There has been a considerable amount of confusion about backing up Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008 and whether BackupAssist will support this.
We too have seen a LOT of conflicting information on the Internet. In this blog post, I hope to clarify the situation.
The Short Version:
Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 RTM does not support the backup of Exchange Server.
However, Microsoft are working on a plug-in that will allow Windows Server Backup to properly backup Exchange 2007 on Server 2008.
They report that it will be released in Summer 2008 (Northern Hemisphere). As soon as we find out about its release, we will update this blog entry. As soon as MS supports this, then so will BackupAssist.
Note: Our testing of SBS 2008 RC1 indicates that Windows Server Backup does interface with Exchange.
The Long Version:
Although Windows Server Backup is a VSS-based backup application, and Exchange is VSS-aware, there are “additional requirements for Exchange backups and restores beyond using the VSS Framework; for example, checking the database and log files for corruption during backups is not part of the VSS Framework”
In the initial RTM release of Windows Server 2008, Windows Server Backup did not perform these additional requirements for backing up Exchange 2007. Therefore, Exchange 2007 could not be backed up by Windows Server Backup.
However, it looks like MS ran into huge amounts of criticism over, and a plug-in will be released shortly that addresses it.
Quoting from Scott Schnoll’s blog:
“I announced that sometime this summer, Microsoft will be providing a VSS-based plug-in for Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 that will enable customers to take Exchange-aware, VSS backups on Windows Server 2008. I don’t have a lot of details to share beyond this.”
“In short, NT Backup was replaced with Windows Server Backup (WSB) which unlike NTbackup, did not support ESE streaming backups of exchange. While WSB supports backup/recovery of any application including 3rd party apps using VSS and a plug-in model, for reasons outside the control f the Windows or the Exchange team, the out-of-box-experience of Windows Server 2008 did not include the support for backing up and recovering Exchange. Both the Windows and the Exchange team heard a lot of feedback and criticism over a decision that neither team was responsible for. As a result of the large amount of feedback we received on this issue, we have decided to ship a plug-in for WSB created by Windows and the Small Business Server (SBS) team that enables VSS-based backups of Exchange.”