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Configuring GRT based Exchange Backup using vmware backup policy

Created: 21 Feb 2013 • Updated: 30 Apr 2013 | 7 comments
mohsinmansoor's picture
This issue has been solved. See solution.

Hi All,

I am using Netbackup version with Master server running on AIX and Media server running on windows 2008. All versions are I want to configure backup of Exchange using vmware backup policy with GRT support and the backup should also truncate logs from Exchange.

Looking at the technotes it seems to simple as to just configure backup of the vm holding exchange servers and it will backup Exchange. Please advise is it that simple or do i have to configure some other parameters as well?

Looking forward to your comments.

Operating Systems:

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RamNagalla's picture


in additing to general VMware policy config.

you would need to install the Nebackup Client on the Exchage server and also the  Symantec VSS provider on the virtual machine

see the below note from Vmware guide. 7.5  page 56

This option enables recovery of the Exchange databases or mailbox messages from the

virtual machine backups. If this option is disabled, you can recover the entire virtual machine
from the backup, but you cannot recover the databases or mailbox messages individually.
To use the Enable Exchange Recovery option, note:
■ The Enable file recovery fromVMbackup option must be enabled.
■ The Enable block-level incremental backup option must be disabled.
For more information, refer to the NetBackup for Microsoft Exchange Server Administrator's
For Exchange, this option truncates the transaction logs when the snapshot of the virtual
machine is complete. Truncating the logs frees up disk space in the virtual machine.
Note: To use this option, install the Symantec VSS provider on the virtual machine. For
instructions on how to install the Symantec VSS provider, refer to the NetBackup for
Microsoft Exchange Server Administrator's Guide.
If you do not select Truncate logs, the logs are not truncated.
Mark_Solutions's picture

I think you will find that GRT via a VMWare Policy is for standalone servers (So single Exchange Server, single Sharepoint Server or single SQL Server)

It won't cope with a dispersed DAG type environment

You also do need to install the NetBackup Clients on the server in question (using the appropriate service accounts) and the Symantec Shadowcopy Provider

So yes simple - but it has limitations and does need some setup

Authorised Symantec Consultant . Expert Partner.

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rawilde's picture

The VMware policy can protect any type of Exchange installation.  Exchange 2007 CCR clusters along with Exchange 2010 DAG nodes.  By default it will protect the active Databases on the given VMguest.  There is a technote out there if you prefer it protect the passive copies of a DAG instead of the active copies.

rawilde's picture

If you want to do a GRT browse or restore, the image has to be duplicated back to disk.  Or you can perform your backup to disk and the execute a "bpduplicate -bc_only" command (this builds the GRT catalog) and then duplicate it to tape.  Your Exchange catalog will now contain all of the GRT data.

toady777's picture

Hi All,

I've implemented this,  and to get GRT restores to work from a v-sphere GRT backup for a DAG, you need to do the following:

  • Install the NBU client on all MBX and CAS servers
  • Install NFS client on all MBX and CAS servers
  • Create an NBU service account and run all 3 NBU client services with it on every client (account@domain in "log on as"- not domain\account)
  • Install NFS server on your media servers
  • Install Symantec VSS provider in all the MBX and CAS servers (and reboot them - doesn't allways "take")
  • Create the DAR (distrib application restore) entries on master server properties and have ALT_NAME files for DAG name (No.Restrictions helps here)
  • Run a vmware backup with the collect exchange GRT checked (should have "grt restores are possible in the details of the backup and be exit status 0) - to a DSU/MSDP STU
  • Make sure you have host entries for CAS array name that points to a CAS server if you have a hardware load balancer
  • Restore from the master or a CAS server

The restores are carried out as normal exchange restores via the LAN - so the master must be able to see cas and mbx servers over the lan (through firewalls - via backup networks etc).

The image is mounted on a CAS server via NFS presented from the media server, and the NBU client know how to pull the exchange mails from the vsphere backup image (if GRT info was collected).

Also DNS must be really solid (short, long and reverse should all work) 

Images can be stored on tape (there is a box somewhere to check on master server properties to preserve the GRT info in the image), but can only be restored from DSU/MSDP and some OST Storage units (Quantum DXi - yes/ Data Domain - no) 

rawilde's picture

This looks pretty good.  I would like to make 2 additional points.

1) For VMware policies, there is no GRT option or check-box to select in the policy. With a VMware backup, Exchange and SharePoint automatically collect GRT information if either is checked for application protection on the vmware tab.

2) Unlike a normal Exchange policy, Client for NFS is not required to be installed on all mailbox or CAS servers during backup.  No NFS interaction is done until you browse or perform a restore.  And in that case, these operations may only take place on the CAS server (if you set your destination client to a CAS).  So it is conceivable that you only need to install NFS requirement on the CAS servers.  Does that make sense?