backup Progress dialog box.
To verify that Exchange recognizes that an online backup was performed follow these steps:
  • Open Exchange System Manager.
  • Choose your server path e.g. Administrative Groups\First Administrative Group\Servers\servername\First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (servername).
  • Right click to open the properties of the Mailbox Store or the Public Store.
  • Once the Mailbox Store/Public Store properties dialog box opens go to the Database tab> Time of last full backup.
  • Ensure the entry in the ‘Time of last full backup ‘field. If it contain the time of the backup you have recently rakes. If yes, then everything is fine, your back process have been successfully accomplished and recorded.
  • Finally, click OK.
Method 2: Using Windows Server backup:

The windows server backup feature is not available in Exchange 2010 or higher case. So first install the feature on your system.

After installing windows server backup, disable the Exchange Replication Service VSS writer. Then follow the given steps to take backup using windows server backup feature
  • Login to your account on Exchange Server. Ensure that you have been granted mailbox backup and restore permissions.
  • Go to programs folder >  Windows Server Backup
  • Go to Actions> Backup Once.
  • Click ‘Different Option’
  • Click Next.
  • Select the backup type:”Full Server” or “Custom” backup
  • Click Next.
  • Browse the location to save your backup file and click Next.
  • You can choose “inherit” to give rights to all the users to access the remote folder. Click on Next.
  • Open the Advanced Options page and specify the “VSS full backup”
  • Click  Next
  • Run the backup.
  • Once the backup process id done, close the Backup Progress dialog box.
Method 3:  Using a third-party backup tool

The third party avoids the lengthy and time consuming process involved in the manual backup methods. Such tools are capable of performing the backup task efficiently in just no time.
There are third party backup tools available in market. Such as:
  • Veritas Backup Exec  version 10.0
  • BrightStor ARCserve Backup  version r11.1
  • Legato Co-StandbyServer Advanced  version 5.1
  • Symantec Backup Exec
This above described are the methods to backup Exchange data.

Suppose you have lost your Exchange data and don’t have any recent backup of your data then what will you do? It will bring you to a critical data loss situation. So, it is always recommended to take backup of your data so that if any data loss situation you can restore the data back from the backup copy.
Read the next upcoming article to know:”How to restore Exchange Server Stores from backup?”


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