Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, Exchange and Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)

Article:TECH55131  |  Created: 2007-01-30  |  Updated: 2013-10-25  |  Article URL
Article Type
Technical Solution



Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, Exchange and Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)


Backup Exec System Recovery is a Microsoft-approved Exchange-aware VSS-based backup application for Microsoft Exchange. With Exchange Server 2003 or later, Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery alerts the Volume Shadow Copy Service that a backup is about to be created. VSS then communicates this information to Exchange. Exchange puts the Exchange database into a momentarily quiesced state, during which a brief snapshot is taken. While quiesced, data writes go to transaction logs in lieu of the database. Once the snapshot is done and verified (usually takes a few seconds), Exchange puts the database back into a live, non-quiesced state, the data from the logs are committed to the database then deleted, and the BESR backup file is written. (Note: If the option PERFORM A FULL VSS BACKUP is selected in the BESR backup job, transactions log files are deleted, as they are no longer required to roll forward from the last successful backup. If not selected, the logs remain on the server.)

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • BESR can be used to back up Exchange 2010 volumes, including those containing passive mailbox database copies. Passive mailbox database copies are backed up using a separate VSS writer in the Microsoft Exchange Replication service. However, the Microsoft Exchange Replication service VSS Writer doesn't support restores. Although you can back up a passive mailbox database copy with BESR, you can't perform a VSS restore directly to a passive mailbox database copy. However, you can perform a restore to an alternate location, suspend replication to the passive copy, and then copy the database and log files from the alternate location to the location of the passive database copy in the file system. For complete instructions on how to properly do this, please refer to the Exchange Server 2010 documentation.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
  • Symantec recommends creating BESR backups when the server load is at it's lightest.
  • Microsoft has addressed several issues with VSS in Windows 2003 Service Packs 1, 2 , and the VSS roll-up package ). It is critical that 2003 servers have these latest Microsoft service packs installed to ensure the integrity of the BESR backup.
  • Avoid performing BESR backups when the Exchange server is being heavily utilized. The integrity of a VSS backup could be jeopardized if a backup is performed while the server resources are being pushed to their limits before the backup occurs. If the resources on the server are heavily used, and a backup is necessary, throttle down the Progress and Performance option during the BESR backup. This will increase the amount of time it takes for the BESR backup image to be written, but will relieve stress on the system.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2000
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 is not VSS aware. An administrator will need to manually quiesce the database with a batch files. Batch files for 2000 Exchange servers are at the end of this document, and can be inserted into the backup job.

Sample Batch Command Files
The following are samples of batch command files that are used to stop and start a Microsoft Exchange 2000 database. To use, copy the contents of the sample script into notepad. Save the file as 'prebackup.cmd'. When creating a backup job in BESR, browse to this file during the job creation wizard on the COMMAND FILES screen, and use for BEFORE DATA CAPTURE.

Exchange 2000/2003:
net stop MSExchangeMGMT /yes
net stop RESvc /yes
net stop POP3Svc /yes
net stop IMAP4Svc /yes
net stop NntpSvc /yes
net stop SMTPSVC /yes
net stop MSExchangeES /yes
net stop MSExchangeIS /yes
net stop MSExchangeMTA /yes
net stop MSExchangeSA /yes
Then as STARTUP Batch file the end users would need to start each service they are currently using, i.e.
net start MSExchangeMGMT /yes
net start RESvc /yes
net start POP3Svc /yes
net start IMAP4Svc /yes
net start NntpSvc /yes
net start SMTPSVC /yes
net start MSExchangeES /yes
net start MSExchangeIS /yes
net start MSExchangeMTA /yes
net start MSExchangeSA /yes

Exchange 2007/2010
net stop msexchangeadtopology /yes
net stop msftesql-exchange /yes
net stop msexchangeis /yes
net stop msexchangesa /yes
net stop iisadmin /yes
net start msexchangeadtopology /yes
net start msftesql-exchange /yes
net start msexchangeis /yes
net start msexchangesa /yes
net start iisadmin /yes
Save the batch files and browse to them in the Define Backup Wizard.

Restoring Microsoft Exchange
No special steps need to be taken when restoring a recovery point of an Exchange server. As long as Exchange was quiesced or shutdown properly, the database should be able to start normally and be brought back online.

Supplemental Materials


Backing up VSS-aware databases using Backup Exec System Recovery

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