Posts Tagged ‘backup’

Dude, What are the 5 elements I must consider in my virtual machine backups?

April 26, 2013 3 comments

The new business demands and challenges pushed IT organizations and Pros to rush into using virtualization/cloud technologies, with this push comes a huge challenge in selecting the proper backup method and spotting the key factors to consider when designing backups for virtual machine.

To help you addressing this challenge and spotting those points, we will release a white paper that identifies key elements to consider when backing up and recovering virtual machines and explains them in details.

So stuff like Agent or agentless backup, unified or virtual specific backups, Data Deduplication (how, when) with virtual machines, large backup sets, granular vs. one backup/restore set, adding to that great and critical tips for applications (AD, SQL and Exchange), Hypervisors (VMware/Hyper-v) and network layer.

This unique white paper has been written by a group of the best minds in applications, virtualization and backup worlds, the authors of this white paper are:

  • Thomas Maurer: Thomas is Hyper-v MVP, well known in his contributions in System Center, Hyper-v and cloud community.
  • Mikko Nykyri: VMware vExpert and virtualization product mangaer for backup exec.
  • me, Mahmoud Magdy

In this white paper; Published at Symantec here , we bring you the top points to consider, key factors and top issues to identify when backing up and restoring virtual machines, we will also go through a Google hangout session discussing those elements in details.

so start tuned, and follow us on Twitter, Linkedin and facebook and wish you all happy backup and successful restore.


Backup&Restore Exchange 2010 mailbox database or mailbox item using ARCserve R16 #msexchange #arcserve

September 11, 2012 4 comments

In my ultimate Journey discovering how to backup and restore Exchange 2010 by every single application on our universe, I blog today about how to do that using CA’s ARCserve r16 SP1.

We will continue using my single Exchange server hen installing ARCserver r16 SP1 and then discovering how to make a backup job to backup Exchange and Restore from our backup.

Installing ARCserve r16 SP1:

There is nothing genius about installing the ARCserve, you possible want to plan ahead for the following:

  • SQL Database location.
  • Configuring Windows authentication instead of the ARCserve authentication.
  • If you will configure windows authentication later, you need to remember the password you used for the default admin account “caroot” because you will use it to login.

    other than that, the installation itself is no brainer, next, next and ok Smile

    Configuring ARCserve r16 Devices:

    Once you are finished installing and opening the ARCserve console “Manage”, you will be prompt with a very nice tutorial that walks you through the basic configuration of your ARCserve.

    In this step we will configure “Disk device” that we will use for our backup to disk, so from Devices choose launch device configuration:


    In the Login Server screen, enter your credentials to login to the server:


    In the Login Server  choose your login server:


    In the Device Configuration screen, choose Windows File System Devices to configure a backup folder (the de-duplication device is a folder that could configured to store multiple backups, the ARCserve then divide the backup to small chunks that is compared and de-duplicated using the proprietary ARCserve algorithm) then click add:




    and if you somehow missed the wizard, you can do the same using the device wizard from the administration menu:


    Once the Device is configured, we can deploy the Agent and start protecting our Exchange server, you can do that from the administration, and then go to Agent Deployment :

    Note: In Order to backup the Exchange server using ARCserve you must installing MAPI CDO, this is a must because unlike Symantec which uses EWS to restore emails, ARCserve using MAPI CDO to backup and restore individual email, also note that MAPI CDO must be installed before installing the ARCserve if you don’t you will get the following error message:

    “The request is denied by the agent. The requested agent is not installed.”


    When you deploy the agents for the first time, you must specify the ARCserve source to copy the agents from it, once copied you won’t need to do that again and you will be able to proceed with the deployment:


    Once copied, you will proceed with the agent deployment, so specify the Login Server:


    In the agent installation option and normally you will get the automatic, you might want to choose custom to fine tune the installation options:


    In the agent select the agents that needs to be deployed:


    In the host selection, you have a nice option here to discover the Exchange servers and deploy the agent to them automatically:


    to discover the Exchange infrastructure, Just specify you Domain Controller and credentials and the ARCserve will discover the Exchange server for you, nice!!!:





    Backup Exchange 2010 Mailbox Database and Mailboxes using ARCserve:

    To Create a backup job, it is so easy, from the Protection & Recovery menu choose Backup:


    From the Job Setup Menu select your Job Setup Type:


    In the Source, select the Mailbox Database, if you want to recover specific mailboxes or mailox items you must configure the Document Level Type backup, unlike Symantec which uses 1 type of backups to either restore Mailbox Database or Mailbox or Mailbox item, ARCserve uses 2 types of backup (mailbox database backup for mailbox level and Mailbox Document level for Mailboxes and Mailbox items):


    In the Schedule, select your scheduling:


    In the Destination, select your destination, in my case I will use the folder I already configured previously:


    Once all set, click the Submit button to submit the job for run.

