In my Exchange Server 2007 SP1 Tips and Tricks session last year at Microsoft Tech•Ed 2008 in Orlando, Florida, I announced that we would be providing a VSS-based plug-in for Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 that will enable customers to take Exchange-aware, VSS backups on Windows Server 2008. We didn’t have many details to share at that time because we were still formulating our plans, but we wanted everyone to know that we took their feedback on the lack of a built-in backup solution for Exchange very seriously, and that we were going to work to provide a solution for this issue.
Today, at Microsoft Tech•Ed 2009 in Los Angeles, California, and on the Exchange Team blog, we have announced and provided details on Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Exchange Server 2007. Among other features, SP2 includes a VSS plug-in for Windows Server Backup to support Exchange backups. Once SP2 is installed, you can use Windows Server Backup to back up and restore your Exchange 2007 SP2 databases.
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 as described below:
· Backups are VSS-based only. You cannot perform 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 Windows Server Backup and your backup jobs.
· 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.
· The plug-in does not support the Exchange Replication VSS Writer; as a result, you cannot perform backups of passive copies of databases in a continuous replication environment.
· 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 the data to an alternate location, then you can 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.
Documentation on using Windows Server Backup for backup and recovery of Exchange data will be added to the core content for Exchange 2007 on TechNet once SP2 is available for download.