How to Backup Exchange Server 2013 Database – Part 1

Over the past so many years managing and maintaining Exchange Server Mailbox and Public folder Database has played a critical role for Exchange Administrators. The spontaneous growth which leads to add more room to store the large database was very critical. Preserving those databases was not that easy, because the data might go corrupt at any time. These was realized only when a backup is restored and it fails to mount (aka Dirty Shutdown). Ah… the pain is much more than what it took to backup the data.

So how do we save and protect the data which is backed up.

In this blog we will be sharing some key points before we start discussing about how to backup exchange database.

  • Always make a note that the backup is verified.
  • Perform a test restore at least once in a week. This will help you understand if the backup is good or bad.
  • If its bad then act immediately. End users might raise alarm at anytime. So are you prepared?

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Lets Explore

It is very important to understand the Past, Present and Future growth. Planning and sizing plays a vital role to overcome the everlasting data growth.

There are various tools available to plan and size the hardware and software requirements. Today we are going to share some new technology introduced in Windows Server 2012. Yes, you heard that.

In Windows Server 2012 Microsoft has made a very good improvement to protect data. To test the backup we have used local disk and the file system is “ReFs”.

Description

Resilient File System (ReFS) is a new local file system. It maximizes data availability, despite errors that would historically cause data loss or downtime. Data integrity ensures that business critical data is protected from errors and available when needed. Its architecture is designed to provide scalability and performance in an era of constantly growing data set sizes and dynamic workloads.

Courtesy : MSDN

Lets format the drive partition with “ReFS” file system.

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Figure 1.1 : New File System

In figure 1.1 we will be selecting ReFS. You will get this options when you format an unallocated disk drive. You can navigate to disk management.

Now that we have the disk ready. Lets install Windows Server Backup feature. By default this feature is not installed. To install this feature open Server Manager > Under Configure this Server > Select Add Roles and Features.

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Figure 1.2 : Feature to select.

Now that we have installed the feature lets run the backup. Open the Apps “Windows Server Backup”.

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Figure 1.3 : Apps Windows Server Backup

In figure 1.3 under Actions we have four options

  1. Backup Schedule : Almost all backup software will have this option.
  2. Backup Once : Good to check before you schedule a backup. Since it will give you an idea it succeeds or fails.
  3. Recover : This is to restore data from backup. Remember that the backup which is online and accessible can be recovered.
  4. Configure Performance Settings : Optional

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Figure 1.4 : Backup Once Wizard

In figure 1.4 we have selected Backup Once Wizard.

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Figure 1.5 : Select Backup Configuration

In figure 1.5 we have selected Custom, since we are focusing on Exchange Server. So our selection would be only Exchange Database.

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Figure 1.6 : Select Items for Backup

In this wizard select items for backup by clicking “Add Items”. We have selected Exchange Database folders. The folders hold both log files and database files.

Advance Settings will help you configure VSS Settings and Exclusions.

There is a hyperlink “Choosing what to include in a backup”. If you click this link it will direct you to Microsoft site to help you understand what needs to be backed up.

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Figure 1.7 : Exclusions

In Figure 1.7 we have Exclusions option to exclude files and folders as per our choice.

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Figure 1.8 : VSS Settings

In figure 1.8 it is very important that we select “VSS Full Backup”. If this option is not selected then log files won’t get purged.

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Figure 1.9 : Destination type

In figure 1.9 we have selected local drives. Remote shared folder can also be selected.

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Figure 1.10: Backup Destination

Local drive should be listed here.

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Figure 1.11 : Confirmation

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Figure 1.12 : Backup Progress

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Figure 1.13 : Completed

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Figure 1.14 : Details

In figure 1.14 select “View list of all backed up files” to know as to what is backed up.

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Figure 1.15 : Backed files information

Now lets see if the log files are purged.

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Figure 1.16 : Log files purged

We have successfully backed up exchange database and as per our requirement log files are purged. Lets keep backup as simple as possible. Lets not complicate life.

In the next part we will explore how to perform restore.

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Happy Learning

Sunder

MSEXCHANGETEAM | Ideas That Clicks

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9 Responses to How to Backup Exchange Server 2013 Database – Part 1

  1. Quang says:

    great article. I try it but not seeing the log files are not purged

  2. Sunder says:

    Quang

    Just check the settings as described in this article. Something missing.

  3. koiso says:

    I have found that my problem was the same as can not truncate transaction log files, I noticed that the service “WSBexchange” always entered disabled, so how to keep it started?
    please.

  4. Sunder says:

    Get the writer status. Look for any possible windows errors.
    Service should not go in disabled state. Potential Windows Problem.

  5. Todd says:

    Followed the steps above and set the “Microsoft Exchange Server Extension for Windows Server Backup” service to automatic and started it but still no clearing of the logs. Ran a backup several times.

    Please advise.

  6. Todd says:

    I figure out what the issue was with not being able to clear out the logs after a backup in my environment. Turns out that the second member of my DAG, the member holding the copy for all my databases, was offline. When I powered it on, the logs cleared.

    I then removed the copies from the second member of the DAG, performed a backup with that server off against the active databases and the logs cleared out without further issue.

  7. Sunder says:

    @ Todd

    Good and Thank you for sharing the solution.

  8. Lawrence says:

    Question on the WSBExchange service for Exchange 2013 on Windows Server 2012; the startup type is manual and not running at this moment. The Exchange log files seems to be purged. I am wondering whether the WSBExchange service should be running all the time? I found event ID 2026 (The Microsoft Exchange Replication service VSS Writer (Instance 7cd09241-677a-4299-a49b-6e865755e0bf) failed with error 80004005 when preparing for snapshot.) in the Application log.

  9. Sunder says:

    @ Lawrence

    The service will always remain in manual state. It will start only when backup or restore process is running. Once backup or restore is completed it will again go back to manual stopped state.

    This is a default behavior.

    The event what you have received is different.