Designing a backup less Exchange 2010 Architecture


Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 features a new platform for high availability and site resilience that makes deploying redundant and highly available mailbox databases easier than before. But even the most extreme forms of redundancy and fault tolerance can’t protect against every possible failure or disaster. Ensuring there’s sufficient protection for the critical data in the Exchange organization is a necessary operational task for all organizations.

As part of data protection planning, it’s important to understand the ways in which data can be protected, and to determine of those ways, which best suits the organization’s needs.

Exchange 2010 provides native data protection that eliminates the need to make traditional backups of your data.   The following table helps to decide whether you need to continue utilizing a traditional backup model or whether you can implement the native data protection features built within Exchange 2010:

Issue

Mitigation

Software failure

Mailbox Resiliency (multiple database copies)

Hardware failure

Mailbox Resiliency (multiple database copies)

Site/datacenter failure

Mailbox Resiliency (multiple database copies)

Accidental or malicious deletion of item

Single Item Recovery and deleted item retention with a window that meets or exceeds the item recovery SLA

Physical corruption scenarios

Single Page Restore (HA database copies)

Logical corruption scenarios

Single Item Recovery

Calendar Repair Assistant

Mailbox Moves

New-MailboxRepairRequest

Point-In-Time Backup (PIT) backup

Administrative errors

PIT backup

Automation errors

PIT backup

Rogue administrators

PIT backup

Corporate/Regulatory Compliance requirements

PIT backup

Logical corruption is typically a scenario that requires a PIT backup.  However, with Exchange 2010, there are several options now available that can mitigate the need for PIT backup:

  • With Single Item Recovery, if the user changes certain properties of an item in any mailbox folder, a copy of the item is saved into the Recoverable Items folder before the modification is written to the store.  Therefore, if the modification of the message results in a corrupted copy, the original item can be restored.
  • The Calendar Repair Assistant detects and corrects inconsistencies that occur for single and recurring meeting items for mailboxes homed on that Mailbox server so that recipients won’t miss meeting announcements or have unreliable meeting information.
  • During mailbox moves, the Mailbox Replication Service detects corrupted items and will not move those items to the target mailbox database.
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 introduces the New-MailboxRepairRequest which can address corruptions with search folders, item counts, folder views, and parent/child folder issues.

Note that several of the mitigations mention PIT backup.  A PIT backup can be either a traditional backup, or a lagged database copy.  Both provide the same capabilities; however, the choice between the two will depend on your recovery SLA.  The Recovery SLA will define the Recovery Point Objective (in the event of a disaster the data must be restored within a certain timeframe of the disaster), as well as, how long the backups must be retained.  If the recovery SLA is 14 days or less, then a lagged database copy can be utilized; if the recovery SLA is greater than 14 days, then a traditional backup must be used.  For the rogue administrator and corporate/regulatory compliance scenarios, the PIT backup typically is Isolated and maintained separately from the messaging infrastructure and messaging IT staff, which dictates a traditional backup solution.

Thanks to Ross for assisting me on this document.


Comments (52)

  1. Exchange Expert says:

    A very nicely written and useful article.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We are pleased to announce the RTM availability of version 9.0 of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve written a few blog posts now that get into the deep technical details of Managed Availability. I

  4. Anonymous says:

    Recently I was involved in a Private Cloud project and as part of the project, we were migrating some

  5. Anonymous says:

    Recently, we have seen some questions about what the Update-DatabaseSchema cmdlet in Exchange 2013 is

  6. Anonymous says:

    This has been a great new feature added in Windows Server 2012 R2. The possible scenario of the usage

  7. Anonymous says:

    Many users rely on their smart phones and other mobile devices to access their email and calendar using

  8. Anonymous says:

    With Exchange 2013, we released a new data loss prevention (DLP) capability based on deep content analysis

  9. Anonymous says:

    Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now available for download! Please make sure to read the

  10. Anonymous says:

    This article is part 2 in a series that discusses namespace planning , load balancing principles, client

  11. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 entered the market on September 28, 2003 and continued the great messaging

  12. Anonymous says:

    Now that we understand the load balancing and namespace planning principles and how clients connect in

  13. Anonymous says:

    We’re happy to announce updates to the Exchange Server Deployment Assistant ! These updates offer you

