First Exchange Archive Task Performance
The first time an Exchange archive task is run, it will find a large number of mail messages that are valid candidates for archiving. This can result in an Exchange archive task taking a substantial amount of time to finish the first time it is run. Subsequent runs of the Exchange archive task will only pick up messages that became eligible since the last run, and will not take as long.
It is advisable to plan around the first run of Exchange archive tasks by scheduling it to run over the weekend or over a longer block of available time. Another approach would be to add mailboxes to archive tasks in phases rather than all at once.
Archive Task Scheduling Recommendations
Schedule your archive tasks to run after full backups. Because archive tasks source data from backup images, by scheduling archive tasks to run after full backups they run faster since they process the latest full backup rather than a chain of incremental backups going back to the latest full.
Schedule your archive tasks so that they run outside the backup window. Because archive tasks source data from backup images, archive tasks impact the backup server and not production systems. Scheduling archive tasks to run outside the backup window allow them to make full use of backup server processing cycles and prevent scheduling conflicts between backup tasks and archive tasks.
General Best Practices
Emails Must Be Backed Up Before They Can Be Archived
Due to the unique implementation of archiving capabilities within Backup Exec 2012 SP2, only data that is being protected by Backup Exec 2012 SP2 through backup jobs can be archived. If no backup job exists to protect the Exchange server in question, the email data associated with that Exchange server cannot be archived.
In Backup Exec 2012 SP2, archiving tasks are implemented as an additional stage to a backup job. Archiving tasks will only employ archiving rules against source data from the backup job of which they are a part. When adding an archive stage to a backup job, it is advisable to configure the backup job to be the most compatible with archiving, such as storing backups to disk rather than directly to tape.
The Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option does not support archiving data from backup sets stored only to tape.
The Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option does not currently support clustering. It will install to a Backup Exec 2012 SP2 server that is a cluster node, but it will not be allowed to join the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 cluster.
For the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option, the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 server must be in a domain. For configurations involving multiple domains, the domain of the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 services account must be trusted by the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 server domain as well as the domain of the Exchange servers targeted for archiving.
In addition, the BE services account must be granted permissions on each Exchange server targeted for archiving tasks. The Administrator’s Guide lists additional details in regards to the permissions that need to be provided to the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Service Account on Exchanges mailboxes in order to enable archiving. Please refer to the Administrator’s Guide for additional details.
Email Archiving Rules
When configuring an email archiving task as a part of a backup job, Backup Exec 2012 SP2 administrators can choose from several options to ensure that archiving processes match the needs of their environment. Rules include the following additional options:
- Email age
- Email size
- Whether or not to only archive emails with attachments
- Whether or not to apply archiving rules to unread emails
Exchange Email Archiving Rules
Archive Data Copied from Backup Sets, Not Original Server
When performing archiving tasks that move old or large emails from primary storage to secondary or tertiary storage, Backup Exec 2012 SP2 does not transfer data directly from the production Exchange servers to the archive. Instead, Backup Exec 2012 SP2 scans associated backup sets managed by the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 server for emails to be archived and copies the data from the backup set to the associated mailbox archive. This moves archiving I/O to the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 server, greatly reducing the performance impact of archiving processes on production servers.
It kind of goes without saying that due to this unique archiving implementation, only Exchange servers and associated mailboxes that are backed up by Backup Exec 2012 SP2 can be archived using the Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option. If no backup jobs exist to protect a certain Exchange server, it cannot be a candidate for archiving, but you’d be amazed how many people forget that and treat the archiving bit of Backup Exec as a standalone – it is integrated after all!
Integrated Data Deduplication
Backup Exec 2012 SP2 supports two types of data deduplication. One is block level deduplication and applies to backup data captured and stored to a deduplication disk storage device. The other is Single Instance Storage (SIS) deduplication and applies to the integrated archiving technology available in the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 archiving options.
The archiving technology within Backup Exec 2012 SP2 is based on Enterprise Vault 9.0. One of the benefits of this technology is the form of deduplication known as Single Instance Storage (SIS). By default, SIS deduplication is enabled for the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Archiving Option.
