Details of Exchange 2007 SP2 in-box backup when running on Windows Server 2008

Published May 13 2009 04:51 PM 5,081 Views

There has surely been enough discussion on this blog (and other community sites) how Windows Server Backup on Windows Server 2008 does not provide any out-of-the-box functionality to backup Exchange 2007. Some examples on our blog are here and here, but there were a ton of related comments on other relatively unrelated blog posts as well. There was no lack of opinions on the subject!

As we mentioned in our announcement of Exchange 2007 Service Pack 2— we are going to ship the backup plug-in with Exchange 2007 SP2. We wanted to share some additional details around what we are shipping:

  • The backup integration will enable Windows Server Backup to backup Exchange data. Note that there is no specific "Exchange only" granularity when you are backing things up. In other words, the backup is volume-based. If Exchange data is on C: drive, backing up the C: drive will also give you an Exchange-aware backup of Storage Groups located on that drive (and purge the transaction logs from all backed up Storage Groups if backup completed successfully). As such, there is not much visual indication that Exchange is being backed up, except for the following:

  • Only VSS backups are supported. There is no support for streaming backups
  • You can backup either to a local hard drive or a network share
  • There is no remote server backup functionality
  • The plug-in supports only full backups of the active copy (if you are using continuous replication).
  • When restoring, you do not have to restore the whole backed up volume, but can choose to restore only Exchange application data :

    Followed by:

  • Recovery can be done either in-place or out of place. In-place recovery will restore all of the backed up storage groups to their original location, and perform a recovery automatically (by default). This implies that there is no explicit support for Recovery Storage Groups (RSG). In order to use a RSG, you should restore "out of place", which will restore the data to an alternate location. Then specific files required can be placed into a RSG (which can be created by following this procedure).
  • You will be able to open different "backup sets", even if they were created on servers different than the one where you are restoring.

Detailed documentation will be available when SP2 ships. Although this backup solution does not provide all of the functionality that's available when Exchange 2007 is installed on Windows Server 2003— it does cover the main scenarios that a smaller organization would require (and even larger organizations could use in a pinch), and of course, will be provided at no additional cost.

Thank you for all the relentless feedback that you gave us on the subject. It is safe to say that your feedback was directly related to us doing this work!

- Nino Bilic

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Wooohooo!!! You mean our "feedback" (aka - relentless bitching) was actually used to justify this?!?!!??

That's fantastic news! Thanks again to the entire Exchange team for listening and going above and beyond to explain what is and isn't included in Exchange and more importantly  - why!
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Thank you thank you thank you!
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Nice... we already use 3rd party backup apps but we still frequently used ntbackup in Exch2003 for our testing labs and in production for emergency backups when things weren't working and of course for troubelshooting.
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Thanks for listening to our relentless feedback. We'll continue to provide feedback, relentlessly, if you promise to continue listening.
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Its cool that you finally provide this option to backup exchange from 2008.

But I still think that you are forcing people to use a 3rd party backup utility.

The old NTBackup is still much more flexable than this new windows backup.

Why on earh would micosoft create a new tool with less functionallity?
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@Mr. Jackson, me being the cynic, would think it has something to do with DPM, I am sure they were under strict orders not to make this plugin too good (which it isn't).
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I noticed that Windows Server 2008 R2 RC (Build 7100) is not Exchange 2010-aware.
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I think they have some kind of secret agreement/fight with Veritas to phase out ntbackup? Or indeed DPM? You can however still use ntbackup on 2008 easily... Btw the Remote Storage Service to drive tapes ed is also gone. Why don't the mention this on the 2008 feature sheet
-Greatly reduced backup/restore functionality!

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Ah! atlast we are safe installing RU alteast for some time. A huge relief from RU issues.
Thanks a lot NINO and the entire Exchange Team
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I don't see what's new comparing to ntbackup...
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Does this mean that there will be no incremental backups of Exchange data allowed?
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I think its quite rediculous that it has taken this long to get a feature included for a product like Exchange 07.

I see people mentioning ntbackup. The old ntbackup program was licensed from Veritas and I image that the Veritas aquistition
by Symantec pretty much ended that deal. That being said,
I'm looking forward to Windows 2008 R2.

Backup Exec is such bloatware it isnt even funny.
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Wooohooo, way to finally put an integral feature back into my mail server! It's unfortunate that it doesn't have any flexibility. Maybe for Windows Server 2010 / Exchange Server 2010 you can reintroduce NTBackup?
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oh yeah, i am waiting for this function for a long time~when does it release?
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It's much better than the nothing we had before, but not as good as NTBackup.
Ans remember how we hated NTBackup?
Since MS seems to want to sell us as many separate products and as many servers as possible these days, unless we want to go around trying to unbundle SBS, it's probably inevitable that we will continue to get less features in each version.
Well done everyone for bitching, and the Exchange team for listening!
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Since the MS Exchange team is listening to user users how about creating a snap in for Mailboxes to use in AD Users & Computers? Guys you should check out Exchange Tasks 2007 from U-BTech.

I would have preferred MS added this feature rather than backup support under 08 that's pretty basic and really not much use to me.

Perhaps they'll add it in SP3.
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Any chance you could make the wbadmin be able restore to any size disk as long as it is XGBs larger then the original data size instead of the size of the original partition? Or just present a warning that must be accepted before you begin the restore


I wasted 10 hours for a simple restore because the new disk controller partitioned the disk array ~12mb less then the original array. That "feature" of wbadmin gets a big WTF in my book.

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Are you kidding? You announced this addon last year at teched, and after a year the result is this one?
Please, make a REAL addon available very soon, thank you.
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Well, it's nice that you at least gave as the possibility to backup  Exchange 2007 without buying additional products, but this still won’t make me upgrade to Windows Server 2008 and Exchange 2007. I will stay on Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 until you came up with a proper backup utility, like the NTBackup is.
The actual Windows Server Backup is a sad joke!
Because of this lack of "NTBackup" functionality you are losing me as an Windows Server 2008 and Exchange 2007 customer! You do the math if this was a good management decision.

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Why have we gone backwards here?
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I agree with CMollica. This plugin is not even close to usefull.

I urge you to present a decent backup utility.

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Are you kidding me Marius?  You are actually blaming your decision to stick with an old product on not being able to back up with a built in sub-standard utility?  I'm guessing you're that same guy that has all XP RTM workstations because SP2 is the devil... if you've upgraded from 2000 that is.
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