SnapProtect - Advanced Configuration - Exchange Database Agent

Table of Contents

Understanding the CommCell Console

The Exchange Database Agent uses one main component to perform backup and restore operations from the CommCell Console.

Agent - defines the Exchange Server to be backed up.

Subclient - defines the database to be backed up.

 

Preselecting a Backup Type

Applies to: Exchange 2003 or later

The backup type that was selected during installation can be changed.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click Exchange Database, and then click Properties.
  2. Click Incremental or Differential and click OK.
    • Differential - Specifies that each non-full Exchange database backup secures all data that has changed since the last full backup. Transaction logs are not purged.
    • Incremental - Specifies that each non-full Exchange database backup secures only that data that has changed since the last backup of any type. Committed transaction logs are purged.
  3. Right-click Exchange Database and click All Tasks | Backup All Subclients.
  4. Click Pre-Selected Backup Type and click OK.

    The next backup that is run must be a Full backup.

Creating User-Defined Subclients

Applies to: Exchange 2003 or later

By default, all databases are automatically assigned to the default subclient. However, you can divide databases across one or more user-defined subclients to leverage your backups efficiently.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the Exchange Database Agent on the source client, and click All Tasks > New Subclient.
  2. Click the Contents tab and then click Configure.
  3. Click Discover to display all databases.

    If a member server is grayed out in the results list please make sure that Exchange Database Agent is installed for the current release and the hostname of the client is configured using the FQDN 

  4. Alternatively, you can select and assign a range of databases to the new or existing subclient using the Change all selected databases/storage groups to list.
  5. Click OK.

Once a database is assigned to a user-defined subclient, it is automatically removed from the default subclient.

Configuring an Event Check

Applies to: Exchange 2003 or later

The Event Check option can examine the event logs for the Exchange application to ensure that these errors have not occurred before initiating a backup of the database. Any of these errors occurring in the Exchange application event log before the specified date and time will be ignored, and any found after the specified date and time will be logged.

This option can scan for the following file-level damage errors prior to continuing with the backup:

  • -1018 JET_errReadVerifyFailure
  • -1022 JET_errDiskIO.

Follow the steps below to enable the event check option:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the subclient you want to configure for Event Check, then click Properties.
  2. Click Use Event Check.
  3. Specify the date and time in the Last Event Check Time field. This will serve as the starting point to begin checking the Exchange application event log.
  4. Click OK.

Configuring Database Availability Group (DAG) Backups

Applies to: Exchange 2010 or later

Configuring Master Client

Prior to using the Exchange Database Agent in Database Availability Group (DAG) environments, you must configure a master client and select the appropriate server as follows:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the Client Computers node New Client > Application > Exchange DAG.
  2. In the AD Domain Name box, select the Active Directory domain name.
  3. Click Discover and enter the Active Directory credentials in the AD Server Credentials dialog box. These credentials can be either for the current domain or a preconfigured external domain.

    Click OK. DAG Member Servers are listed with their fully qualified domain name and will appear highlighted if the Exchange Database Agent of the current software release is installed.

  4. Select a server from the DAG Servers list.
  5. Select the Member Servers from the Member Servers list.
  6. Enter the Client Name.
  7. Click OK.

    The master client is created. All configuration, backup and restore operations will be initiated from the master client.

Configuring Manual DAG Server Selection

In a DAG configuration, you can configure to run backups from any of the available servers. Manual server selection facilitates backups of both mailbox and public folder databases.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to the Master Client's subclient, right-click and select Properties.
  2. Click the Server Selection tab.
  3. Select Manual selection and click Discover.

    A list of all discovered databases will be listed under Server Associations.

  4. Select the server from which you want to backup the databases.
  5. Click Ok.

Configuring Automatic Server Selection

In a DAG configuration, the default is to run backups from the next available passive server to enhance performance. However, in order to alleviate load from the passive copy you can configure to run the backups from the server with the highest number of activation preference. This is to ensure that the backup runs from such a server which will have less probability of becoming active in fallback cases.

