4 4 3 Grolar:Exchange Backup

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Copyright © SEP AG 1999-2020. 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.

Docs latest icon.png Welcome to the latest SEP sesam documentation version 4.4.3 Grolar/4.4.3 Beefalo V2. For previous documentation version(s), check Documentation archive.


Overview

This article describes Exchange backup configuration. For detailed information on prerequisites and configuration requirements of SEP sesam Exchange Recovery Pro, see Exchange Configuration.

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 8 below). Refer to Standard Backup Procedure for general details on creating a backup specification.

Configuring Exchange Server backup

Create a new backup task for backing up Exchange Server.

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select your Exchange Server and click New Backup Task. The New backup task window opens.
  2. Specify the Source. You can either browse for the source or enter it manually.
    If you select the source by browsing, the task type and task name are set automatically. If you enter the source manually, you have to enter the task name and select Exchange Server as a task type.
  3. Exchange backup task Beefalo V2.jpg

  4. Optionally, in the Exclude list select the files and folders which you do not want to back up by using the big browse button (next to the fields Source and Exclude list) and selecting your source for exclude. For details on various exclude options, see Creating Exclude List.
  5. Skip the option Execution off (previously Execution is blocked; relevant only if you want to disable execution of the already configured backup task) and options under Exchange server DAG Settings (relevant only for DAG-related tasks as described in the Exchange DAG procedure).
  6. 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, specify OS credentials, consolidate individual tasks under a specific task group and assign a task to the schedule.
  7. Click OK to create the task.
  8. 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.
  9. SEP Tip.png Tip
    You can also add your backup task to an existing schedule by double-clicking the backup task, selecting the tab Schedules and adding it to one or more schedules. Additionally, you can group your backup tasks to task groups. For details, see Adding a Task to the Task Group.
  10. Once you have configured a schedule, you must create a new backup event for it. Disable circular logging on the Microsoft Exchange Server if you want to run incremental and differential backups. For general information on creating a backup event, see Creating a Backup Event.

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.

Information sign.png Note
As of 4.4.3 Beefalo V2, you can check the details of your backups online by using new Web UI. For details, see SEP sesam Web UI.

Configuring Exchange DAG backup

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:

  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. Create a new DAG task group to which you will add DAG DB tasks afterwards. Use exclusively this task group for your DAG backups. For details, see Adding a Task to the Task Group.
  4. 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!
  5. 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 back up 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 Exchange DAG backup task below.

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 Client properties.
  • SEP service user must be running under a domain administrator account or member of the Organization Management group. If the service is running under a local account, SEP sesam will not be able to back up the Exchange server data.

Configuring Exchange DAG backup task

Once all your DAG nodes are added to the same location (dedicated to DAG only) and a new DAG task group is already created, you can configure backup tasks for the selected DAG node. Note that you only need to configure a set of tasks for one DAG node (e.g., the first one); you have to create a separate backup task for each DB. Do not configure any backup tasks for other DAG nodes!

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select your Exchange Server and click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window opens.
  2. Specify the Source. Browse and select a single database under Source, for example, Mailbox DAGtabase. Note that 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. If you enter the source manually, you have to enter the task name and select Exchange Server DAG as a task type.
  3. Exchange DAG backup task Beefalo V2.jpg

  4. Skip the option Execution off (previously Execution is blocked; relevant only if you want to disable execution of the already configured backup task). Then select Database state under the Exchange Server DAG settings.
    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. Note that it is recommended to back up a Passive copy only since this allows you to offload the backup process.
    • 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 Beefalo V2.jpg

  5. 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 back up 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 Beefalo V2 01.jpg

  6. If you have created a DAG task group before, switch to Task Groups tab and add your newly created task to the DAG task group. If you haven't created a DAG task group yet, skip this step and create it once your task is configured. For details, see Adding a Task to the Task Group.
  7. 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, etc.
  8. Click OK to create the task.
  9. Then repeat the procedure and create a special task for each DB in one DAG node (e.g., the first one) and add all created tasks to the DAG task group. Do not configure any backup tasks for other DAG nodes!
  10. To create a periodic backup for your DAG environment, you have to create a schedule for it: Click New Schedule under Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules and set up a schedule. For more details, see Creating a schedule.
  11. Once you have configured a schedule, you must create a new backup event for a DAG task group. Disable circular logging on the Microsoft Exchange Server if you want to run incremental and differential backups. For general information on creating a backup event, see Creating a Backup Event.
  12. You can also start a DAG task or task group backup instantly by right-clicking the DAG backup task (Tasks by Clients window) or DAG task group (Tasks by Groups window) and then selecting Immediate Start option.

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.

Information sign.png Note
As of 4.4.3 Beefalo V2, you can check the details of your backups online by using new Web UI. For details, see SEP sesam Web UI.

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.

See also

Exchange ConfigurationExchange Restore