In Backups As In Life, You Get What You Pay For!

Most companies rely on Microsoft Exchange Server, and if your company is one of them, there’s a solid chance that downtime will cause you major problems.

In a previous article we talked about tips to protect Microsoft Exchange, we talked about offline  backups, a somewhat primitive backup method that has substantial limitations but still might be the right choice in some situations.



Today, let’s look at ways to achieve a smarter Microsoft Exchange backup. Let’s look into the pros and cons of another option, the Native Windows Server backup.


The Pros
As the name suggests, Native Windows Server backup is included with Windows Server. It gives you minimal data protection capabilities, including a baseline ability to back up the full Exchange data store.

Here’s one way it’s superior to offline backups: it doesn’t require you to take the database offline before backing it up. You can continue to use Exchange during the backup and you won’t have the hassles of narrow, restrictive backup time windows.

Here’s one more item for the “plus” category: Native Windows Server backups can be used to back up both physical and virtual machines.

The Cons
But, as you might have guessed, there are some drawbacks to the Native backup method (since it’s included in the purchase price of Windows Server, it fits the old adage “you get what you pay for”): the technology involved puts a lot of strain on the server and can cause performance to plummet.

So even though technically you don’t need to do your backups at night when Exchange isn’t active, in reality, a lot of organizations have to.

And here’s another potential drawback: Native Windows Server backup doesn’t let you restore individual items like deleted email messages.

There are other drawbacks you probably want to think about:

  • Recovery Speed – If you need the ability to recover data quickly, the native backup option isn’t for you. Recoveries are time-consuming. This is NOT the situation you want when the office manager is fuming and breathing down your neck because “my email’s not working”! 
  • Data Risk – Like its more primitive cousin, the offline backup, the native backup option can leave your data exposed to risk. If the server overhead means you have to run backups at night, a full day’s data is left not backed up until that night.
  • Off-site Storage – With Native Windows Server backups, your data is not automatically replicated off-site. You can rotate your backup tapes as part of an off-site storage plan, but if you do this as your primary form of data protection, it can be a real pain to manage; it can lengthen data recovery time as tapes are retrieved from the offsite storage location.

There are plenty of drawbacks and limitations you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re considering the native backup method. You’ll want to choose carefully. All things considered, it may or may not be the right option for you.

Just like we recommended if you are taking a look at the offline backup option, when you’re thinking about a native backup solution, consider it from every angle. Decide carefully if it’s right for your situation.

For more tips and information, see the eBook, Six Ways To A Smarter Microsoft Exchange Backup, which evaluates six different approaches you can take to protect your Exchange data. It can help you determine the right approach for your company. Download your free copy now!