Summary: The blog provides an overview on Exchange native backup strategies that include Windows Server Backup and export to PST Files. It also defines the limitations of both the strategies and suggests a third-party professional utility to back up the Exchange Server EDB mailbox to PST and other formats.
Exchange Server infrastructure and architecture is constantly growing to meet the high end demands of IT arena. The largest communication platform by Microsoft keeps on introducing new technologies, advanced strategies, and built-in tools to move, transfer, and backup large scale data. Now, when it comes to backup, this implies bringing into focus the most widely held task of the Exchange environment.
Exchange is integrated with a couple of built-in solutions that are capable of performing full and incremental backup of mailboxes. As a matter of fact, the success parameters of all the built-in utilities depends on the mailbox volume, server specifications, and other related factors. Let’s discuss these utilities in detail in the upcoming section.
#1: Windows Server Backup
Windows Server Backup is a comprehensive package consisting of command line tools, Microsoft Management Console snap in, and Windows PowerShell cmdlets. It offers a complete solution for routine backup and recovery demands of end users. Windows Server Backup can be used to backup Exchange server (all existing volumes) selected volumes, specific files or folders, as well as the system state.
This utility can also be used for bare metal recovery to recover volumes, files, folders, the system state, and several applications. Bare metal recovery can be performed in the instance of disasters such as system failure or hardware inconsistencies due to which some or all data is lost.
Another major operation being performed by Windows Server Backup is to create and manage backup tasks on the remote computer. All the backup related tasks can be scheduled for automatic execution. Although, it performs huge operations, but is considered a basic backup solution for small and large business enterprises as well as small scale non-IT organizations and professionals.
Using Windows Sever Backup, you can either select to perform either a full VSS backup of the selected volume or a full server backup. There are several considerations that you must follow in order to use the respective utility. You must be a member of Administrators group or Backup Operators group to utilize Windows Server Backup. It does not support backup or backup storage on Clustered Shared Volumes.
To perform a full system recovery, backups must be used from the same version of Windows operating system that is being recovered. It is not possible to create brick level mailbox backup copies. Only NTFS formatted volumes can be backed up and backups cannot be restored on tapes.
#2: Export Mailboxes to PST Files Manually Undoubtedly, this is the easiest way to back up the Exchange Server mailbox. Not only is the data stored in an organized manner, but access is provided locally using MS Outlook client. The data can be converted to a PST file by navigating to the Exchange Admin Center, selecting the mailbox that needs to be exported and then selecting Export to a PST file option. You will need to perform the same sequence to backup each mailbox to PST. It is probable that you may lose some of the mailbox components if the procedure is not executed appropriately.
Bulk mailbox export operation can be performed using appropriate commands and scripts in PowerShell. There are a number of parameters that can be used to customize and filter mailboxes such as ContentFilter parameter. This approach to backup Exchange mailbox database is quite applicable as it is easier to execute and offers numerous benefit.
However, if you are exporting mailboxes using PowerShell scripts and cmdlets, it is vital that you possess all necessary permissions and rights. You need to have a thorough knowledge and understanding about executing the PowerShell cmdlets. It is not possible to view the items that are to be imported to the PST file.
Although the scripts are complicated and executes mailbox backup operation in an error-free manner, however, a single mistake while implementing the backup scripts leads to huge data loss, and in severe cases, complete deletion of mailboxes. The structure of the PST file may get damaged during the export process.
#3: Auto- Backup Exchange Mailboxes to PST The above mentioned methods to backup Exchange mailbox database through Windows Server Backup and Exchange PowerShell cmdlets are, undoubtedly, efficient yet they incorporate several drawbacks as well. Integrity of mailbox items and structure of incorporated folders may be compromised while executing the manual methods
In such cases, it is important to employ a proficient third-party application with the capability to backup Exchange mailboxes effectively. Stellar Converter for EDB is a proficient third-party solution that allows an error-free conversion of EDB mailboxes to Outlook PST. Since no direct and straight-forward solution is offered by Exchange to work effortlessly on all levels of complexities, therefore, employing a third-party tool becomes a more feasible option.
Here, you will not be required to backup full database or all the mailboxes and mailbox items. You can also backup individual mailboxes, single database, multiple mailboxes, specific emails, or any particular mailbox item using EDB to PST Converter tool. Not only the desired data backs up easily, but the disk space is also saved considerably.
Offline EDB files can also be migrated to live Exchange Server and data can also be exported to Office 365 format. Apart from this, the mailbox items can be exported to independent file formats such as HTML, RTF, PDF along with MSG and EML, which are accessible in different email clients, both on Windows and Mac machines.
The software supports all the versions of Microsoft Exchange including 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2000 and 5.5. The user centric interface with straight forward functional criteria makes the tool more scalable among Exchange DBA for executing conversion.
Conclusion Professional solutions like Stellar Converter for EDB provide extensive features over Exchange native tools in the arena of mailbox backup. The tool allows saving space on drive as selective items can be selected for backup and optimizes system performance to some extent.
All you need to do is evaluate and analyze your requirements, manage data, and assess the solution that perfectly matches the intended demands. Since, security of mailbox data is the priority whether you are preparing for legal matters or safeguarding mailboxes against future disasters.
Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.