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Mailbox(es) Backup VERY Slow

Level 4
I've already spent HOURS troubleshooting this issue, have logged one support call and spent time with a 'technician' on the phone, but still no resolution. here's the deal, it seems to be a common one.

running bews 10d, sav 10, smse 4.6

when backing up the mailboxes (not the information store), the throughput throttles down to less than 1mb/min or hangs. oftentimes i can backup individual mailboxes successfully, but if i try to do them all (20), it invariably hangs.

i've already been referred to (or tried myself) the following tech docs:

symantec 2001010813441454
veritas 264851
veritas 238618
veritas 267437
veritas 275013

in fact, this last one seems to be the best fit. except that it suggests that i disable virus scanning via the registry, and that's just plain ridiculous.

i've searched and read several threads here, but they only seem to offer the following suggestions:
- turn off anti-virus scanning (kind of defeats the purpose of having AV)
- make sure all occurrences of outlook are closed (this will never happen)
- ask veritas/symantec for this 'enhancement' (having products of the same company effectively work together hardly seems to me an 'enhancement', but rather something that should be fundamental)

my question for you veritas/symantec tech support is this: is there a solution to this problem, a problem that others have as well, that doesn't involve disabling anti-virus scanning?

thank you,


Level 4
another day dawns with still no response from symantec/veritas. it took them 7 days to respond to my first post, it is now a week since their last, only, and somewhat lame post.

let's see ... at a response of 1x per week, this issue may be resolved by the time new versions of backup exec come out. which will, of course, spawn all sorts of new threads with 'feature' problems.

symantec/veritas techs, i eagerly await your reply ...

and lest this deteriorate to mere diatribes by me, thank you to all who've joined this discussion. i hope we can find some solution regardless of whether or not symantec/veritas deigns to join.

douglas and craig, are you guys running SMSE? if so, what version?



Level 4
Since this seems to be and ongoing issue with no end in sight I had a thought. Most of time as admin's is spent planning, implementing and fixing if necessary. Sometime you have to think out side of the box. Or in this case not just rely on one product do the job. I.E. Backupexec.

As Ken Putnam stated earlier doing an individual mailbox backup is slow and not useful during disaster recovery such as recovering an entire server. Ross and Alvin pointed out that due certain individuals and/or the nature of their business individual mailbox backup is a necessary evil. I'm not even going to broach the subject of the reliability of the individual mailbox backups from a restore point of view.

It doesn't seem like this is going to resolved any time soon. So I would like to suggest this "work around". This will only be a viable option if you are running Exchange 2003 SP1 and have sufficient hard drive storage.

Perform only information store backups only. When you need to restore and individual email use the Recovery Storage Group option in Exchange. There are more steps involved than just select one email from a mailbox and clicking restore but it is a relatively simple operation. Plus it is a function already built into Exchange (free).

quoting from MS

The Recovery Storage Group feature is not intended for use in disaster recovery operations that involve multiple servers or multiple storage groups. It is intended as a substitute in situations where previously, an alternative forest recovery server was required. Use the Recovery Storage Group feature in recovery situations where both the following conditions are true:
The logical information in Active Directory about the storage group and its mailboxes is intact and unchanged.
You want to recover data from a single mailbox, a single database, or a group of databases that are in a single storage group. For example, you can use a Recovery Storage Group to recover items that were deleted and purged from a user's mailbox, or you can use a Recovery Storage Group to restore or to repair a copy of an alternative database while another copy of the database remains in production.

You have the ability to decrease you backup window plus recover individual emails if necessary.

Let me know if this helps.

Level 4

i appreciate your effort and your thoughts. your work-around suggestion is a good one, but somewhat beside the point. and i don't mean to just quibble about something in principle.

i already do information store backups and have covered myself that way. the throughput is great, i've never had any issue with it. it really isn't a question of 'can i restore messages if i have to?', because the answer is 'yes, of course i can - given the time'.

it's more of the issue that here we have a feature in bews that isn't working and that symantec/veritas isn't helping with. the greater emphasis on the lack of functionality not the lack of support (though by my postings i'm sure you can tell i find it appalling).

so, thank you for your concern and suggestions. i'll check out the ms article in the event i have to restore via the Recovery Storage Group feature. however i'm going to continue to try and get this thing to work how it's supposed to.

may all our setups function as well as yours.


Level 4
Good luck,

I understand your point and agree completely. The situation needs to be fixed. You aren't the only one out there. But I don't see fix coming anytime soon. So as I suggested it's just a "work around" until a fix is developed.

7 day response time in this forum is pretty poor. I really don't feel any love flowing thru these threads. If it wasn't for the really veteran users (I'm not one) this forum would be worthless. 99% of the Tech's postings are like FAQ responses.

Do you have an active support agreement? If so, are they not of any help?

BTW In response to the earlier inquiry I am running 4.6 of SMSE plus SAV corp v10.0.0.2.

Level 4
i do have an active support agreement, though i wish i could escalate immediately. anytime i get a technician (and i use that term warily), we have to go through the same questions on their check list. also, they suggest that i disable my antivirus program and see if that changes things. even if that did work, it's no kind of solution at all.

do you disable your av?


Level 4
Nope. Never have.

Not to play devil's advocate but have you ever tried disabling it?

Level 4
briefly, for about half an hour. and throughput wasn't noticeably better.

i've a thought. im going to get very detailed about how i've configured SAV and SMSE and see if we've got them doing the same thing. i'll post when i've gathered that info.

you up for it?

Level 4
post away. I'm game.

Level 2
Ross and Douglas,

LOL, I too am using SAV and Symantec Mail Security, maybe the combination of all this software is the cause, even though it's all made by the same company!! :)

I also called their technical support line about this issue, and they too suggested to disable the AV. That gave me a good chuckle when he told me to do that. I don't think anyone wants to be without AV for 20+ hours... :)

I'm also open to sharing information to how everything is configured too. I'm followed every technote on SAV's setup on Exchange server, I don't think I've done much with SMSE though..