For example in a DAG environment, if there is one active server and four passive servers and the active server goes offline or is unavailable then the next available passive server takes over all the processes. Database centric process are resource intensive and therefore running a backup job on the active server may slow down other processes. To avoid this situation you can configure to run the backups from server four, which is the last activated passive server.

Follow the steps given below to configure a passive server to backup the database if the active server is unavailable:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to the Master Client's subclient, right-click and select Properties.
  2. Click the Server Selection tab.
  3. Select Auto selection, then select Backup from passive copy.
  4. Select Use last activation preference to select passive copy.

    If there are no passive servers available, select Use active copy if no passive copy is available.

  5. Click OK.

Note that, automatic server selection enables backup of mailbox databases.

Discovering DAG Member Servers When the CommServe Cannot Access Active Directory

When you configure the Exchange Database Agent in a DAG environment, the CommServe connects with Active Directory to discover DAG servers. However, there might be a case where DAG is setup in a restricted environment and the CommServe is unable to establish a connection with Active Directory and discover the DAG servers. In such cases, you can configure a proxy that has access to the Active Directory and the CommServe.

Setup Proxy

Install the Exchange Database Agent on a computer that has access to the Active Directory and the CommServe. For instructions about on installing the agent see, Deployment - Exchange Database Agent.

Add Proxy

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the CommServe, and then click All Task > Add/Remove Software > New Client > Application > Exchange DAG.

    The Exchange DAG Client Creation dialog box appears.

  2. From the AD Domain Name list, select the appropriate Active Directory domain name.

    If no domain name was configured previously, you must enter the domain name and the appropriate credentials.

  3. Select the Use Proxy for DAG Discovery check box.
  4. From the Proxy list, select the appropriate proxy computer.
  5. Click Discover.
  6. If the AD Server Credentials dialog box appears, enter the Active Directory credentials.
  7. Click OK.

    DAG Member Servers are listed with their fully-qualified domain name. They appear highlighted if the Exchange Database Agent of the current software release is installed.

  8. From the DAG Servers list, select the appropriate server.
  9. In the Client Name box, type the client name.
  10. Click OK.

Modify the Member Servers of an Existing DAG Master Client

Use the following steps to configure a proxy, if you have already added a DAG environment to the CommServe and subsequently a new DAG server is added which is not accessible due to restricted Active Directory setting:

Setup Proxy

Install Exchange Database iDataAgent on a computer that has access to the Active Directory and the CommServe. For instructions about installing the agent see, Deployment - Exchange Database Agent.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the <DAG Client> and select Properties.
  2. In the General tab click Advanced.
  3. In the Member Servers tab select Use Proxy for DAG Discovery, select a Proxy computer from the available list and click Update.
  4. An updated list of DAG servers will be displayed in the Member Servers box.
  5. Click Ok.

Configuring Backups of Locked Databases

Applies to: Exchange 2003 and 2007

In some cases, it may be desirable to allow write operations on data being backed up to continue while the backup runs. Enabling VSS for backups provides this capability.

During a VSS backup, the free space needed on a volume for the shadow copy is related to the duration of the backup and the amount of changes being made to the data objects (files, databases) that are being backed up. VSS snapshots capture and copy disk blocks that are being changed by other processes while the backup for a particular object is running. If the backup runs longer, or there is a lot of disk activity (files or databases being changed). This causes VSS to copy more data blocks and therefore, use more disk space.

VSS can be enabled for backups of local volumes in both clustered and non-clustered environments. If the operating system fails to create a shadow copy of the data a traditional backup of the data will be performed, and a corresponding message will appear in the Event Viewer. A consistency check of the database integrity will be performed by the system prior to backing up the data, and if the integrity check fails then the backup will fail.

  1. Ensure the Exchange database is mounted.
  2. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the Exchange Database Agent on the source client and select Properties.
  3. Select Use VSS.
  4. Click OK.

Preventing Log Truncation During Backups

Applies to: Exchange 2003 and 2007

By default, log files are truncated during backups. However, it may be desirable to keep log files from being truncated to preserve their original state if needed during a restore. This can be accomplished using the Copy Backup feature.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the Exchange Database Agent , and then click Properties.
  2. Click Copy Backup.
  3. Click OK.

