How to Backup Exchange 2010 RTM at Release Timeframe

Friday, October 30, 2009

As with any other major release of Exchange, there will be a gap in third-party vendor support for Exchange 2010 when it is released to general availability next month.

One of those gaps will be supported backup solutions for Exchange 2010.  Thankfully, Microsoft recognized this and added VSS backup support to the built-in Windows Server Backup feature in both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.  This capability has been introduced in Exchange 2007 SP2 and Exchange 2010 RTM, allowing you to backup Exchange 2007 SP2 and Exchange 2010 using a native VSS application provider.

Exchange automatically registers its application provider in VSS when Exchange 2010 is installed or when the Exchange 2007 server is upgraded to SP2.  This happens even if the Windows Server Backup feature isn't installed on the server yet.  You simply need to add the Windows Server Backup feature using Server Manager to your Exchange server to enable the Exchange aware VSS backup capability. 

Windows Server Backup (WSB) will allow you to perform Exchange aware backups, similar to NTBackup, with a few notible points:
  • Legacy (streaming) backups are not supported.
  • Since Windows Server Backup performs volume-only Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) backups, there is no specific "Exchange only" backup capability.  When you perform a backup of a volume that contains Exchange data (EDB and log files), WSB automatically performs an Exchange aware backup.  The only visual queue you will see is this, just before the data is backed up:
 
  • Once WSB notifies Exchange that the VSS Full Backup has completed successfully, Exchange will truncate the log files for all the Exchange 2010 databases or Exchange 2007 SP2 Storage Groups.
Note: The default behavior of WSB is to perform a VSS Copy Backup, which will not truncate the logs. To configure a VSS Full Backup you must configure a Custom backup (not Full Server), add the volumes that contain the Exchange data, click Advanced Settings, and select VSS Full Backup on the VSS Settings tab.
  • Backups must be run against the active node on Database Availability Groups (DAGs) or the active node in an Exchange 2007 CCR cluster.  When the backups complete successfully and the logs are truncated on the active node, the same operation will occur on the passive node.
  • You can backup either to a local hard drive or a network share
  • There is no remote server backup functionality. You must perform the backup from the Exchange server.
  • You can schedule the backups using WSB or install the WSB command line extensions to run a backup from the command line.
  • When restoring, you do not have to restore the whole backed up volume. You can choose to restore only Exchange application data by choosing to recover only the Exchange application, as shown:

And then select Exchange:


  • Recovery can be performed to the original location (overwriting the existing data) or to a new folder or location.  If you choose to recover to another location, WSB will copy just the application data, not recover the Exchange application itself.  You can then use this data in an Exchange 2010 Recovery Database (RDB) or an Exchange 2007 Recovery Storage Group (RSG).
  • You can redirect the restore of an Exchange application to another server.
  • Microsoft Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010 is also in beta and is available for download.
In a future article, I will explain the process of using an Exchange 2010 Recovery Database (RDB) to recover data from a backup set.