Accessing Exchange Data from Database Snapshots

Table of contents

Related Topics

SnapProtect Backup - Exchange Database

Use SnapProtect backup to create a point-in-time snapshot of the data using hardware storage arrays to provide snapshot functionality for data protection operations.

Overview

Snap mining allows you to protect data from an offline copy of the Exchange database. The offline copy is a point-in-time snapshot of the data to be used for data protection operations. With snap mining, impact to the Exchange Server can be reduced in a production environment thus improving performance.

Prerequisites

The following are prerequisites to using this feature:

Microsoft Exchange

  • Mailboxes that are mined from a Microsoft Exchange 2003 32-bit Server database requires the 32-bit Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent.
  • Mailboxes that are mined from a Microsoft Exchange 2007 64-bit Server or Microsoft Exchange 2010 64-bit Server databases require the 64-bit Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent.
  • Ensure that the Operating System on the computer on which the Exchange Server is installed and the computer where the snap is mounted is the same.

Create a Snapshot

A snapshot needs to be created for snap mining. It can be created before or after configuring the subclient for snap mining.

A snapshot can be created with SnapProtect backup using the NetApp storage array. For step-by-step instructions on creating a snapshot with the NetApp storage array, refer to SnapProtect Backup - Microsoft Exchange Database.

Configure Snap Mining

You can mine data from a snapshot directly on the computer hosting the snapshot or from a proxy computer.

Method 1: Mining on a Proxy

Running the data protection job on a proxy server improves performance as it offloads processing on the production Exchange server.

Select one of the following configurations to run a snap mining job on the proxy computer. Then configure the subclient of the Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent.

Configure on Source but Mine on Proxy

In this configuration, the Exchange Database iDataAgent creates the snapshot on the source computer. To run the snap mining job on a proxy but configure it on the source computer, install the following components:

Source Computer

  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Exchange Database iDataAgent
  • Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent
  • MediaAgent
  • VSS Provider (required for hardware storage arrays)

Proxy Computer

  • Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent
  • MediaAgent

The Exchange Database and Exchange Mailbox Agents are installed on same source client. The Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent is also installed on the proxy server so that the subclient is configured on the source client. Mounting of the snapshot and backing it up are performed on the proxy computer.

Configure on Proxy and Mine on Proxy

In this configuration, the Exchange Database iDataAgent creates the snapshot on the source computer. To configure and run the snap mining job on a proxy computer, install the following components:

Source Computer

  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Exchange Database iDataAgent
  • MediaAgent
  • VSS Provider (required for hardware storage arrays)

Proxy Computer

  • Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent
  • MediaAgent

The Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent is installed on the proxy server so configuration of the subclient content is performed on the proxy server. Mounting of the snapshot and backing it up are also performed on the proxy server.

Configure Subclient

A Snap Mining job is configured from a subclient of the Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent.

  • Regardless of the settings in Agent properties (General tab), the Deleted Item Retention will always be protected in a snap mining operation.
  • It is recommended to create one snap mining subclient for each database subclient, since only one subclient can mine from a snapshot at a time.
  • It is not recommended to mix snap mining subclients and traditional subclients within the same backupset. 
  • Snap mining can be performed for databases configured in the subclient in which Snap Mining is enabled.
  • Typically, the subclient is configured first before the snapshot is created.

Keep in mind that once snap mining is enabled for a subclient, it cannot be reversed.

1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click a subclient of the Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent and select Properties.

This subclient will be used to run the snap mining data protection job.

2. Click the Content tab in Subclient Properties.

Click Perform backup using mining off snapshot.

Select the Exchange DB client. This is the source computer where the Exchange Database is installed and where the snapshot was created.

Select the Agent that was used to create the IntelliSnap backup. In this case, it is Exchange Database.

Select the subclient on the source computer to use for mining the IntelliSnap backup in Exchange DB subclient to use.

If you configured the snap mining job on a source computer but to be run on a proxy, select Proxy Client and select the proxy computer from the drop-down list.

  • The content of a subclient that will be used for snap mining should not be manually assigned. If any mailboxes are assigned to a subclient before running a snap mining data protection job, they may not be included in the job.
  • If the target database for the snap mining data protection job contains a mailbox that currently exists in another subclient, it will not be included in the data protection job. It is recommended to remove it from the other subclient's content so that the next snap mining data protection job will pick it up.