SIS deduplication technology ensures that only one copy of an email object or attachment is kept within a vault store. If an archive task processes an email or attachment that matches the fingerprint of an object already in the vault store, the archive task does not store that object again.
The SIS deduplication technology within the archiving features of Backup Exec 2012 SP2 applies across all partitions and archives within and across vault stores.
Single Instance Storage Diagram
It’s important to note that SIS deduplication technology applies only to the archiving capabilities of Backup Exec 2012 SP2 and only adds storage optimization to the vault store. Additional storage benefits can be gained by installing the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Deduplication Option, which adds block-level deduplication (and associated storage optimization) for the deduplication disk storage device to which backup sets are stored.
Very loosely, we were instructed to delete everything pre dot com bubble bursting (2000), keep everything post and now we are fast running out of data centre disk allocation space, err?
In fact it’s wonder we manage to do anything given the amount of information we need to process. As a consequence we are now facing a greater threat – too much information. There are somewhere between 60 to 160 Billion mails sent around the world every single day. These emails include attachments such as reports, presentations, letters and pictures. In spite of the limitations such as privacy and too much unwanted mail, email is the best way to communicate efficiently, quickly and cheaply. The danger with email, as with any other way of sharing information, is that too much information simply clogs the system up and become a bottleneck to productivity.
Here are some useful top tips that may help:
- Understand the new business user – organisations must better understand the challenges employees are facing when navigating the world of information management. Look at when and how employees are accessing their information, make sure that data is indexed and categorised, and that intelligent archiving and search tools are available
- Prepare the infrastructure – with the relentless flow of information only set to continue, IT infrastructure must be able to cost effectively manage the increasing requirements for storage by implementing solutions able to dedupe and archive appropriately, automate processes and monitor and report on system status across all different devices and environments
- Prepare people – create IT policies that educate employees on how to manage their information – from email practices like limiting the ‘CC’ and ‘reply to all culture’, to saving only the latest document version and overcoming the fear of the delete button. Help employees understand the company’s information retention strategy so they know what information is recoverable. This will empower them to take charge of information control and maintain productivity and efficiency
- Keep security front of mind – it seems like an obvious statement, but reinforcing company security policies around mobile devices could protect against significant and damaging data loss. Make sure employees know the company processes and take advantage of technologies that enable the IT department to see where the most important information is, at all times
- Encourage staff to switch off – with the information era in full swing and with more and more opportunity for employees to stay connected at all times, it’s important that organisations support staff welfare and encourage them to switch off every once in a while
Seriously consider optimising your storage to reduce overall front end storage usage. Improving capacity can be done through integrated archiving and deduplication as well as tiering your storage. Archiving moves old data to a separate store so you don’t have to backup the same data day-in, day-out – forever. Deduplication only backs up data (at a block level) once, using a pointer to the unique data. So you can both reduce the amount you backup as well as dramatically reducing your backup window with archiving and data deduplication.
But, I hear you say, if I implement deduplication technology what are the benefits? Well, Backup Exec can help with that too. Read all about the Backup Exec Deduplication Assessment Tool in Part III.
- Unite Virtual and Physical: Powered by Symantec V-Ray technology, Backup Exec 2012 enables visibility across both virtual and physical environments for fast and efficient backup and recovery while eliminating the need for specialised point products.
- Eliminate Backup Complexity with a New Administration Console: A newly redesigned administration console will provide users with fast, concise management and monitoring capabilities.
- Integrated Disaster Recovery: With bare-metal disaster recovery and Backup Exec’s “no hardware DR” built in, organizations will be able to easily recover a failed system to a physical server, or to a Hyper-V or VMware guest.
- Capacity Licensing: New capacity licensing model for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), mid-sized and lower enterprise organizations will provide easier purchasing and maintenance by capacity as an alternative to existing a la carte pricing.
- Small Business Edition: In less than 10 minutes and with just three simple steps, Backup Exec 2012 Small Business Edition will install and configure backups so small businesses with limited IT experience can protect their data with ease. The new Backup Exec Small Business Edition will bundle Symantec’s data and system recovery technology into one affordable solution with a single license that’s designed specifically for a growing business.