Exchange configuration guide for SEP sesam Version 4.4.3.x

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Copyright © SEP AG 1999-2019. All rights reserved.

Any form of reproduction of the contents or parts of this manual is allowed only with the express written permission from SEP AG. When compiling and designing user documentation SEP AG uses great diligence and attempts to deliver accurate and correct information. However, SEP AG cannot issue a guarantee for the contents of this manual.

Icon archived docs.png This is not the latest version of SEP sesam documentation and, as such, does not provide information on features introduced in the latest release. For more information on SEP sesam releases, see SEP sesam Release Versions. For the latest documentation, check Exchange documentation.


Overview

This article describes configuration of SEP sesam Exchange Recovery Pro and Exchange backup, introduced in SEP sesam version 4.4.3. For details on any of the previous Exchange extensions, refer to previous Exchange versions.

Exchange Recovery Pro is a powerful recovery solution for Exchange that allows you to browse or search through backed-up mailboxes and emails and to restore individual emails, calendars, journals, notes, contacts and mailboxes using simple drag-and-drop functionality. Exchange Recovery Pro is only supported on Windows systems and must be installed on the system that serves as the SEP sesam Server or SEP sesam RDS. To use full Exchange Recovery Pro functionality, all SEP sesam clients using Exchange backup functionality must be updated to SEP sesam version 4.4.3.

On Linux systems, Exchange can only be restored manually using an integrated SEP sesam restore wizard in combination with Exchange Recovery Pro to recover to a live Exchange server or mailbox.

License

Exchange Recovery Pro licenses are issued for a specific number of mailboxes. Only one such license is required since it covers all the mailboxes (user and archive mailboxes) in all Exchange databases. For example, for Database Availability Groups (DAGs) environments, you only need a single Recovery Pro license that supports all your Exchange databases. The license can be installed on different SEP sesam RDS systems so as not to overload your network. Note that you will not be able to restore your data using Exchange Recovery Pro if the number of backed-up mailboxes exceeds the number of mailboxes specified in the license! For more details on licenses, see Licensing.

Configuring the Exchange Components

Prerequisites

  • SEP sesam Server or SEP sesam Remote Device Server (RDS) running on Windows x64 with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft .NET Framework installed; for details on requirements and supported Exchange versions, check SEP sesam OS and Database Support Matrix. An additional Outlook license is not required and does not need to be activated.
  • Information sign.png Note
    If Exchange Recovery Pro cannot be installed because of the missing .Net3x, and the .NET Framework 3.5 installation fails every time, log in as administrator and use Microsoft DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool to enable .NET directly from the command prompt:
    Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFX3 /All /Source:D:\sources\SxS /LimitAccess
    
    For details on using DISM, see the Microsoft article Enable or Disable Windows Features Using DISM.
  • Check Hardware requirements for SEP sesam Server or RDS.
  • A SEP sesam data store Path or SEP sesam Si3 data store is required for instant single item recovery.
  • If the backups are encrypted, compressed or stored on tape or a Linux data store, manual restore to a Windows x64 system (with installed SEP sesam Client, Exchange Recovery Pro, and Microsoft Outlook (32-bit, 2007/2010/2013)) is required.
  • Make sure that there is sufficient free space on the Windows x64 system that will be used to recover the Exchange database and corresponding transaction log files.

SEP sesam components for the Exchange environment

  • Install the latest SEP sesam Client/RDS version (≥ 4.4.3) on all Microsoft Exchange nodes with the default properties.
  • Repeat the installation procedure for Database Availability Groups (DAGs) environments (SEP sesam version ≥ 4.4.3 required).

Installing the Exchange Recovery Pro package

Information sign.png Note
It is highly recommended to install or upgrade to the version SEP Exchange Recovery PRO V7.5. Note that SEP sesam Exchange Recovery Pro V7.3 does not work on Exchange 2016!

Make sure that Microsoft Outlook (32-bit, 2007/2010/2013/2016) and SEP sesam Exchange Recovery Pro are installed on the Windows x64 system that serves as the SEP sesam Server or RDS. Outlook does not require special configuration; an additional Outlook license is not required and does not need to be activated.

  1. Download the latest SEP sesam Exchange Recovery Pro zip package from SEP Download Center – Exchange download.
  2. Extract the files to a directory of your choice. Then open the Recovery Pro directory, double-click SEP_Exchange_Recovery_PRO_<version_no>.exe and follow the instructions. If any of the required components are missing, you will be prompted to install them.

Installing the Exchange Recovery Pro license file

You need a special license file for the SEP sesam Exchange Recovery Pro feature. Licenses are made available immediately your purchase/renewal is completed.

Information sign.png Note
The license counts all the mailboxes (user and archive mailboxes) in all Exchange databases. If the number of mailboxes does not match those specified in the license, restore will not work!
  1. Go to Start -> All Programs -> Exchange Recovery Pro. The message "License file not installed" appears.
  2. Click the License info button and import the license.ini file.

