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GRT Backup of Exchange 2010 (1 problem and 1 question)

Level 3

I have to admit I was a little confused about the size of the backups created by BE2014 on our Exchange 2010 server. I recently have been doing some house cleaning and came back around to this issue. 

Our exchange DB is 532GB, but when I backed it up with GRT enabled I was getting backups sized at 950 GB. Slowing down to investigate I think I understand that a 400GB (file folder) is being created that contains the granular restore data (mailboxes, cals, individual emails etc) and then there is the 532GB exchange DB. When performing a restore you are given the option of either a GRT or complete restore and each of the two DB items are selected depending on which operation. Light bulb came on and I'm pretty sure I understand the operation. While I appercitate GRT and have used it, I'm really torn about having to backup the data twice. 

What I have noticed on occasion is that normally the backup for exchange with GRT is 950GB (or so), but occasionally, the size drops to around the 530GB mark. I look at the contents details and see both databases but the GRT one that is usually around 400GB is only 1GB or so. If I look at the mailbox details, not all of the elements are there. Normally there are about 16 Message folders in a full snapshot. In this case there various numbers of folders (1 to 4 or 5) and seem to contain only events (emails etc) of that day. 

Oddly the jobs shows that it completed normally and was cataloged correctly. A deeper look at the logs appears to me that it is really only checking the actual Exchange DB (Infostor) and not the GRT DB so no errors are reported. 

Bottom line is I am trying to figure out why the occasional GRT DB problem and while I am here does anyone have a better suggestion for Exchnage BU.. 

Currently, we perform 

Daily (Mon - Thurs) a GRT enabled Backup to Disk 

Weekly - A GRT enabled backup to tape (5 week cycle)

Monthly - A GRT enabled backup to tape (12 month cycle)

My tape subsystem is old and failing more often so I started this project looking to see if I could just use a B2D solution. At a TB per backup .. the answer is no.. 

Sorry for the long post and the twofer on the questions. Hoping someone can offer a solution and advice. 


P.S. We are transitioning to Office 365, so at some point Exchange wont be an issue, but for now.. I have to continue on. 





Employee Accredited Certified

something wrong here - GRT does not need you to backup the data twice - you can restore either the whole database OR the individual mail messages from the single backup set (which should be in a single IMG folder for a full backup anyway)


The backup job log should only show one iteration of the  mailbox database being backed up and you should only have one job running.

Also the EDB files etc should be automatically excluded from the backup via the drive letter, as such if you are doing both a mailbox database backup and a driver letter backup and belive that the EDB files are being backed up via the driver letter backup then Automatic File Exclusion may not be working.

BTW to get your exchange backups  on tape you should be duplicating the weekly or monthly disk based ones and not running separate original backups (although if you only run full backups this is potentially less of a problem

Note: please be aware that a GRT job on tape requires a staging area of at least the size of the mailbox database in order to do a GRT restore and that the disk one just uses the disk directly for a GRT restore so does not need staging.




Thank you for the reply. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is what I am seeing in my Exchange backup

As mentioned, I am seeing two DB's The 532GB is what is selected if I try to restore "Server Database or Storage Group" and the 414GB (File Folder) is what is selected if I do a "Mailbox Items" restore. Also of note, This image is from one of the jobs that where all of the message folders are saved. 

I can also pull the actual job description I am using to create this BU if that would shed any light on the subject


BUE Exchange.jpg

Employee Accredited Certified

If you look at the properties of that backup set (or the job log for the job that created it) it will give you an IMG folder name which you can then look for in Windows Explorer on your disk - check the size of what is in the IMG folder to compare with the size of your exchange database

Property size of that backup set is 951GB (verified on the property page of the job and the Backup to Disk details of backup sets) 

The actual size of the EDB file is 532GB (as verified on the Exchange server) 

[OOPS... I needed to read more carefully... I will try to find the image folder name and verify the size you suggested.. give me a minute .. ]




There are two Image folders. One contains the mailbox database file (532GB) and the other contains the public folder database (776MB)


Finally here is an image of the job desc

Not sure its important but 

C is the system drive, G is just a temp drive, H is the Nimble mount with the Exchange DB, and I is the Nimble mount with the Exchange logs

As you can see, none of the drives are selected. The only selection is the MS Information Store and it is partial because we are leaving out the TMPPFD folder. 



BUE ExchJob.jpg

Employee Accredited Certified

Ok that is correct as you have  databases (mailbox and public folder) so 2x IMG - the total of the 2 is also about 533GB and not over 900GB so what the console in BE is shjowing you and what is actually happening to your disk space are two different things


Thank you for the assitance. 

Not sure why BE is showing double the space but after validating the sizes that you pointed out it appears that the size of data on the disk is realatively close to the size reported by BE divided by 2. 

Not what I was hoping for, but at least it somewhat explains the issue.