Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Exchange Disaster Recovery and an Apology

Firstly apologies for not updating this blog for the last couple of weeks, I can only sit in wonder at how people like Susan manage to update their blogs so timely, if you want to keep really up to date with everything SBS make sure you pay Susan's site a visit.

Anyway down to business, thought it would be a good idea to share some thoughts and experiences on a Exchange and SBS 4.5 (That's NT 4 and Exchange 5.5 Standard to the rest of us) disaster recovery.

Normally at this stage I would start to step through all the detailed steps you need to carry out to recover from a server crash assuming you manage to get an intact copy of priv.edb (priv1.edb sbs 2000 or sbs2003) off the hard disk

Summary of the steps are below - however there is another way check bottom of posting

You would firstly need to build a brand new NT4 or preferably a 2000 Server using the same name as the old Exchange Server.

Then install Exchange using the same Organization name and Site Name (Yes we can still do it if the customer does not know their Org Name and Site Name.

Then stop the exchange services and overwrite the empty priv.edb with your salvaged copy from the customers exchange server.

Then the fun really starts. ISINTEG - patch and ISINTEG test and then possibly ESEUTIL if there is corruption

Assuming this all works and you haven't had heart failure in the meantime you still had update the exchange Directory to match the new grafted priv.edb.

Your still not finished - you then have to export all the mailboxes out of the temporary exchange server and then reimport into your new SBS 2003 server - You weren't going to put the customer back on SBS 4.5 (NT) were you ?

When I get a chance if people are interested enough (just post a comment ) I will put together a detailed procedure on all the above.

The above probably will take you at least 8 if not 12 hours and more if you have a large information store - I have had to carry this out on a 200 user Exchange site and from start to finish the process took 24 hours.

Anyway what if I told you there is program that can read the raw PRIV.EDB or PRIV1.EDB and can export the mailboxes to PST and could maybe save you 10 hours work.

Well it exists and it's available from Ontrack and it works like a dream

The trial version is still useful although it will not export the data out of the rescued priv.edb it will allow you to quickly verify if the priv file is intact before you potentially waste 8 hours of your life carrying out the recovery procedures described above.

The poduct is a bit expensive about $ 950 for up to 100 mailboxes however if we could convince them to do an SBS version maybe a 10, 20, 50, 100 mailbox version as it can do double duty as a brick level mailbox agent however it would be backing up to pst files which we could use to recover in a disaster.

Let me know if you would like more detailed info on Exchange Recovery

Hope this helps



At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Ronan said...

Hi Mark, I would be interested in a detailed overview of mail recovery. I like the Ontrack tool for recovering mails this is quite clever with the time saving element that allows you to view messages before doing a full recovery. Well Done Ronan

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Alex said...

For backup and restore MS Exchange data you can use Exchange server 2007 recovery. It is able to view the results of restoring. The utility is compatible with all supported Windows OS. The program is easy to use interface for any experienced user.


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