    Restore the Exchange Mailbox Database or Mailbox items from the ARCserve Backup:

    Now you can restore either the Mailbox Database or the Mailbox items, you can go to the Restore section, explore the Exchange infrastructure and either select the Mailbox Database or the Mailbox Items:



    In this Article we have explored the basic ARCserve configuration and how to backup and restore Exchange 2010 Mailbox and Mailboxes using ARCserve. it was easy and sweet although I don’t understand why in ARCserve I have to create 2 jobs and duplicates to backup Mailbox Database and Mailboxes (Document level).

    So what is the next product, I don’t know I will be waiting for your suggestions Open-mouthed smile, so let me know so I can blog it.

  • Restoring Entire Mailbox Exchange 2010 Database using Backup Exec 2012 #Symantec #backupexec #msexchange

    September 9, 2012 3 comments

    In previous posts we have seen how to backup Mailbox database and restore single item from the backup.

    In this post we will explore how to restore the entire database to its original location, although you might ask why would I do that when I can restore the item that I want directly from my backup set, Well there might be some scenarios where you want to restore an entire database:

    – Database corruption either physically or logically.

    – reseed operation.

    – restoring to restore database for finer search and extraction.

    we will use the same backup we did last time to restore the entire database, let us start:

    User one received 2 emails (Diff 1 and Diff2):


    It looks that those emails some how caused a Database corruption, and the database is dismounted and can’t be mounted again (this simulates a logical or physical corruption at the database level):


    If I try to mount it I get the error:


    Also there is an error in the event viewer:


    Now I need to restore the entire database, from the Backup Exec management console Select the Exchange server and click restore, in the restore type, select Microsoft Exchange databases or storage groups:


    In the Resource view, select the backup job you want to restore:


    In the restore location, I will choose the original location since I want to restore it on top of the current one since the current one is corrupted, you might want to restore it to another location or the recovery database or to another server in case of dial-tone recovery.


    In the overwrite page, I will choose to overwrite existing DB and logs, if you trust that logs are ok and your DB is having troubles due to a corrupted harddisk for example you can restore the database set and keep exiting logs and when the replay starts it will restore the database into the most recent status, however in my case there is a logical corruption caused by bad emails thus bad logs, so I don’t want these and I will overwrite them:


    In the Temporary location, I will chose the default location, but you need to make sure that the selected location has enough space to hold the restored data:


    In the next screen, you have the option to wait to start mounting the database, if you are restoring from differential backup or you want to run eseutil before mounting the database for example you might want not to mount the database otherwise, the backup exec will mount the database and start playing the logs directly, in my case I will choose to mount the database:


    In the job name and schedule, set your options and click next:


    on done, go to the Job list, select the restore job and click run now, the job will start restoring your database:


    after the restore completes, the DB is mounted and everything is back to track :


    User1 can login now to his mailbox, but you will note that Diff1 and Diff2 emails (the problematic ones) are not restored since they are weren’t backed up:



    In the next post we will see how to restore differential backup, we have been talking about the full backups and we will see how to configure and restore differential backups.

    How to Restore Exchange 2010 Mailbox or Mailbox Item using Backup Exec 2012 #msexchange #backupexec #symantec

    September 6, 2012 18 comments

    In This post we will explore how to restore a mailbox or a single mailbox item using Backup Exec 2012 to Exchange 2012.