Click OK to save your changes.

Method 2: Mining on a Single Computer

When running a snap mining job on a single computer, install the following components.
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Exchange Database iDataAgent
  • Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent
  • VSS Provider (required for hardware storage arrays)
  • MediaAgent

In this configuration, the Exchange Database and Mailbox iDataAgents are installed on the same computer, so creating the snapshot and configuring the subclient is performed on this computer. Mounting of the snapshot and backing it up are also performed on this computer.

Configure Subclient

A Snap Mining job is configured from a subclient of the Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent.

  • Regardless of the settings in Agent properties (General tab), the Deleted Item Retention will always be protected in a snap mining operation.
  • It is recommended to create one snap mining subclient for each database subclient, since only one subclient can mine from a snapshot at a time.
  • It is not recommended to mix snap mining subclients and traditional subclients within the same backupset. 
  • Snap mining can be performed for databases configured in the subclient in which Snap Mining is enabled.
  • Typically, the subclient is configured first before the snapshot is created.

Keep in mind that once snap mining is enabled for a subclient, it cannot be reversed.

1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click a subclient of the Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent and select Properties.

This subclient will be used to run the snap mining data protection job.

2. Click the Content tab in Subclient Properties.

Click Perform backup using mining off snapshot.

Select the Exchange DB client. This is the source computer where the Exchange Database is installed and where the snapshot was created.

Select the Agent that was used to create the IntelliSnap backup. In this case, it is Exchange Database.

Select the subclient on the source computer to use for mining the IntelliSnap backup in Exchange DB subclient to use.

If you configured the snap mining job on a source computer but to be run on a proxy, select Proxy Client and select the proxy computer from the drop-down list.

  • The content of a subclient that will be used for snap mining should not be manually assigned. If any mailboxes are assigned to a subclient before running a snap mining data protection job, they may not be included in the job.
  • If the target database for the snap mining data protection job contains a mailbox that currently exists in another subclient, it will not be included in the data protection job. It is recommended to remove it from the other subclient's content so that the next snap mining data protection job will pick it up.

Click OK to save your changes.

Run a Snap Mining Job

Run a snap mining job by selecting the subclient that was configured.

The procedure to run a snap mining data protection job is the same for all configurations, except for the configuration where the subclient is configured on the proxy server instead of the source computer.

1. Right-click the subclient that was configured and select Backup.  
2. Click Full backup type.  
3. Click OK.

You can track the progress of the backup job from the Job Controller window.

If you are using a stand-alone drive, you are  prompted to load a specific cartridge into the drive. If you are using a library, you will not receive this prompt. The system loads the tapes automatically. Your cartridges should be appropriately labeled. This will enable you to locate the correct cartridge for a restore job, if necessary.

Once completed, the details of the job can be viewed in the Job History window.

4. Run a Browse and Restore operation.  

View Job History

Once a snap mining job has completed, it may be useful to view specific historical information about the job, such as the following:

  • Items that failed during the job
  • Items that succeeded during the job
  • Details of the job
  • Media associated with the job
  • Events of the job
  • Log files of the job.

This information can be viewed in the Job History window. The history provided depends on the entity from which the job history is viewed. For example, viewing job history from the subclient level will yield information for the jobs performed for that subclient. Conversely, viewing job history from the instance level will yield information for jobs run from all subclients within that instance.

To view the backup job history:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the entity (client computer, iDataAgent, instance, or subclient) whose backup history you want to view, click View, and then click View Job History.
  2. From the Job History filter window select the filter options, if any, that you want to apply, and then click OK.

    The system displays the Job History window.

  3. Once you have chosen your filter options, they are displayed in the Job History window.

    To view the additional options discussed above, right-click the desired job choose the appropriate option.

  4. Click OK.

Best Practices

It is not recommended to use Regular Expression or Active Directory group auto-discovery affinity on a backupset which contains subclients configured for Snap Mining as the subclient content association may not behave as expected and some mailboxes may fail to be protected. In this case, it is recommended to use Database affinity as the auto-discovery method.

FAQ

  • Exchange 2010 message moderation approval requests may fail to restore if they were protected by a Snap Mining operation.
  • Mailbox Quotas are not supported by Snap Mining.

Keywords

Snap Mining, Mining Exchange Data, Exchange Snap Mining.