Using Windows Server Backup to Back Up and Restore Exchange Data

Applies to: Exchange Server 2007 SP3, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP1.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) includes a new plug-in that enables you to make Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)-based backups of Exchange data using Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008. You can use Windows Server Backup to back up and restore your Exchange 2007 SP2 databases. A thorough understanding of what needs to be backed up, where to store backups, and how to restore backups is key to being an effective Exchange administrator. For more information about what needs to be backed up in Exchange 2007, see What Needs to Be Protected in an Exchange Environment.
The new plug-in is delivered in the form of a single executable called WSBExchange.exe. This plug-in is automatically installed by SP2 on all Exchange 2007 Mailbox servers. The plug-in enables Windows Server Backup to be able to make Exchange-aware VSS backups. Before using Windows Server Backup and the Exchange plug-in to back up Exchange data, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the following features and options for the plug-in:

  • Backups are VSS-based only. You cannot make streaming ESE backups using Windows Server Backup with or without the plug-in.
  • Backups taken with Windows Server Backup occur at volume level. To back up a storage group and database, you must back up the entire volume containing the storage group and database. You cannot back up any data without backing up the entire volume containing the data.
  • The backup must be run locally on the server being backed up, and you cannot use the plug-in to take remote VSS backups. There is no remote administration of Windows Server Backup or the plug-in. You can, however, use Remote Desktop or Terminal Services to remotely manage backup.
  • The backup can be created on a local drive or on a remote network share.
  • Only Full backups can be taken. Log truncation will occur only after a successful completion of a full backup of a volume containing an Exchange storage group and database.
  • In a continuous replication environment, only volumes that contain active database copies can be backed up by using the plug-in.
  • When restoring data, it is possible to restore only Exchange data. This data can be restored to its original location or to an alternate location. If you restore the data to its original location, Windows Server Backup and the plug-in will automatically handle the recovery process, including dismounting any existing databases and replaying logs into the recovered database.
  • The restore process does not directly support the Recovery Storage Group (RSG). However, if you restore to an alternate location, you can then manually move the restored data from the alternate location into an RSG, if needed.
  • When restoring Exchange data, all backed up storage groups must be restored together. You cannot restore a single storage group or database.
  • The plug-in does not support the Exchange Replica VSS Writer that is part of the Replication service. As a result, you cannot use Windows Server Backup to backup passive copies of storage groups.

For detailed steps about how to back up an Exchange server using the SP2 plug-in for Windows Server Backup, see How to Perform a Backup of Exchange Using Windows Server Backup.
For detailed steps about how to restore data from a backup taken with the SP2 plug-in for Windows Server Backup, see How to Restore a Backup of Exchange Using Windows Server Backup.

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