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Disaster Recovery Strategies

 

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

Topic Last Modified: 2007-08-24

Having familiarized yourself with the various disaster recovery concepts, it is important to select a disaster recovery strategy. The disaster recovery strategy you select also influences your backup strategy. If your Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 organization encounters a problem that requires the recovery of a server that is running Exchange 2007 (for example, if a fire destroys one of your servers), there are three recovery options from which you can select:

  • Restore the server   You can restore the server from a full computer backup set, and then restore your Exchange databases. A full backup set includes a backup of System State data, the Exchange binary files, and most of the data on your hard disks.

  • Rebuild the server   You can rebuild the server completely. This option involves performing a new installation of Windows Server running Exchange 2007 in Disaster Recovery mode, and then restoring your Exchange databases. This option assumes that Active Directory directory service is still available in Exchange 2007 in Disaster Recovery mode.

  • Use a standby server   You can use a standby recovery server as part of the rebuild the server strategy. This option involves keeping recovery servers available with the operating system and other software installed. Having standby recovery servers available reduces the time it takes to rebuild a damaged server.

In addition to choosing a server recovery strategy, to maximize your flexibility of recovery options when you must perform a full server recovery, consider the following issues:

  • Priority of protecting Active Directory and Exchange database data   Take extra precautions to make sure of the safety of your Active Directory data and Exchange databases, which include both Exchange database files and transaction log files. If you have protected both of those sets of data, you will have additional options for recovering your Exchange data. Focus your resources on making sure that you protect those two items. Everything else is secondary.

  • Preparedness for being able to re-create configuration data manually if it becomes necessary   Although running Setup /mode:RecoverServer can help you bring up a functional server, it may not preserve every custom setting or leave connectors functional. Therefore, you should be prepared to re-create any Exchange configuration settings in the event that you cannot recover those settings stored in Active Directory. If you can manually reconfigure the server, you have additional recovery options if a disaster occurs. Reconfiguring the server involves such tasks as reconfiguring your connectors, making metabase modifications, and making registry modifications.

    noteNote:
    A primary benefit to making Windows backup sets is that it lets you preserve the registry and other configuration settings on your servers. However, such a restore requires hardware that is similar to the system being restored.

In addition to the strategies discussed earlier, there are new features in Exchange 2007 that enable more recovery options and scenarios, including:

  • Improved backup and restore   When you use local continuous replication (LCR) or cluster continuous replication (CCR), Exchange 2007 enables you to offload Exchange-aware Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) backups from the active copy of a database to a passive copy of a database.

  • Database portability   Database portability provide several features, including the ability to port and recover a database on another server in the Exchange organization. Database portability enables faster disaster recovery strategies to be implemented for both site-level disasters and hardware failures for Exchange 2007 servers.

  • Dial tone portability   When a database, server, or datacenter is lost, you can use dial tone portability to provide access to a new dial tone database on another server in the Exchange organization.

For more information about continuous replication, see Local Continuous Replication, Cluster Continuous Replication, and Standby Continuous Replication.

For more information about backup and restore options and strategies, see Database Backup and Restore.

For more information about database portability, see Database Portability.

For more information about dial tone portability, see Dial Tone Portability.

 
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