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Backing Up Exchange Server 2003 Clusters

 

Topic Last Modified: 2005-04-27

The disaster recovery processes for backing up and restoring Exchange 2003 server clusters are similar to the processes for backing up and restoring data on stand-alone Exchange 2003 servers.

To successfully back up Exchange server clusters, you must first determine which server recovery method you want to use for each node in the server cluster:

  • Restore the node.

  • Rebuild the node without using a standby recovery server.

  • Rebuild the node by using a standby recovery server.

Disaster recovery methods for server clusters

Recovery method What you need

Restore the node

  • Full computer backup set.

  • Exchange database backups of each Exchange Virtual Server (EVS) in the cluster.

Rebuild the node without using a standby recovery server

  • A Windows backup set.

  • The ability to run the Exchange Setup program and reinstall all Exchange updates.

  • Exchange database backups for each EVS.

  • Any dynamic data backups for each node.

Rebuild the node by using a standby recovery server

(Prepare the node in advance, updating it whenever you update your production servers.)

  • A Windows backup set.

  • The ability to run the Exchange Setup program and reinstall all Exchange updates.

  • Exchange database backups for each EVS.

  • Any dynamic data backups for each node.

Insert a new node into the cluster

  • The ability to install Windows Server 2003 and Exchange.

  • Exchange database backups for each EVS.

  • Any dynamic data backups for each node.

If you choose to rebuild the node by using a standby recovery server, you will do most of the work involved in recovering or inserting a new node before a disaster happens. You keep the standby hardware available to replace any nodes in your server clusters in the event of a disaster.

After you make sure that your backup strategy includes creating backups for each node in the server cluster, you must also make sure that your backup strategy includes backing up the data on your server cluster's shared disk resources. The shared disk resource that maintains the consistency of your server cluster is the quorum disk resource, unless you are using the Majority Node Set. If you are using the Majority Node Set, each node maintains a copy of the cluster configuration data, and you do not have to back up the quorum.

For information about how to back up the quorum disk resource, see "Backing Up the Quorum Disk Resource" later in this chapter.

For information about how to back up shared disk resources that contain your Exchange database files and log files, see "Backing Up the Exchange Server 2003 Databases That Are Stored on Shared Disk Resources."

For an overview of Windows Server 2003 clustering support and troubleshooting, see the Technical Overview of Windows Server 2003 Clustering Services. You do not have to restore the backups described in this section to solve every problem that might occur in your clustering environment. For example, if a single node in a server cluster fails because of a hardware problem, it is relatively easy to replace that server by introducing a new node to the server cluster (either a newly rebuilt server cluster node or a standby cluster node). In this case, you do not have to restore any backups. As long as the maximum number of nodes for the server cluster has not been exceeded, you can add new nodes to a cluster at any time. However, if a different type of disaster occurs (for example, a complete cluster failure, a damaged quorum disk resource, or damaged Exchange databases) you might have to use one or more of your backups. For detailed information about Exchange server cluster restore processes, see "Restoring Exchange Clusters."

To help secure your Exchange server clusters, back up specific information that is stored on each server in the server cluster. This section provides detailed descriptions and procedural information about the following Exchange clustering topics:

  • Backing up an Exchange Server 2003 cluster's shared disk resources.

  • Backing up the Exchange Server 2003 databases that are stored on shared disk resources.

  • Maintaining records about your server clusters.

noteNote:
To locate the Microsoft Information Store options that are referred to in this section, open Windows Backup. In the console tree, expand Microsoft Exchange Server, expand the server that you want, and then expand Microsoft Information Store.
 
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