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Backing up Exchange 2010 using a tape drive attached to a 32bit server.

Created: 19 Nov 2012 • Updated: 18 Sep 2014 | 9 comments
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The problem I ran into since we moved to Exchange 2010 is that my BE 2012 server which is 32bit can not back up Exchange 2010 using GRT because it has to be 64 bit.

I am currently weighing options on how to resolve this situation.

Some ideas that have come to mind:

1) Installing BE 2012 on a 64 bit virtual machine and using the 32bit server (where BE is currently installed) to connect to the tape drive.
The problem here appears to be SCSI can not be used for Shared Storage Option.

The question I have is there any tools or plugins I can use to accomplish this.

2) Installing BE 2012 on a 64 bit virtual machine. Pointing all the backups to our SAN, then using the 32bit server to copy the information to the tapes.

The question I have here is does anyone know what kind of software I would need to accomplish this, or if its even possible. What are some drawbacks to this method? 

If you have any other input please feel free to comment. All help is greately appreciated. Thank you. 

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Donald Eady's picture

I dont believe that you would be able to see the tape device. But if windows is able to correctly see/identify the tape device then backup exec should be able to backup to it

I hope this posting was helpful


nmatveeev's picture

Is there any software that can write to a Overland NEO2000 Series Robotic Library.

If there is we could do backups on the SAN or some other storage media then immediately copy it onto the tapes and erase it.

pkh's picture

You do not have much of a choice here.  You have to use a physical 64-bit machine for your media server if you want to do GRT restores for your Exchange 2010 because you need to load the Exchange Management Tool on the media server.

The following are why your idea of using a virtual media server will not work.

1) The tape library has to be attached to the media server

2) Pass-through for virtual machines is not supported.

3) Even if you can back up to your SAN, you cannot just simply copy the backup sets.  See this document.

Reasons why copying backup to disk data files is NOT recommended.

nmatveeev's picture

Thank you for your reply. You mentioned "pass through for virtual machines is not supported". Can you please elaborate on that? Does that mean i COULD do it if I had a physical 64bit machine? Meaning my 32bit server (which is physical) serves as the connection the library.

When I talked to a Symantec tech support lady. Granted she did not speak english very well and I'm not 100% sure she understood what I was trying to do. She told me tha tI would need a NDMP license. I read about the NDMP license...

It looks like using NDMP I could use the 32bit machine that is connected to the tape library to serve as a tunnel for a backup exec server somewhere else on my network. It would go on a 64bit virtual machine.

So the setup is

64bit Backup Exec + 32bit machine connected to Tape library

You use the 64bit BE 2012 machine to back it up and you point the backup to a tape drive that is connected to the 32bit machine.

did I (or her) missunderstand what NDMP does? Is it possible to do it this way?

Thank you I really appreciate all your input. 

CraigV's picture

NDMP doesn't mean anything in the context of your problem here. It is a recommendation to use a 64-bit OS on which to install Backup Exec when backing up Exchange 2010 due to the management tools installation requiring a 64-bit OS on which to be installed.

If you can't resolve this, then you're going to be running an unsupported configuration, and even if you get it working you're not going to get much support around any potential issues. enlightened

In this case, pkh is quite correct in what he has said.


Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

nmatveeev's picture
First of all thank you for your reply.
Just wanted to double check. You're saying I CANT use NDMP to connect a tape library from a 32bit machine to a 64bit machine that is doing the backups.
I DO intend to backup Exchange 2010 using a 64bit machine that is running the 64bit management tools. The problem I have is that I can't connect it directly to the library. I wanted to use NDMP to connect the library using the 32bit that I currently have Backup Exex installed on.
I read this in an article by Symantec. Can't post the link because it keeps getting bounced for moderation.
NDMP - Filer to Filer (3-way)
In the filer-to-filer model, often referred to as three-way, the backup server uses NDMP over the LAN to instruct filer A to start backing up data to tape devices attached to filer B via either the same network or a private backup network. During the backup, information about files and directories written to tape is transferred from filer A via NDMP over the LAN to the backup server, where it is maintained in an index.
This is known as 3-way backup, since typically 3 hosts are involved as shown. (Figure 2)
The host running the NDMP client (1).
The host running the NDMP DATA server (2).
The host running the NDMP TAPE server (3).
pkh's picture

I don't know what article/document you are refering to.

If you want to do this

64-bit ----> 32-bit ---> Tape drive.

This configuration WILL not work in any version of BE.

This will work with the SSO option

64-bit ----> Tape drive <----- 32 bit

The tape drive have to be SAN-attached to both servers.

Colin Weaver's picture

NDMP Option will NOT help you (for multiple reasons)

1) NDMP is designed to backup data held on a support NDMP storage device such as a NetApp Filer or an EMC Cellera. You are trying to backup Exchange Information Store data owned by a Windows server

2) Even if the Exchange Information Store is contained within a LUN on an NDMP storage device, you cannot do GRT backups with the NDMP option, all you can do is backup the LUN as a single large file

3) Whilst the NDMP Option does support writing data to a tape drive attached to a Windows server, it does not support writing Windows Data to a tape drive attached to an NDMP storage device (as a 3-way)

The BE on a virtual machine idea will not help you because we do not officially support writing to tape devices passed through into Virtual machines, there have been some customers that have got this to work, however I believe there are more customers that have experienced unpredicatable hardware access issues.

With the exception of the NDMP and RMAL options, in order for backup Exec to use a tape drive, the tape drive MUST be physically connected to the media server, this can be over SAN, SAS, SCSI (as long as hardware itself is in HCL)

As you are already aware to backup Exchange 2010 with GRT the media server has to be 64 bit. This is also true if your Exchange server is virtualized and you are then trying to use either the VMware or Hyper-V agents

As such you only really have one option - Invest in 64 bit hardware to connect your tape library to, along with a 64 bit operating system and make it a media server by installing BE on it.

nmatveeev's picture

Thank you guys for your responses. I have a scheduled meeting with a tech from the company who sold us Backup Exec. It is looking like we have no choice but to invest in a 64bit server.

Once again I really appreciate all your input.