Configuring Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) Backups

Applies to: Exchange 2007

CCR backups continuously replicate the Exchange Database transaction logs residing on the active node of a CCR cluster to the passive node. In the event of failover, the replicated database will be available to users, which reduces the frequency at which full backups must be taken and the volume of backup data and media usage, as well as shortening the time it takes to recover from failure. No resources are shared and only one virtual server is used.

Follow the steps below to enable cluster continuous replication backups:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the Agent for the Exchange 2007 Database that you want to configure for CCR backups, and then click Properties.
  2. Select the Use VSS and Backup from replica check boxes.

    Select Backup on active node if passive node is unavailable if appropriate for your environment and if you intend to use backups from the active node to perform a CCR seeding operation of data to the passive node.

  3. Click OK.

    CCR options are configured. Subsequent backups for the agent will use VSS to perform a Shadow Copy backup of the replica database on the passive node of a CCR cluster.

Configuring User Accounts for Backups

Applies to: Exchange 2003 or later

The Exchange Agents require a user account that has Exchange administrator privileges to:

  • Perform backups and restores
  • Log on to the related server to access the data

Additional accounts should be established by the Exchange database administrator.

By default, a user account with Exchange Administrator privileges is provided during the Agent installation. You can change the user account at the Agent level.

Change User Account for the Exchange Agents

  1. From the CommCell Browser, expand Client Computers > client.
  2. Right-click Exchange, and then click Properties.

    The Properties dialog box appears.

  3. Click Change Account.
  4. Type the user name in the Exchange Administrator Account box.
  5. Type the password in the Password box and reenter it in the Confirm Password box.
  6. Click OK.

Change User Account for the Exchange DAG Agents

Applies to: Exchange 2010 or later

In the case of Exchange DAG clients, you can configure the Active Directory user account to discover DAG member servers.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right click the <Exchange DAG Client> and select Properties.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Click the Member Servers tab.
  4. Click Change User Account.
  5. Type the Active Directory user account in the User Name box.
  6. Type the password for the AD user account in the Password box and reenter it in the Confirm Password box.
  7. Click OK.

Modifying an Agent or a Subclient

There are several configurable properties available for your agent that can be modified from the agent or subclient level as per need.

It is recommended that you do not modify the properties of a subclient when a job is in progress for that specific subclient. If a job is in progress, either wait for the job to complete or kill the job from the Job Controller.

The following table describes the properties that can configured from the agent and subclient levels.

Option Description Related Topics
Change the Exchange Server Name You can modify the name of the Exchange Server.
  1. From the CommCell browser, right-click the Exchange Database Agent.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Select General.
  4. Type the Exchange Server Name.
  5. Click OK.
 
Change Storage Policies You can modify the storage policies in any of the following situations:
  • To include a different media for the backup operation.
  • To use a storage policy with a different retention criteria.

You can change the storage policies from the subclient level.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Storage Device.
  4. Select the Storage policy from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click OK.
Refer to Storage Policies.
Rename a Subclient

You can rename a subclient:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Type the new name in the  Subclient name field.
  4. Click OK.
 
Data Transfer Options You can configure the available resources for transferring data secured by data protection operations from the subclient level. This includes the following:
  • Enable or disable Data Compression either on the client or on the MediaAgent.
  • Configure the transfer of data in the network using the options for Network Bandwidth Throttling and Network Agents.

You can configure the data transfer options.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Storage Device.
  4. Click Data Transfer Option tab.
  5. Choose the appropriate software compression option for this subclient.
  6. Select Throttle Network Bandwidth and set the required bandwidth.
  7. Click OK.
Refer to Data Compression and Network Bandwidth Throttling.
View Data Paths You can view the data paths associated with the primary storage policy copy of the selected storage policy or incremental storage policy. You can also modify the data paths including their priority from the subclient level.
  1. From the CommCell browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Storage Device.
  4. Select Storage Policy from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Data Paths.
 
