Accessing Exchange Data from VMware Snapshots - SnapProtect for VMware

Exchange data, such as mail messages, can be restored from an offline point-in-time virtual machine snapshot to reduce impact to the production Exchange Server.

Support

Backup is supported for Exchange Server versions:

  • Stand-alone environments: Exchange 2003 and later
  • DAG environments: Exchange 2010 and later

Prerequisites

To mine Microsoft Exchange 2013 data, install Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012 on the proxy computer. For step-by-step instructions, see Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012.

Process for Mining Exchange Data

To mine Exchange data on a virtual machine, do the following:

Set Up Backup Proxy Computer and Exchange Server Virtual Machine

The addresses of both computers must be network resolvable.

Backup Proxy Computer

The backup proxy computer is used to create the snapshot of the Exchange data on the virtual machine. It also is used to run the snap mining job. This proxy computer must satisfy certain requirements, as listed in System Requirements. In addition, ensure that this proxy computer and the Exchange Server virtual machine are members of the same domain. On this proxy computer, install the following:

  • Virtual Server Agent.

    See Getting Started - VMware Deployment for installation instructions.

  • Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent (Restore Only).

    See for Deployment - Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent installation instructions.

    When prompted for the Exchange Server Name, enter the Mailbox server role. This role is used when performing backup and restore operations. If more than one role is entered, separate them with semicolons.

    Ensure that you also select the correct Exchange Server Version, or the snap mining job might fail.

  • MediaAgent.

    See MediaAgent Deployment for installation instructions.

  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) Snap-Ins and Command-Line Tools. This feature is used to remotely manage Active Directory Domain Services.
  • Microsoft Outlook.

Exchange Server Virtual Machine

This virtual machine has the Exchange data that you wish to mine. The Exchange Server has already been installed on this machine. Install the following:

  • Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent.

    See Deployment - Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent for installation instructions.

    When prompted for the Exchange Server Name, enter the fully-qualified name of the Exchange Server (e.g., exchange.vm.company.com)installed on the Exchange Server virtual machine. Ensure you also select the correct Exchange Server Version, or else the snap mining job may fail.

    Restore Only Windows File System iDataAgent is installed automatically on the Exchange Server when you install Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent.

  • VMware Tools (latest version).

    See http://downloads.vmware.com/ for more information.

  • VSS Provider.

Configure Virtual Server Agent and Discover Exchange Server Virtual Machine

Once the Virtual Server Agent is installed on the proxy computer, create a vCenter client and a subclient to backup virtual machines in a vCenter. The following sections provide the necessary steps to configure a subclient to perform the SnapProtect backup of the Exchange Server virtual machine:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click Client Computers node and select New Client | Virtualization | VMware vCenter.

  2. Enter the vCenter Host Name.

    Enter the username and password associated with the Virtual Center.

    Click Add to select a proxy for backup.

    Ensure that vCenter permissions are configured as described in Permissions for Custom User Accounts.

  3. Select a proxy from the Exclude list.

    The list displays all clients that have the Virtual Server Agent installed and all client groups. You can select one or more clients or client groups. When you select a client group, ensure that at least one client in the group has the Virtual Server Agent installed.

    When you are creating a VMware vCenter client for an SnapProtect backup, select only one proxy.

    Click Include or Include All.

    Click OK.

  4. Click OK.

    If you select multiple proxies while configuring the VMware vCenter client, only the first proxy (coordinator) will be used to perform the backup. If the first proxy is not available, the next available proxy in the list will be used to perform the backup.

    Ensure the following when you select proxies for the VMware vCenter client:

    • The first proxy has MediaAgent installed on it. If the first proxy does not have MediaAgent installed, change the order of proxies.
    • While configuring the storage policy for SnapProtect backup, the first proxy is selected as a MediaAgent.

  5. From the CommCell Console, navigate to the <vCenter client>.

    Right-click the <vCenter client> and click Properties.

  6. Click Advanced.

    Select the Enable SnapProtect option to enable SnapProtect backup for the client.

    Click OK to save the configuration.

  7. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | <vCenter Client> | Virtual Server | VMware.

    Right-click the defaultBackupSet and click New Subclient.

  8. Enter the Subclient name.

    By default the Transport Mode for VMware is set as Auto. Depending upon proxy computer used for backup and virtual machines included in the backup, the transport mode is automatically selected. If you want to use a specific transport mode, select one of the following:

    • SAN
    • Hot Add
    • NBD
    • NBD SSL

  9. Click the Content tab.

    Click Browse.

    Navigate to the Exchange Server virtual machine you wish to mine and select the machine.

    Click OK.

    The selected virtual machine appears in the Contents of a subclient list.

  10. Click the SnapProtect Operations tab.

    Select the SnapProtect option.

    Select a snap engine from the list of Available Snap Engines list.

    Click Select ESX server for snap mount and select a host. During backup copy or restore operations, the snapshot will be mounted on this host.

    When you select the host ensure the following:

    • The ESX server version installed on the host server is the same as or higher than the ESX server version installed on the production server. For example, if the production server has ESX 5.0, the selected host must be ESX 5.0 or higher.
    • The ESX server that is used for the snap mount must be part of the same vCenter where the SnapProtect backup was performed.

    To avoid scanning all ESX servers in a cluster when unmounting snapshots, use a standalone ESX server to mount a snapshot.

    Note: To mount a hardware snapshot to a proxy ESX server that is part of a VMware cluster, configure the nClusterMount additional setting on the Virtual Server Agent proxy to ensure that snapshots are properly unmounted when the operation is completed. All ESX servers in the cluster are scanned when unmounting snapshots.