Level 3
Good Morning All:

New day same story......the sun is out, its a beautiful day, and the mailbox backups run slow...

In regards to Anti Virus, we use McAfee Virus Scan Enterprise V8.0, and yes we have disabled it for a short time, and it made no effect on the total time.

It seems we all configured somewhat simaliarly and suffer the same ills....

I ageee with Ross, we have a contract with Veritas/Symantec and it still takes hours to get through the nonsense. What really burns me sometimes is that the technician tells me his shift ends and we can continue tomorrow, and email him the logs for him to review....Dealing with the technicians on the other side of the world is just not right......

For the amount of money we spend on the software plus the licenses/agents they should be more worried about us then going home....I get wife loves it.... $$$

At least transfer the support group back to the U.S., so we are all on the same time zones...

Since Ross' wek is almost up and tomorrow is Friday, maybe it will be our lucky day and we get an actual response and ANSWER/FIX/SOLUTION to our problem.....


Level 6
Forgive me for jumping in again, at this late date, but by the nature of the kludge that Veritas came up with to do Brick Level backups, they will never be remotely close the the speed of a Stores backup.

The way that they are done, the BackupExec service account logs into an Outlook session, then attaches to the first mailbox, then opens and reads each item in the mailbox using standard MAPI calls . (This is why Outlook must be installed on the media server to do BrickLevel backups.) The mailbox us then disconnected, the next mailbox is attached etc.

Veritas does provide to help you determine what a " reasonable completion time of an individual mailbox backup" is for your environment.

I'm not sure if any of us would actually call the result "reasonable", but it is the best that you can expect using the Veritas/Symantec solution.

Level 4
thanks, ken. and true. please jump in whenever you like.

i've seen (and heard) symantec/veritas's view on the subject. i have an undestanding of how the brick level backup works and why it will never approach the store throughput. it's to be expected.

that being said, odd things still stand: why could i get 119MB/min once, and then NEVER again? why was craig's working just fine, and now isn't? why don't symantec/veritas techs reply (this last one is rhetorical only and thrown in there to stay consistent with my previous posts)?

and, just to mix it up even more, there are times when i can backup one mailbox and it gives me the fast throughput, sometimes even 2 mailboxes. but eventually, the job hangs and therefore times out.

craig, have you tried backing up just 1 mailbox? i've done it, in the middle of the day with a 3GB mailbox and it's worked just fine. though not consistently. i can try it again - later, right away, doesn't seem to matter - and sometimes it works, sometimes it fails.


Level 3

Please jump in anytime, we value your assistance in resolving our issues.

I did look at the article you provided regarding and we do run PST's for all of our users mailboxes to help keep the size of our Exchange server smaller. Our PST's total run around 300 GBs, where as our mailboxes are at approximate 55 GBbs.

In running the test as mentioned in the article I am not sure if it would correlate to us, as you can see our PST's are huge.

I have not performed the test as prescribed.

At one time our mailbox backups were 4 times as fast as we are running now.

So we running good for a long time then POOF, the snails came to visit. all configurations were double checked to make sure noting had changed.

I am actually running one of the daily mailbox backups now, during normal daily network traffic, and we are running around 17 - 21 MB/min, at this rate it will take around 21 -24 hours to backup 53 GBs.


Level 4
a great deal of my frustration is the apparent "randomness" of the problem or its solution.

and the apparent "randomness" of symantec/veritas tech support.


Level 3

Have tried only 1 mailbox and same results as you.

I would hate to try and backup 250 individual users mailboxes one at a time.

No need to be rhetorical, be consistant !!!!! Keep it up as we both seem to wait for Veritas to help....


Level 3
I do not know if this will help or not, but here is more information for what it's worth. We have a very weak media server, P3, 384MB of RAM IBM netstation. The tape drive is a Certance LTO-2 on a SCSI controller. Our email server is a DELL PE 1400SC with 2GB RAM and a large mirrored SATA volume for the mailbox data, a SCSI drive for the exchange logs, and a 2nd SCSI drive for the OS. We get 60.6MB per minute doing a full backup of the mailboxes in about 4 hours. It takes about 40 minutes to do the daily incremental on the same set of mailboxes (much lower throughput due to only getting changed messages, but having to check all of them). We do not have Outlook on the media server (someone mentioned that it is required on the media server to do mailbox level backups, which is not the case).

Level 4
thanks for contributing, william.

how much data are you backing up (i know, i know, i could do the math)? also, are you running antivirus or mail security apps?

i'm just about at the end of the day and won't be back until tuesday. i'll check in then and i hope to share my config data then as well.

thanks everyone for your contributions. except you, symantec/veritas techs. you'd have to contribute first. or at least respond. or let us know you're out there. maybe you're like santa clause or the easter bunny ... but i digress.


Level 3
Or the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow........

Level 3
Wow. And I thought I was getting slow mailbox backups. I have the same setup as you folks but I get about 85 throughput consistantly on my mailbox backups and I was complaining my mialboxes took 8 hours for 52Gb. I'll just thank my lucky stars and move along... :)

Level 6
As I wrote already several times here in this forum, I had extremely slow mailbox backups, too.
It needed almost the whole week.
I abandoned it completely and stay with just the storage group backup.
In the very rare case I have to restore a message older than 90 days, I have to restore the storage group to an exchange server I have left over. It could also be done with a restore group, but because I have that server I use it.
'Normal' exchange backup runs with ~ 1200MB and so does restore.
Backup is divided into 14 groups and the largets one is ~80GB, so I could restore it in little over one hour. This is sufficient for us.