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Best Practices for Exchange 2003/Retrospect 7?

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Hi all,


We're starting from scratch with a brand-spankin-new Exchange 2003 implementation, and I was wondering if anyone had best practices suggestions for Retrospect backup of the Exchange environment. We can set it up any way we want, since it's a fresh install, and it would be nice to get it right the first time. grin.gif


Some questions on the table:


a) Backup locally (run Retrospect on the Exchange server) or remotely (on separate hardware)? We have an iSCSI backup appliance, so it's possible to access the 'virtual tape drive' from any box on the network with the appropriate NIC. We could connect both our Exchange servers (active/active cluster) to the iSCSI SAN and back up directly from them; we also could designate a third machine to back up the entire Exchange environment via Retrospect Client... said machine could also back up some other boxes as well (ISA, front-end Exchange, AD masters, and eRoom IIS server), so it might be worth splitting it off unless there's some powerful advantage to running Retrospect on the live Exchange server.


B) Full/Incremental/other recommended schedule? Media rotation & recycle suggestions? We are limiting our Exchange backups to a 30-day window, so massive archiving isn't really an issue.


c) Exchange Agent vs. Open File Backup? I've seen some different benefits and drawbacks posted, but it seems like most of that is pre-6.5 versions. It would be nice to have incremental backup capability.


d) Disaster recovery planning & scenarios? I've had some trouble recovering a Windows 2003 server with a DR CD before...


Thanks in advance for advice and suggestions.



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I like having a dedicated backup computer and backing up exchange via Retrospect client. A bit slower but I think the less you have to touch the exchange server the better.


If you have the tape space fulls every day are the most redundant. If space is an issue just be sure to do a full backup every time you do a recycle backup or change backup sets.


Exchange agent is much better. You can do mailbox and message level restores. With open file you would have to restore the entire database just to retrieve one message.


Disaster recovery is a broad subject. The best plan is to have many backups on seperate media just in case something goes wrong.


Hope that helps,


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