The proof of any
disaster recovery plan is to successfully restore a mailstore on a test Exchange 2003 machine. Meanwhile, here are a selection of helpful tips on how to prevent and troubleshoot Exchange server problems.
Prevention is better than cure
- Tips for Microsoft Exchange
Begin by focusing on how you would set about an Exchange server 2003 recovery. Once you put in place the recovery plan, the backup side becomes easy to implement.
Choose a full backup where ever possible. Avoid incremental backups.
Consider creating an ASR (Automated System Recovery) backup and disk. This will give you the fastest restore of a complete server.
For speed of operation, backup to first to disk, then later onto tape.
Keep copies of backup offsite, not on top of the server.
Label your Microsoft Exchange backup tapes.
Do not use backup tapes passed their sell-by date. Clue they are getting scratched or extra shiny.
Verify that backups are working properly. Test a full restore on a spare Exchange 2003 server.
Experiment with parallel restores, for example run a another instance of restore for a second Store database.
Check in the event log daily for System and Application Logs errors.
The SolarWinds Exchange Monitor
Here is a
free tool to monitor your Exchange Server. Download and
install the utility, then inspect your mail queues, monitor the Exchange
server's memory, confirm there is enough disk space and check the CPU
This is the real deal - there is no catch. SolarWinds provides this
fully-functioning freebie, as part of their commitment to supporting
the network management community.
Always favour the Enterprise edition of Exchange 2003. Avoid the the SBS or Standard version with their
16 GB Store limit. The Enterprise version also supports multiple storage groups with up to 20 stores.
Evaluate the new Active / Passive clustering technology.
Place store databases (Priv*.edb .stm) on a separate disk from the
Build a ' Crash Cart ' with spare hardware, duplicate CDs and documents especially key passwords.
Recovering Email in Exchange Server 2003
Configure the, 'Deleted Item Recovery' on the Exchange 2003 server.
Send a memo to users explaining where to find Deleted Item Recovery in Outlook.
Experiment with the Mailbox Recovery Center. Call for the Cleanup Agent.
Discover how to create a Recovery Storage Group.
When you restore, make sure the Store service is running.
Check the Application log for Event ID 205 to confirm that the restore is complete.
Only use the Alternative Forest method as a last resort.
When you have a minute
Apply the latest service pack for Exchange Server 2003
Creating multiple stores because they speed up a database restore. (Requires Enterprise Exchange 2003).
Practice with Eseutil /k or /cm. In a real disaster you need /r or /p.
Practice with Eseutil /d to defrag your stores.
Check your insurance policy.
Run Performance Monitor to create a baseline before the users start logging on.
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Free VM Monitor
The best feature of this new this new version of SolarWinds VM Monitor is that it
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It's easy to install and to configure this virtual machine monitor, all
you need the host server's IP address or hostname and the logon info. Give
this virtual machine monitor a try - it's free.
Here is a
free tool to monitor your Exchange Server.
Download the utility, then inspect your mail queues, monitor Exchange server's
memory, confirm there is enough disk space and check the CPU utilization.