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To deliver faster Exchange recoverability, admins may want to consider using hardware VSS providers that support full-volume copies. Full-volume copies let admins mount and present these volumes to Exchange with full read and write capabilities. Creating these volumes requires the backup software to support systems that can create mirrored volumes and to offer a hardware VSS provider that supports this functionality.

How one user established
Microsoft Exchange RPOs and RTOs

Mohamad Alkazaz, an IT and telecommunications manager at Saint-Gobain Crystals, Newbury, OH, explains how he established Exchange recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) for his company:

Survey users. By surveying his 250 users, Alkazaz learned the level of data protection he needed to provide for Exchange and how quickly he might need to recover Exchange data. The survey revealed that users ranked availability of Exchange over application databases and file servers, which helped him justify the level of data protection he implemented for Exchange.

Offer alternative recovery options for emails of different ages. Some users indicated they wanted immediate recovery of their emails; but by checking further, Alkazaz found they only wanted emails that were less than a week old recovered

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immediately (in less than 30 minutes). Alkazaz was able to justify backing up recent emails to disk to allow these recoveries to occur in the timeframe users expected. He also kept LTO tape in the mix because management and users were agreeable to waiting longer (four hours or more) for recovery of emails over one week old.

Understand your backup options. Alkazaz uses CA ARCserve Backup, which gives him two ways to back up his Exchange database: object-level and full backup. He opted for full backup because he never knew for sure which users would request restores. Though more cumbersome to restore than object-level backups, fulls backed everything up and took less time to configure.

Establish ediscovery and compliance requirements. Alkazaz considered using email archival software to complement his backup software, but found after discussions with department managers that they could address 99% of their ediscovery and compliance requirements with CA ARCserve Backup.

This was first published in September 2007

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