  14. Anonymous says:

    During my session at the recent Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC), I revealed Microsoft’s preferred

  15. Anonymous says:

    With the huge scale environment I currently work in my team has had some difficulty when it comes to

  16. Anonymous says:

    I recently did an Exchange 2013 deployment at one of our customers and also integrated with ADRMS so

  17. Anonymous says:

    In the last week there have been two big improvements related to CalCheck and OffCAT that will make life

  18. Anonymous says:

    I was recently helping a customer in ADRMS design and deployment where we faced an issue with ADRMS URL

  19. Anonymous says:

    We are pleased to announce the availability of version 9.1 of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning

  20. Anonymous says:

    Recently I was working for ADRMS integration with Exchange which is rather simple however it became quite

  21. Anonymous says:

    Probes are one of the three critical parts of the Managed Availability framework (monitors and responders

  22. Anonymous says:

    In the last related blog post we gave some introduction about Exchange Online Protection (EOP), what

  23. Anonymous says:

    The Exchange team is announcing today the availability of our most recent quarterly servicing update

  24. Anonymous says:

    Occasionally I am asked the following question – how can I protect the messaging environment from a rogue

  25. Anonymous says:

    Bulk mail is often mistaken for spam and is starting to become a larger problem for organizations. EOP

  26. Anonymous says:

    At The Official Microsoft Blog , we revealed more details about our unified technology event for event

  27. Anonymous says:

    We recently released updated versions of both the Exchange 2010 Server Role Requirements Calculator and

  28. Anonymous says:

    What are we talking about today? In Exchange 2013 CU5 (yes 5, V, cinco, fem, and cinque) we started implementing

  29. Anonymous says:

    I was recently working with one of our customers on Lync 2013 project and one of the questions customer

  30. Anonymous says:

    I was recently working on a project using Security Compliance Manager (SCM) for Active Directory based

  31. Anonymous says:

    I was recently working with a customer helping them migrate to the Eliminated state of Sysvol migration

  32. Anonymous says:

    Back at the release of Exchange Server 2013 CU1 we made some necessary changes to the way OWA logoff

  33. Anonymous says:

    This morning we published the first look at the Ignite session catalog providing you a better view of

  34. Anonymous says:

    Sometime ago, I wrote a blog about upgrading from Windows 2003 based Active Directory to Windows 2008

  35. Anonymous says:

    Exchange team has written below blog on the remote connectivity analyzer tests for mail flow testing

  36. Anonymous says:

    Exchange team has released a blog about Office 365 best practices analyzer for Exchange 2013 as below

  37. Anonymous says:

    Exchange team has written a blog about new Exchange Server deployment assistance as below:

    We’ve

  38. Anonymous says:

    After a long wait, the calculator is there. The calculator recommends mailbox and CAS sizing as well

  39. Anonymous says:

    Exchange team blogged about post TMG world. R ead the blog at
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive

  40. Anonymous says:

    Exchange team blogged about OffCAT as below:
    On Friday, July 19, the OffCAT team released OffCAT version

  41. Anonymous says:

    Exchange team has released Hosting and Multi-Tenancy Guidance for Exchange Server 2013 document. It is

  42. Anonymous says:

    The Exchange team has released the following update rollups to the Download Center. All three releases

  43. Anonymous says:

    Exchange team has released a fantastic blog about publishing Exchange 2013 with TMG server.

    Review

  44. Anonymous says:

    You can protect your organizational Units from accidental deletion by using Power Shell scripts to apply

  45. Anonymous says:

    I was recently working with a customer where one of their Active Directory would not replicate. They

  46. Anonymous says:

    Recently Microsoft Exchange team has written a blog about large messages in Office 365. I see many customers

  47. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft has recently released an initial look at Exchange 2016 architecture and Exchange team has written

  48. Anonymous says:

    Recently Exchange team has written an excellent article on Exchange processor and memory usage and how

  49. Anonymous says:

    In a recent project I was working on ADFS with multiple applications and customer also had SAP to be

  50. anonymouscommenter says:

    Recently i was troubleshooting some integration issues between SCVMM, SPF and Windows Azure Pack (WAP

  51. anonymouscommenter says:

    Pingback from 8dot3 and the Exchange 2010 SP3 LAG Copy | Doug’s Think-Tank