I'm not an exchange admin so i apoligize for any lingo missteps, etc..
My company is doing Exchange 2013 CCR/DAG with a production and a DR site.
Currently we are backing up passive copies of exchange @ our DR site with Netbackup. Doing a non GRT backup with daily DIFF and weekly FULL approach, with 90 days retention, all on disk, no tape out.
We have dialed up retention for the users to 5GB per mailbox, and have 14 days of recovery enabled natively in Exchange. Most of our end user driven restores are handled without ever needing to go to netbackup. We are considering extending the native recovery in Exchange to 45 or maybe 90 days with the end game of not backing up Exchange anymore.
I'm curious if any others have moved away or are considering moving away from backing up exchange?
[Disclosure - I support the Exchange agent in NetBackup.]
Microsoft has been saying you don't need external backup of databases in a DAG since Exchange 2010. In addition to having a 14 day or longer ability for users to recover their own deleted mail, you can have passive copies of your databases that lag behind the active and more up-to-date passive copies. You can have passive copies of your databases in a second data center.
However, that doesn't cover every need you might have to recover Exchange data. You may need to recover mail that's been deleted for more than 14 (or 45) days. What is your plan for legal compliance or other audit? What if you find a business or legal need to recover an e-mail conversation from last spring?
I'll be interested in seeing how this community of users and consultants answers your question.
These days you don't really back up to restore entire databases for operational purposes, as there are many safeguards that make operational restores easier and faster than going back to backup storage and pulling data from there.
The real reasons are the threats of total data loss which come from the fact that based on its track record, Windows is like a swiss cheese with many security holes and it's just matter of time when next virus will be smart enough to encrypt everyting in Exchange or just delete data at the database level and propagate it through the DAG, that is one of drivers but there are many more, such as bit rot on disk arrays which may lead to proliferation of hidden corruption, simple things like erorrs in code that corrupt data logically etc.
we have a defined retention for email of 90 days, and that is in place today and a part of our procedures documentation approved by audit. So when someone requests an email from "last Spring" we tell them sorry, don't have it...unless "last Spring" was less than 90 days ago.