  11. Click the Backup Options tab and perform the following:
    • Select the Quiesce Guest File Systems and Applications check box.
    • Select Application aware backup  for item based recovery option to enable snap mining for the selected subclient.
    • Optionally, select the Truncate Database Logs option to prune Exchange Database logs that are no longer needed and prevent them from growing to an unmanageable size.  This is recommended.
    • Select Perform Datastore freespace check and indicate the amount of freespace required (for example, 10%).
  12. Click the Storage Device tab.

    Select a Storage Policy that has a Snapshot Copy.

    Click OK.

    If you do not have Storage Policy created, continue with Step 13.

  13. To create a storage policy, you must have configured a library in the CommCell.

    DISK LIBRARY CREATION:

    1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Storage Resources, right-click the Libraries, point to Add and then click Disk Library...

      Alternatively, you can also navigate to MediaAgents, right-click <MediaAgent>, point to All Tasks | Create Library and then click Disk Library...

    2. From the Add Disk Library dialog box, specify the following:
      • In the Name box, specify name of the disk library.
      • From the MediaAgent list, select the MediaAgent.

      Perform one of the following:

      • Select Local Path if you wish to specify a local path in the MediaAgent computer.

        In the Disk Device box, type the name of the folder in which the disk library must located or click button to select the folder.

      • Select Network Path, if you wish to specify a network path as the target share.

        In the Connect As box, type the user name.

        In the Password and Verify Password box, type the password to access the network share.

        In the Folder box, type the mount path or click button to select a mount path.

      • Click OK.
    3. The newly created disk library will be displayed under Libraries node.

    Storage Policy Creation:

    1. Click Create Storage Policy.
    2. Follow the prompts displayed in the Storage Policy Wizard. The required options are mentioned below:
      1. Select the Storage Policy type as Data Protection and Archiving and click Next.
      2. Enter the name in the Storage Policy Name box and click Next.
      3. From the Library list, click the name of a disk library to which the primary copy should be associated and then click Next.

        Ensure that you select a library attached to a MediaAgent operating in the current release.

      4. From the MediaAgent list, click the name of a MediaAgent that will be used to create the primary copy and then click Next.
      5. For the device streams and the retention criteria information, click Next to accept default values.
      6. Select Yes to enable deduplication for the primary copy.
      7. From the MediaAgent list, click the name of the MediaAgent that will be used to host the Deduplication database (DDB).

        In the Location box, type the name of the folder in which the DDB must be located or click the Browse to select the folder, and then click Next.

      8. Review the details and click Finish to create the Storage Policy.

     

    Snapshot Copy Creation

    The following section provides step-by-step instructions for creating a Snapshot Copy for a Storage Policy.

    1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Policies | Storage Policies.

      Right-click the <Storage_Policy> and click All Tasks | Create New Snapshot Copy.

    2. Specify the following to create a Snapshot Copy:
      1. Type the Copy Name in the Copy Name box.
      2. From the Library list, select the name of Library.
      3. From the MediaAgent list, select the name of a MediaAgent.
      4. From the Drive Pool list, select the name of a Drive Pool.
      5. From the Scratch Pool list, select the name of the Scratch Pool.

        Drive Pool and Scratch Pool are not applicable for disk libraries.

      6. Click OK.

    The newly created Snapshot Copy can be associated with the subclient from which the snap backup is performed. In this case, the Snapshot Copy acts as the primary copy and therefore will contain only the metadata information associated with the snapshot Backup.

Perform the SnapProtect Backup of Exchange Server Virtual Machine

Follow the steps given below to perform the SnapProtect backup of the Exchange Server virtual machine.

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers | Virtual Server.
  2. Right-click the subclient and click Backup.
  3. Click Full.
  4. Click OK.

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

Configure and Run Snap Mining Job

The following steps are performed on the Exchange Server virtual machine.

You cannot run a Snap Mining job and a Backup Copy job in parallel with the Virtual Server Agent.

Once snap mining is enabled for a subclient, it cannot be reversed.

Configure the Subclient of the Exchange Mailbox iDataAgent

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers | <Exchange server client> | Exchange Mailbox.
  2. Right-click a subclient and click Properties.
  3. Click the Mining tab.
  4. Select the Perform backup using mining off snapshot check box to enable the mining and click Yes on the Warning message.
  5. Once you enable the mining for a subclient, you cannot disable it.

  6. Choose the client computer on which the snapshot was created in Client.
  7. Choose Virtual Server as the Agent that was used to create the snapshot. 
  8. Choose the instance of the Virtual Server Agent that was used to create the snapshot.
  9. Choose the backup set of the Virtual Server Agent that was used to create the snapshot.
  10. Choose the subclient of the Virtual Server Agent in subclient to use that was used to create the snapshot.
  11. Click Proxy Client and from the pulldown menu, select the proxy computer that will be used to run the snap mining data protection job. You must choose a proxy computer for running the data protection job; it cannot be run from the Exchange Server virtual machine itself. If desired, an additional proxy computer could be used for running the data protection job instead of the backup host proxy. It would have the same requirements as the backup host proxy.
  12. Click OK.

Perform the Backup Using Snap Mining

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers | <Exchange server client> | Exchange Mailbox.
  2. Right-click a subclient and click Backup.
  3. From the CommCell Console, right-click the subclient and click Backup.
  4. Select Full as backup type and Immediate to run the job immediately.
  5. Click OK.

Browse and Mine Exchange Data

The following steps are performed on the Exchange Server virtual machine. Browse and mine Exchange data as follows:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the subclient and click Browse and Restore.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Select data to restore in the Browse window and click Recover All Selected...
  4. Click one of the following in the Restore Options window:
  • Click To Mailbox to restore data to a mailbox. Choose whether to restore to original or different client computer and the same or different path.
  • Click To PST to restore the data to a PST file. Choose whether to restore the PST file to a local or network drive.
  1. Click OK.