    Setting up the stage:

    you need to make sure that you have a working backup set, we will continue from our configuration we have committed in the first part of this series:

    To Restore a single item from the backup set:

    Note: your backup job must have been configured to use GRT, otherwise you will not be able to recover single item from the mailbox database.

    select your Exchange server, and choose restore:


    In the data selection page, select the Exchange data and click next:


    In the following screen and for the sake of this part of the article select mailbox item and click next:


    In which mailbox and items do you want to restore, explore the database and mailbox to find the item you want to restore, in my case I want to restore the mail item “Test 5” which was in the administrator mailbox and I have deleted it:


    Select the location of the restore, in our case I will restore it to the original location (the administrator inbox):


    in the following screen, Select the options as per your restore preference, in my case I will select none and continue:


    In the additional tasks, you have the option to notify some users or run pre-commands, it is a nice option and new to Backup Exec 2012 “I Loved it”, in my case I will continue:


    In the summary page click next and then the restore job starts.

    Now if you believe that the restore will work, I would like to tell with a lot of joy it will not Open-mouthed smile.

    I spent 2 days trying to figure out the reason why the restore is not working, I was getting this misleading error:

    The job failed with the following error: Cannot log on to EWS with the specified credentials. Review the resource credentials for the job, and then run the job again

    I searched for the error and found a knowledge base from Symantec stating that I need to configure the service account in the form of “” not “domain\account”, I did that and even suspected in the SSL certificate and created a new one with no luck no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t work.

    so back to the basics, I read the BE admin guide, and went to the GRT restore part to find interesting statement:

    Backup Exec also creates an impersonation role and a role assignment for Exchange
    Impersonation. Exchange Impersonation role assignment associates the
    impersonation role with the Backup Exec resource credentials you specify for the
    restore job.
    Backup Exec creates and assigns the following roles:
    ■ SymantecEWSImpersonationRole
    ■ SymantecEWSImpersonationRoleAssignment

    and all of a sudden things started to make sense, to access EWS and restore item for another mailbox, you MUST have the impersonation rights, well powershelling my Exchange server, I didn’t find the mentioned roles, it looks like setup is broken and didn’t create them or they weren’t created on my server for a reason or another.

    to fix this issue, assign the BEadmin the impersonation permissions using the following cmdlets:

    1- Command to create a new role called SymantecEWSImpersonationRole:
    New-ManagementRole -Name SymantecEWSImpersonationRole -Parent ApplicationImpersonation

    2- Command to assign a user to SymantecEWSImpersonationRoleAssignment:
    New-ManagementRoleAssignment -Role SymantecEWSImpersonationRole -User Username SymantecEWSImpersonationRoleAssignment


    trying again I got a very nice error “again” Smile:

    The job failed with the following error: Cannot restore one or more mailboxes. The database that the mailboxes reside in is dismounted or is not accessible. Ensure that the server is available and that the database is mounted, and then run the job again.

    Honestly I was trying to restore the administrator mailbox, so I tried to restore a normal user and it worked Open-mouthed smile.

    Lessons learnt: don’t be misled by error messages, and it is always reading the architecture again and again for every feature you are using.

    by now you should be able to restore single item from your Backup Exec 2012 backup, next blog post will talk about restoring an entire database.

    have fun !!!

    How to Backup Exchange 2010 using Symantec Backup Exec 2012 #msexchange #Microsoft #Symantec #backupexec

    September 4, 2012 3 comments

    The Single Item Restore article has been Published here:

    I would like to continue my successful blog series on Backup and restore Exchange 2010, the previous 2 entries where the most visited entries during the past 5 months, I will continue with the Backup Exec 2012 and hopefully I will be able to reach netbackup later this month.

    so let us setup the stage:

    Configuring the Backup Exec 2012 Service Account:

    referencing my previous blog ;the backup exec service account requirement has not changed, below are the required permissions for the service account to perform backup and restore:

    1. For non-GRT backups (database only with no granular restore functionality) the logon account specified must be a member of the local Backup Operators group on the Exchange server
    2. For database only restores (database only with no granular restore functionality) the logon account specified must be a member of the local Administrators group on the Exchange server
    3. For GRT (Granular Restore Technology) enabled backups to disk (where the disk device is local to the BE Media Server and in the same domain) the logon account specified must be a member of the local Administrators group on the Exchange server
    4. For GRT backups to a tape device and ALL GRT restore operations, from tape or disk, the logon account specified must be a member of the local Administrators group on the Exchange server. In addition, the logon account must have a unique mailbox and the mailbox can NOT be hidden from the Global Address List. For Exchange 2003 the account must also be granted the Exchange Administrator, or Exchange Full Administrator role. On Exchange 2007 and 2010 servers the account must be granted the Exchange Organization Administrator role. Finally, for Exchange 2010 the account must also have the Administrator role on the AD Domain for AD access as part of the GRT operations.

    this is a screenshot for the BEadmin group membership:



    To Backup Exchange 2010 using Backup Exec 2012, you need to make sure that the Exchange management console is installed, you have to make sure that the EMC version is the same as the backed up server version.