Configure a Subclient for Pre and Post Processing of Data Protection You can add, modify or view Pre/Post processes for the subclient. These are batch files or shell scripts that you can run before or after certain job phases.
  1. From the CommCell browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Pre/Post Process.
  4. Click one of the following phases and type the full path of the process that you want to execute during that phase. Alternatively, click Browse to locate the process (applicable only for paths that do not contain any spaces).
    • PreBackup Process
    • PostBackup Process
    • PreSnap Process
    • PostSnap Process
  5. Click OK.
  6. Select Run Post Backup Process for all attempts to run a post backup process for all attempts.
  7. For subclients on Windows platforms, Run As displays Not Selected.

    If you want to change the account that has permission to run these commands, click Change.

    1. In the User Account dialog box, select Use Local System Account, or select Impersonate User and enter the user name and password. Click OK.
    2. If you selected Local System Account, click OK to the message advising you that commands using this account have rights to access all data on the client computer.
Refer to Pre/Post Processes.
Configure Activity Control You can enable backup and restore operations from the agent and subclient level. However, you can enable restore operations only from the agent level.
  1. From the CommCell browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Activity Control, select or clear option(s) as desired.
  4. Click OK.
Refer to Activity Control.
Configure User Security You can configure user security from the agent or subclient level.

You can perform the following functions:

  • Identify the user groups to which this CommCell object is associated.
  • Associate this object with a user group.
  • Disassociate this object from a user group.
  1. From the CommCell browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Security.
  4. Select the appropriate user groups to which you want to associate to the CommCell object from the Available Groups pane, and then move the user group to the Associated Groups pane.
  5. Click OK.
Refer to User Administration and Security.
Enable and Disable Data Encryption When you configure encryption at the client level, it is configured automatically for all the subclients associated with all the agents installed on that client. If you want to disable or change the encryption at the subclient level, follow the steps given below:
  1. From the CommCell browser, right-click the subclient.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click Encryption.
  4. Select the desired encryption.
  5. Click OK.
Refer to Data Encryption.
View Software Version At the client level, the Version tab of the Properties dialog box displays the software version of the component.
  1. From the CommCell Browser, expand Client Computers.
  2. Right-click the appropriate client, and then click Properties.
  3. Select the Version tab.
  4. Click OK.
 
CommCell Configuration Report The CommCell Configuration Report provides the properties of the CommServe, MediaAgents, clients, agents, subclients, and storage policies within the CommCell based on the selected filter criteria.
  1. On the CommCell Console menu bar, select the Reports tab.
  2. Click Configuration.

    The Report Selection dialog box appears.

  3. Click Run.
Refer to CommCell Configuration.

Deleting an Agent or a Subclient

The following sections describe the steps involved in deleting an agent or subclient.

When you delete an instance or backupset, the associated data is logically deleted and you can no longer access the corresponding data from CommCell Console for recovery purposes.

Refer to the troubleshooting article on Recovering Data Associated with Deleted Clients and Storage Policies for information on how to recover data if you accidentally delete an entity.

Deleting an Agent

You need to uninstall or DeConfigure the agent software from the client computer before deleting from CommCell Browser. After you delete the client software, you can either leave the corresponding data intact for appropriate action or you can remove the data immediately. If you choose to remove the data immediately, you must delete the agent from the CommCell Browser. If you delete the agent, all of the agent's data is irretrievably lost.

  • You cannot delete an agent while operations for that agent are running.
  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | <Client>.
  2. Right-click the <Agent>, and then click Delete.
  3. A confirmation message is displayed with the following message:

    This operation will permanently delete the data backed up from this level and it cannot be restored.

  4. Click OK to continue with the deletion operation or click No to abort the deletion.

Deleting a Subclient

Consider the following before deleting a subclient:

  • You cannot delete a default subclient.
  • Schedules associated with the subclient are also automatically deleted.
  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | <Client> | <Agent> | <Backup Set>.
  2. Right-click the <subclient> that you want to delete, and then click Delete.
  3. A confirmation message is displayed, asking if you want to delete the subclient.

    Click No to cancel the deletion and retain the subclient, or click Yes to continue the deletion.