Adding Exchange as a client to SEP sesam environment

Once you have installed the SEP sesam package and the required Exchange Recovery Pro license, configure Exchange as a new client by adding it to the SEP sesam environment: Main selection -> Components -> Topology -> New client -> add your Exchange client. For details, see Configuring Clients.

Information sign.png Note
Before proceeding, you should validate that you can backup to SEP sesam. Run a test Path backup manually to ensure that the backups work. For details on typical backup configuration, see Standard Backup Procedure.

Backing up Exchange

SEP sesam supports backup for Exchange Servers as well as for Exchange Server databases in a Database Availability Group (DAG) environment. Exchange DAGs are a set of of up to 16 Exchange mailbox servers that host a set of databases; they are the primary fault-tolerant mechanism, which use database replication to provide efficient recovery and ensure high availability. If you are running Microsoft Exchange in a DAG configuration, make sure to check the Prerequisites and Considerations for backing up Exchange DAG before creating a backup task and backing up any DAG.

Backup levels

Four different backup levels are available for Exchange Servers: FULL, DIFF, INCR and COPY. These levels (FULL, DIFF, INCR) are defined by Microsoft as:

  • Normal (or Full): The normal backup process backs up the directory or Exchange store in its entirety, as well as the log files. To restore from a normal backup, only one normal backup is needed. A normal backup marks the objects it has backed up so that incremental and differential backups have context. This is accomplished by backing up the entire database and all the log files, and then purging the log files.
  • Copy: The copy backup is the same as a normal backup except no marking takes place to give incremental and differential context. This means that performing an incremental backup after a copy backup is equivalent to performing it before a copy backup. Use a copy backup to get a full backup of the directory or Exchange store without disturbing the state of ongoing incremental or differential backups.
  • Incremental: An incremental backup backs up the subset of the component that has changed since the last normal or incremental backup. Then it marks these objects as backed up. To restore from incremental backups, each incremental backup since the last normal backup and the normal backup are needed. An incremental backup backs up only the log files, and then purges them.
  • Differential: A differential backup backs up changes in the directory or Exchange store that have occurred since the last normal backup. To restore from differential backups, one differential backup and one normal backup is required. A differential backup backs up only the log files but does not purge them.
Information sign.png Note
Circular logging must be disabled for INCR and DIFF backups

To perform incremental (INCR) or differential (DIFF) backups of Exchange databases, circular logging must be disabled. If circular logging is enabled, incremental or differential backups will fail and only information from in the last FULL backup can be recovered.

You select a backup level when you create a backup event (see step 11 below). Refer to Standard Backup Procedure for general details on creating a backup specification.

Considerations for backing up Exchange DAG

  • You can perform backup for any DAG member and restore your data to any DAG member. Note that as of SEP sesam Grolar, you can specify to back up only the selected nodes by adding them to the same location.
  • Follow the Microsoft’s preferred method of backing up Exchange DAG environment and replicate all active databases on only one DAG node. You should backup all passive databases only from this passive DAG node. Setting up a passive node solely for the purpose of backups help reduce the impact on your production environment.

Consider the following factors for backing up Exchange DAG with SEP sesam Grolar:

  1. Add all DAG nodes as a client. For general details, see Configuring Clients.
  2. Create a new location dedicated to DAG only and simply add all DAG nodes to the location. For details, see Configuring Location.
  3. Select a specific DAG node (e.g., the first one) and create a separate backup task for each DB. Do not repeat this step for other DAG nodes!
  4. When creating a backup task, make sure to specify the following options:
    • Set the the appropriate database copy mode for each task, for example, Passive copy preferred. Note that it is recommended to backup a passive copy only since this allows you to offload the backup process. If you are backing up an active DAG database despite the recommendation, be aware that the load on the active database will be heavily increased – a negative performance impact on the productive Exchange operation might be significant!
    • Set the option Allow to execute on any DAG host to enable running a database copy backup on any DAG host that has a required database copy.
    • For more details on the mentioned options, see section Configuring a backup task below.
  5. Create a new DAG task group and add only the DB tasks you created before to this task group. Use exclusively this task group for your DAG backups.

Prerequisites

  • Make sure the individual DAG nodes have both, a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) and a short name specified. You can add the client's short name or FQDN in the client properties, field Interfaces. For details on client properties, see Clients.
  • SEP service must be running under a domain administrator account. If the service is running under a local account, SEP sesam will not be able to back up the Exchange server data.

Configuring Exchange Server or Exchange DAG backup task

The following steps differ slightly depending on whether you are creating a task for backing up Exchange Server or a specific DAG node, check the steps and proceed accordingly.