    Installing the Backup Exec 2012 Agent on the Server:

    I got to admit that I was so impressed with the new BE interface, it was “WOOOOOOOOOOOW”, and they did good work with it, it is simple and intuitive and I managed to find everything super fast.

    there is now a new wizard for adding server, go to “backup and restore” node and select add from the servers section:


    from there you get the new add server wizard, you got 2 options either add server which you use if you have a single Exchange server or Microsoft Exchange Database Availability group and you use this option if you have DAG, in my lab I don’t have a dag so I will go with the add server:


    select enable the trust with the server:


    add the server:


    In the service account section, you can either choose to use the default system account or use another account, I configured the BE server to use my “beadmin” account as its service account so I will select the default account, but again and it is very important to make sure that this account has the required permissions on the Exchange server:


    In the next page, make sure to select reboot the server option if you want the server to reboot directly after the installation, otherwise you will have to reboot it manually it depends on your environment:


    then click install to install the agent.

    Configuring the Backup Jobs:

    I am configuring a normal backup to folder job, the actual media configuration is beyond the scope of this article.

    to create a backup job:

    1- Select the Exchange 2010 server in the section.

    2- open the backup node and select “Backup to Disk”


    Note: as per my knowledge this is the same steps you will use for tapes or network share backup

    you will note that BE detected the information store on the Exchange 2010 server, by default it will backup all the items on the Exchange server including all drives, system state and DBs on the server, if you want to edit it click edit:


    expand the information store section and select the desired database to backup:


    going back to the backup properties, in the backup details click edit:


    by default the backup job is configured to perform weekly backup and daily incremental, you might want to edit that as per your need, in my scenario I will be fine with only the full backup so I will delete the incremental step:


    also make sure to select enable GRT backup to be able to restore single mailbox or single item (if this is not selected you will not be able to restore mailboxes or mailbox items from the backup exec):


    the backup job is scheduled, you can see it by going to the Jobs section:


    to run it, select the job and choose run now, this will run the job immediately.

    after backup completion, go to the job history and confirm that backup completed successfully:


    Congratulations, you have completed your task backing up your Exchange server, in the next blog post we will explore the restoration options for the this backup job.

    How to Backup and Restore Exchange 2010 using Symantec backup Exec #Exchange2010 #backupexec Part1

    March 12, 2012 3 comments

    Part2 of this article can be found here:

    for Backup Exec 2012 version of this series, check my article:

    In this blog series we will explore the options and methods to backup and restore Exchange 2010 either single server or DAG using Symantec Backup Exec 2010, the reason I chose BE that there are a lot of questions about how to use BE to backup Exchange server and a lot of confusion about the different ways of backup and restore available with different products including DPM 2010, BE and other products.

    in this lab we will use the following lab configuration:

    • 1 Domain Controller.
    • 2 Exchange 2010 Servers SP2 running on Windows 2008 R2 SP1 in DAG.
    • 1 BE server that has media server and backup to disk configured.

    before we start in the actual steps, let me explain to you some fundamentals before you try configuring or using your BE to backup and restore your Exchange server:

    1- Permissions required to backup and restore Exchange 2010 Servers:

    Backup Exec server will not be able to backup your Exchange server out of the box, you need to grant the logon account used to access the Exchange server some permissions, this is the No. 1 source of errors on forums.

