This week I have been doing some tests with Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2007 (DPM). Data Protection Manager 2007 is a member of the Microsoft System Center family of management products, the product family that I work primary with. Focused on the primary Microsoft server workloads, DPM 2007 was specifically built to protect and recover SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Microsoft Virtual Server, as well as Windows file services. I have been testing protection of Microsoft Exchange 2007. You can find more info about DPM here.
ESEUTIL offload and log file database integrity
I configure my DPM server to do express full backup (all blocks that has changed since last express full backup, update the replica on the DPM server) every night, and synchronization every 15 minute. That will give me 96 recovery points per day, one recovery point for each full backup or synchronization.
To ensure consistent backups, DPM can run ESEUTIL against the Exchange data replica on the server. In other words DPM offloads the overhead from the Exchange server and still ensures a consistent, fully supported backup. After the synchronization is complete DPM sends a message to VSS on the Exchange server to truncate the logfiles. You can review this in the local event views on the Exchange server. You can also use the ESEUTIL determine which logs have been committed to the exchange database, this is good for troubleshooting scenarios. For example if you have the following logfiles on you Exchange server
and you run the ESEUTIL /mk command you can see that for example E02000000D0 is the first uncommitted log for the appropriate database, that means that all the C* log files will be truncated after the next synchronization. There will always be some log files in the folder , even if you have a idle Exchange server, a idle stand-alone mailbox server can generate up to 96 logs during a day. More info about that here
According to this KB you need to copy a number of files to your DPM server before it can run ESEUTIL. That is correct, but I never found an Exosal.dll file on my Exchange server and the database check seems to be working without it.
“Latest” recovery point
Another feature I tested is the “latest” recovery point. It means that DPM first will first restore the database to the latest syncronization, in my case 15-minute recovery point, then reapply all log files that are still on the Exchange server. I tried this by first sending an e-mail between two users, in a time slot between two synchronizations. I then shut down the Exchange server and removed the data volume. I added a new blank disk and restarted the Exchange server. From my DPM server I started the recovery wizard and selected “latest” as recovery point, for my storage group. When the recovery was complete and I started Outlook at my workstation I could see that the e-mail that I had sent between two synchronizations was in my inbox. That means that DPM had first restored the latest synchronization and then reapplied Exchange log files.
Recovering a mailbox
You can easy restore a mailbox with the recovery wizard. Double click the storage group, select a mailbox and click restore. Before you do this, note that DPM will not setup a recovery storage group for you. You will need to do that on your own and also configure the “database can be overwritten by restore” flag. When the database is restored, the work in DPM is finished. You now need to use Exchange tools to mount the database in the recovery storage group and recover the mailbox data. MS Exchange Troubleshooting Assistant in Exchange 2007 can help you with that, for example to merge two mailboxes. If you want to restore the mailbox to another mailbox (not the same GUID), for example if you deleted the mailbox and create a new mailbox for the user, you can use the “restore-Mailbox” power shell command. The DPM restore is always a mailbox database (edb) and log files. You need to use Exchange tools to get the data into a PST.
Last year I did a test on DPM System Recovery Tool. The DPM System Recovery Tool (SRT) is a tool within Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007. SRT helps you recover systems that no longer start at all. Instead of having to first restore the operating system, then install all patches, updates, applications and then restore the application backup, SRT can roll back a complete system. you can read about that here.