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By clients, select your Exchange Server and click New backup task. The New backup task window opens.
  2. Enter the Task name.
  3. From the Task type drop-down list, select either Exchange Server or Exchange Server DAG depending on what you want to back up.
  4. Information sign.png Note
    As of SEP sesam Grolar, you no longer need to create a dedicated backup task for each server in the DAG; however, you have to create a separate backup task for each DB.

    Bck task exchange Grolar.jpg

  5. Specify the Source. If you want to create a task for a single database, browse and select it under Source. Note that the source path is case sensitive! Note that is you are creating a task for a DAG node (e.g., the first one), you have to create a separate backup task for each DB.
    If you select the source by browsing, the task type and task name are set automatically.
  6. If you are backing up the Exchange server, you can specify the databases which you do not want to back up in the Exclude list. Optionally, enter a comment in the Comment field.
  7. Skip the option Execution is blocked (relevant only if you want to disable execution of the already configured backup task). If you are creating a DAG-related task, select the Database state under the Exchange Server DAG settings. Skip this option when creating a task for the Exchange Server backup.
    The Exchange 2016 DAG members can host a mix of active and passive database copies. The primary copy of a mailbox database is an active copy, while secondary database copies are passive copies. You can create a backup from an active or from any passive copy within DAG. However, it is recommended to backup only passive copy to avoid negative performance impact on productive Exchange operation.
    The following options allow you to select the appropriate database copy mode:
    • Active copy only: Back up from the active copy only. Note that backing up the active copy affects the Exchange performance. If not available, backup is aborted and nothing is backed up.
    • Passive copy only: Back up from the passive copy only. If not available, backup is aborted and nothing is backed up.
    • Active copy preferred: Back up from the active copy if available. If the active copy is not available, the passive copy of the database will be backed up instead.
    • Passive copy preferred: Back up from the passive copy unless no healthy passive copy is available. In the latter case, the active copy of the database will be backed up instead.
    • Bck task exchange 4 4 3-4.png

  8. The check box Allow to execute on any DAG host provides an option to run a database copy backup on any DAG host that has a required database copy. By default, this option is not selected and the backup is executed on the specified Exchange server only.
    • If you want to ensure that only the specified server is used for backup, do not select this option.
    • If this option is selected, then in instances where database copies are replicated between multiple servers and the required database copy is not available on the specified Exchange server, SEP sesam will perform a backup of the first available Exchange server within the same DAG that holds the required database copy. As a prerequisite to use this option, this second Exchange server must also be configured as a SEP Sesam Client with a backup permission. If the retrieved second Exchange server (DAG node) differs from the name of the SEP Sesam Client then additional matching is done using client's interface setting.
      For example, SEP Sesam Server has two clients: DAG1 and DAG2. DAG1 is internally configured as exchdag1.contoso.com and DAG2 as exchdag2.contoso.com. A backup task is created to backup database MDB1 passive copy with an option Allow to execute on any DAG host. SEP sesam checks the first host DAG1 for the required database MDB1 passive copy and gets the response that the MDB1 passive copy is available on exchdag2.contoso.com. If this information does not map to any of the configured hosts, a backup will fail with an error that the client exchdag2.contoso.com is not yet configured in SEP sesam. In such a case, the administrator must configure an alternative name for the second DAG host. The client's interface (hostname) is set in the Client properties (Topology -> select location -> double-click the client -> Interfaces). For details, see How can I configure a backup using another network or interface.
    • Bck task exchange 4.4.3-2.png

  9. Optionally, by clicking the corresponding tabs in the New backup task window, you can further refine your backup task by setting additional options, such as pre/post backup and restore commands, set encryption or compress data, consolidate individual tasks under a specific task group and assign a task to the schedule.
  10. Click OK to create the task.
  11. If you want to start the newly created task immediately, right-click the name of the task and click Immediate start. If you want to create a periodic backup, you have to create a schedule for your backup task: Click New schedule under Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules and set up a schedule. For more details, see Creating a schedule.
  12. Once you have configured a schedule, you must create a new backup event for it. Disable the circular logging if you want to run incremental and differential backups. For general information on creating a backup event, see Creating a backup event.
  13. SEP Tip.png Tip
    If you are using SEP Si3 target deduplication, carefully plan your deduplication scenario. For example, you can run a full Exchange backup to the Si3 deduplication store, and then run incremental and differential backup to the default data store type Path.

Finally, run the Exchange backup. You can use the Immediate start button to start your Exchange backup instantly.

You can view the status of your backup jobs by selecting Last backup state in the Main selection window. The backup status overview provides detailed information on the last run of backup jobs, including the task name, start and stop time of the last backup, backup level, data size, throughput, assigned media pool, etc.

Known issues

If you have any problems with Exchange, such as Exchange backup fails with VSS API error due to missing Microsoft Exchange VSS writer, check Exchange troubleshooting.

What is next?

Restoring Exchange