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Enterprise Vault Backups Best Practice

Created: 26 Feb 2009 • Updated: 03 Mar 2009 | 4 comments
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This best practise document discusses the inherent needs to securely backup operations Enterprise Vault servers to insure best available DR scenarios. With several very important information sources integrated with Enterprise Vault, it is critical that proper backups of this data be performed on a regular basis. This paper considers the impact this has on Enterprise Vault ways customers can easily implement a high degree of coverage for their archived content. It is important to understand that it is a Best Practise to regularly backup the components of your Enterprise Vault environment to insure that you have adequate DR protection as with any Tier-1 business critical application.

Scope of Document
This document is focused on Enterprise Vault, Microsoft SQL, Vault Store settings, and the indexes that are part of the environment as a whole. This document presumes a good working knowledge of your company backup products, schedules, and DR plans. The implementation, planning and use of actual backup software / hardware solution are outside the scope of this document however Best Practise recommendations to insure your DR plans protect your data in Enterprise Vault for use of your backup software are made. This document does not cover the backups of your server environment, but we encourage you to review and make sure as part of your Best Practises that your company uses. In the appendices to updated document are significant coverage to Symantec NetBackup as well as Symantec Backup Exec which are available options to insure your confidence in your investment with Symantec.

This document does not cover strategies for backing up Enterprise Vault File System Archiving Placeholders; for additional information regarding these files, please refer to the Enterprise Vault File System Archiving documentation.

Target Audience
This document is aimed at customers, consultants and support staff and it is assumed the reader has a good understanding about the architecture and operational aspects of an Enterprise Vault server, and their internal network and storage architecture. This document also discusses concepts related to Microsoft Server management, and expects the reader to either be skilled in this area, or have team member(s) who are.

We would like to acknowledge the contribution that other individuals made towards making this a successful and informative document. Contributions and feedback came from the following teams: Regional Product Management, Sr. Product Management, Technical Field Enablement, Engineering, Consulting, Business Critical Services, and our Customer Support Teams.

Backup Trends
Companies implementing Enterprise Vault typically purchase to solve one of several needs. They are either trying to offset the explosive growth of individual mailboxes, file server personal / shared areas, or insure relevant regulatory compliance in their country. Backing up your data to insure your company has an adequate safety net has long been the bane of the modern System Administrator, but lack of backups place a company at extreme risk in a DR (Disaster Recovery) situation. Because of implementing Enterprise Vault, a company must undertake a review of their existing backup schedules and plans, as archiving allows customers more flexibility and newer ways to have a safety copy.

Smaller companies with smaller Enterprise Vault environments have relatively straightforward backup requirements. The complexity of the backup requirement grows as the number of servers and amount of stored data grows. Given the advances in both large storage tape technologies such as DLT^2 and LTO, and disk systems that operate like tape or replicate, no two customers studied are performing their backups in a similar fashion. The one unifying similarity of Enterprise Vault customers regardless of size is that they are aware they have to insure for their internal &/or external customers a high degree of data availability. Both Symantec Backup Exec and Symantec NetBackup for the SME and Enterprise customers allow you great ways to maximise your backup coverage.

Enterprise Vault Infrastructure and your environment
As the landscape changes with the introduction of Enterprise Vault into your environment, it does not absolve one of the responsibilities to insure that adequate backups are in place. Given the data contained in Enterprise Vault is still just as valuable, just as important, it is Best Practise that you treat your Enterprise Vault server(s) as any other Tier-1 application server in your network. Because of installing Enterprise Vault at your site, you will observe (in many cases) greatly shortened backup times for the server(s) that Enterprise Vault archives from, but you will still need to make sure your DR position is strong by the scheduled backups of your Enterprise Vault data.

Backups vs. Archiving
Let’s begin by reviewing that many people are confused over the two terms “backup” vs. “archiving” and often wonder if there is any discernable difference. After all, is a backup not an archive in time, or a backup stored offsite considered an archive? It is absolutely true that both views are valid, but the line becomes clear when it is time to produce contact back from a backup. Backup media is not the same as a hard disk spinning online, and as such can and does suffer from media failure, inability to read / restore content, and data loss of the physical media. For the purposes of this paper, we focus on Archiving and the relationship with a sound backup strategy in a way we call “active archiving”. Active archiving differs from regular backups as it has indexed and represented the content in a way immediately available for recall, review and use without operator interaction. The very activity of having the content still stored, managed, and available replaces many mundane System Administrator tasks, and supplements end-user experience of their data being highly-available via “active archiving” as delivered with Enterprise Vault. There are two major Best Practises you have available to perform a backup of your important information stored in Enterprise Vault: data-only backups of the archived content, and data and application backups of the whole Enterprise Vault environment. We shall review both in this paper, and allow you as the reader to take a decision on which will be the Best Practise for your environment.

To read the complete article, download the PDF.

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Marianne's picture

Great document, but desperately looking for newer/updated version of this Best Practice doc (dated September 2008).

Supporting Storage Foundation and VCS on Unix and Windows as well as NetBackup on Unix and Windows
Handy NBU Links

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Glenn Martin's picture

Marianne - you're right to comment, this but the good news is that there is an updated document available, it was released last month.

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be-nugget's picture

maybe a bit weird but does a version of this document exist more specific to Backup Exec rather than NetBackup?


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Dushan Gomez's picture

Does this applicable to be applied with another vendor backup software with EV 8 SP3 ?

Dushan Gomez
IT Manager
VCP 4 and 5 | MCITP Exchange Server | MCTS SharePoint Server | MCP Windows XP

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