    Although Symantec documented it pretty well here a lot of people still missing it, thus let us mention it again (I have highlight in bold some important permissions)

    1. For non-GRT backups (database only with no granular restore functionality) the logon account specified must be a member of the local Backup Operators group on the Exchange server
    2. For database only restores (database only with no granular restore functionality) the logon account specified must be a member of the local Administrators group on the Exchange server
    3. For GRT (Granular Restore Technology) enabled backups to disk (where the disk device is local to the BE Media Server and in the same domain) the logon account specified must be a member of the local Administrators group on the Exchange server
    4. For GRT backups to a tape device and ALL GRT restore operations, from tape or disk, the logon account specified must be a member of the local Administrators group on the Exchange server. In addition, the logon account must have a unique mailbox and the mailbox can NOT be hidden from the Global Address List. For Exchange 2003 the account must also be granted the Exchange Administrator, or Exchange Full Administrator role. On Exchange 2007 and 2010 servers the account must be granted the Exchange Organization Administrator role. Finally, for Exchange 2010 the account must also have the Administrator role on the AD Domain for AD access as part of the GRT operations.

    you need to pay a careful attention to permissions needed to backup and restore the Exchange server.

    2- Log/Database Placement:

    whenever I went to a customer location, I found that they placed Logs on a LUN nad DB on another LUN, This of course is not optimum for some customers with large no. of DBs, also this breaks the benefits that comes with Exchange 2010 where we can place logs/DB on the same LUN, so what is the story?!

    If you don’t know, in previous version of Exchange the recommendations was to place logs on its own LUN and DB on its own LUN this was because Logs was using sequential writing and DB was using random writing (more information in my blog posts here and

    since Exchange 2010 Microsoft moved the writing behavior for DBs to be sequential thus offering a lot simplified deployment option by placing the DB/Logs on the same LUN, however for some reasons this wasn’t popular, but WHY?!

    It all goes back to a small thing called VSS backup, because in Exchange 2010 we cannot use streaming backup as before thus we need to do VSS backup, what is VSS backup, check here:

    In the past 3 years, whenever I went I found that organizations still using a LUN for a log and a LUN for DB, I believe that the reason was this statement:

    o use VSS to back up Exchange 2010 data, the backup application must be an Exchange 2010–aware VSS requestor. Exchange 2010 includes VSS writer for the Windows Server 2008 backup program that is Exchange-aware. However, that VSS writer only backs up whole volumes

    but if you continue reading:

    To achieve greater backup flexibility, organizations can use third-party backup applications having an Exchange-aware requestor that can work with individual Exchange databases, or create a custom requestor.

    the above 2 statements are clear but since they come sequential they caused confusion “in my own opinion”

    the statement is clear, the VSS plug-in that comes with Windows 2008/2008 R2 backs up the hall volume so in order to restore the database and logs separately you need to place them on different LUNs.

    however, if you will use a 3rd party tool like BE you can place the logs and DB on the same LUN, the VSS requestor that comes with Symantec BE can handle individual requests to individual DBs so you don’t need o place logs and DBs on separate LUNs.

    Note: This also applies for DPM 2010.

    So it looks that a lot of Exchange folks missed or didn’t understand the statement very well, thus they kept the configuration as it is.

    Note: Symantec still recommends using separate LUN for Logs, but I don’t know why!!!

    in the lab I have configured different configuration (DB and Logs on the same LUN, DBs on LUN and Logs on another LUN, DB on LUN and Log on another LUN) to see how it affects our backup/restore lab


    I have explain some notes regarding the lab before we begin, in the next part we will go and get our hands dirty.

    Till the next time.

    Is it ok to remove Exchange Server objects using ADSIEDIT #Exchange #Exchange2010

    February 17, 2011 2 comments

    usually when people facing a failed exchange server or failed installation, admins/consultants were using the ADSIEDIT tool to remove the Exchange server object from active directory, people were using this article

    I have seen an internal discussion that shocked me, for years I was using this article to remove failed Exchange2010/2007 Servers from AD, I know that I can use the recover option but it was fast and easy to use ADSIEDIT and as long it is ok to use it.

    The discussion was about how safe it is using ADSIEDIT to remove Exchange server object from AD, surprisingly the response was that it is not recommended for Exchange 2007/2010 to use that method, also the above KB only applies for Exchange 2003, and there is no documented way to manually remove Exchange 2007/2010 and the only way to do it is using the setup /m:recoverserver, Thus using ADSIEDIT is not recommended nor supported.

    Microsoft recommends only using ADSIEDIT only as a last resort if nothing works.

    I know that it was popular even on the forums to use ADSIEDIT, from now and on use it only if server recovery failed.

    more references:

    Recover an Exchange Server

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