Exchange Tips for Disaster Recovery
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.
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 utilization.
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.
Avoid circular logging on Storage Groups.
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 transaction logs.
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.
The best feature of this new this new version of SolarWinds VM Monitor is that it checks Windows Hyper-V. Naturally, it still works with virtual machines on VMware ESX Servers. VM Monitor is a clever desktop tool that not only tests that your server is online, but also displays the CPU and memory utilization for each node.
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.
Summary Exchange Tips Disaster Recovery.
Take action to prevent disaster striking. If you are serious about backup and restore then practice your skills and tools on a test Exchange 2003 server. Start by reading my Exchange tips.
If you have a time-saving tip, then I would love to add it to my list.