Forum Discussion

Philip_Horan's avatar
18 years ago

Differential How To's

Hi guys. I have been revising my company�s backup strategy and concluded that a Brick Level Exchange backup to tape was pointless (not enough space + took toooooo long).

However I have decided to have a go at backing up the mailboxes to disc as a compromise.

So I have created two network shares on a NAS device:
Exchange Mailbox Full
Exchange Mailbox Differential

I have created two 'Backup to disc Folders' within Veritas Devices mapping to the relevant share.

I have created two additional Jobs:
Exchange Mailbox Full:
Backs up To Disc Folder :Exchange Mailbox Full
Scheduled to run on a Sunday

The second job is the differential backup.
Exchange Mailbox Differential:
Backs up To Disc Folder :Exchange Mailbox Differential
Scheduled to run on a Monday-Friday

Now I have never configured a differential backup before so would appreciate some guidance.

On the Settings Tab I have selected:
Backup Method: Differential - Changed Files

Exchange Server Backup Method: Differential - logs
Mailbox backup method: Back up changed messages.

Question 1: Are the above settings correct?
Question 2: Is it necessary to spilt the backups to their own 'Back up to disc' folders?

Tips advice most welcome. Sorry for the length of this post, wanted to give you gurus as much information as possible.

3 Replies

  • Yes that config looks OK to me. I don't think you need to have multiple backup to disk folders for the different jobs, but since you've only got two jobs, and it won't make a difference to the space used I'd probably go the same route as you have, just so it's easier to keep track of what's going where.

    However, firstly you're getting your terms confused. A brick level backup is exactly what you're proposing above, it relates to the fact that you're backing up each individual item (hence the brick metaphor), rather than the Exchange Information Store as a whole.

    Secondly, I really wouldn't recommend only doing a brick level backup of your data. If you have to choose between a proper Information Store backup or a mailbox backup due to space or time, you should go for the Information Store option as that's the only one of any use to use if you have to do a full disaster recovery type restore.

    Additionally, if you're using Exchange 2003, if you ever need to recover a single mailbox or mailbox item you can use the new Restore Storage group to recover the data without effecting your existing data.

    Finally, if you're only doing mailbox backups, with no backups of your Information Store, as far as Exchange is concerned it will never be backed up (mailbox backups are not considered a backup by Exchange), therefore the logs will never be flushed, so they'll just keep growing.
  • Thanks Keith. Even with a long post I did not explain myself properly! :)

    I back up to tape on a daily basis.
    Monday = Weekly 30 Tape Rotation)
    Tuesday - Friday Daily (8 tape / 2 week cycle)

    I backup the IS + Storage groups to tape but not the mailboxes, that is why I thought I might do the Brick Level backup of the mailboxes to disc. If this is pointless I will stop.

    I have set each Mailbox Store to retain deleted mail items for 7 days. I have tweaked the client registry to allow users to recover individual mail items from the Sent Items folder, the Drafts folder, the Outbox folder, and the Inbox folder (see

    We have Exchange 2003 Enterprise installed. Basically if I can recover an individual mailbox by backing up only the IS + Storage Groups then this suits me fine.

    Can you advise a link to explain recovery of an individual mailbox?
    My predecessor created 4 Storage Groups, each containing multiple mailbox stores and then multiple mailboxes.

    If I need to restore say Mailbox 50 from Storage Group 1 in Mailbox Store 3 what would be the process?
    Many Thanks,
  • Well comments I've read have said that there is no longer any point in doing mailbox backups, but having not yet done a recovery storage group restore myself I can't be sure how easy it is to do compared to a mailbox recovery. If you've got enough time and storage to do both then personally I'd do so... after all you can never have too many ways to restore your data.

    I believe the basic process would be that you choose the storage group that you need to restore, and then set the restore job to redirect it to the recovery storage group. Once that's restored I imagine it's just a simple job to assign a new user to use the required group within exchange so you can access the information that's required, and move it where it is needed. It might be even easier, but there should be plenty of documentation about it within Exchange 2003 docs. I think the main thing is that rather than restoring mailbox 50 specifically, you would be restoring the entire mailbox store 3, then once that's restored you would pull out mailbox 50 and leave the rest.

    Hope that helps