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Backing Up and Restoring Servers

It is very important to create backups of your Microsoft Exchange Server files. Creating backups enables you to restore your server in the event of a hardware failure or software corruption. When you plan your backup strategy, consider the following:

Location of tape drives   If your tape drive is on a server, consider the impact the additional load will have on the other services the server provides. Depending on how many tape drives you have, you may decide to provide tape backup on most servers to avoid backing up data across the network.

Capacity and speed of your hardware   The capacity and speed of your hardware are important because these factors determine how quickly you can perform a complete restore in the event of a disaster. The time required to back up and restore a server is determined by a number of factors, including the tape drive speed, the speed of the network, CPU speed, available memory, and the amount of load on the server. You can back up and restore data more quickly by using a tape drive located on a server rather than on the network.

Circular logging   Circular logging overwrites transaction log files after the data they contain has been committed to the database. By enabling circular logging, you reduce disk storage space requirements. However, you will only be able to restore information to the last full backup¾not to the last transaction. Also, if you plan to use circular logging, note that you cannot perform incremental or differential backups.

Backup schedule   You may decide to perform a full backup once a week and an incremental or differential backup during the week. You should back up the information store as often as possible, depending on the server load. You should also back up the directory of each server at least once. Back up the directory for at least one server daily, but rotate which server you are backing up. The advantage of having a more current directory backup is that fewer changes will need to be replicated when the restore is completed.

Storing backup tapes at another location   To avoid losing all your backup tapes in the event of a disaster (such as a fire), store tape backups of the most important data in your organization at another location.

Validating your backups   Verify that your backups are being performed correctly by restoring the information store on an alternate server and sending messages from a mailbox on the server.