What is the preferred MS Exchange Backup method? The documentation for 6.0 and 6.5 don't provide a best practices guideline.
NetBackup 6.0, Windows 2003, Exchange 2003.
It looks like I want separate policies for the mailboxes and databases, but what should they be so that I'm backup up all necessary data?
You should run an Information Store backup. With Exchange 2003, if you need to restore a mailbox/mail, you ca restore an Information Store database to the Recovery Storage Group, and then extract the mails. No need for mailbox specific backups anymore.
I think there is only one method to backup exchange over NBU directly, an other way can be with some script who use the exchange utils and dump the DB to a folder and then you backup this, but this is totaly not recommended.
I agree, that you should backup MS Exchange 2003 Information Store databases. To make the restore easier it is beter to have more Exchange databases. You have to restore whole database in order to extract particular mailbox, so if you have more smaler databases, you only need to restore that database.
Exchange backup via MAPI is very slow, but to restore a particular e-mail or mailbox takes less time, than restoring whole database to Recovery Storage Group and then extracting that e-mail. So if you have few important maiboxes (i.e. CEO's) you can prepere backup policy for that maiboxes an backup them via MAPI. That way you will be able to restore CEO's e-mail very quickly
with 6.5.3 new feature for Exchange is going to be added. i.e single pass backup and granular level restore.
you can backup information store and restore a mail.
as of now below is the doc which gives the best practises for Exchange server backup.