Backup and restore Microsoft Exchange and SQL databases efficiently and effectively using the following four best practices.
Utilize these strategies within the protected system or the local Business Recovery Cloud (BRC) appliance:
1. Enable Use Open File Manager setting for application-consistent backups
To ensure full recoverability of your Exchange and SQL databases, enable the Use Open File Manager setting in the job schedule page, for both image and file backups.
If this setting is enabled, your Axcient BRC appliance will perform transactionally-consistent backup of your Exchange or SQL database by invoking the Microsoft VSS writer to create an application-consistent snapshot.
Please note that the Microsoft VSS writer is responsible for quiescing the application, flushing its memory, and completing pending writes before creating a snapshot of application data. The quiesced application will resume once the snapshot is created.
2. Ensure backup jobs include all pertinent data
To guarantee healthy backups and full recoverability of your Exchange and SQL databases, all pertinent database files must be included.
- For image backups, select all disks that contain the Exchange or SQL Server databases and transaction logs.
- For file backups, select all folders on every disk that contain Exchange or SQL Server databases, as well as the transaction log files.
3. Optimize backup storage by avoiding circular backups
To ensure optimal storage use and avoid redundant backups of backups, follow these recommendations:
- If you are also backing up your exchange and SQL databases locally on your Windows server, save the local backup data (including the transaction log backups) to a separate volume and exclude that volume from the Axcient backup jobs. Otherwise, your backups will be much larger due to redundant backups of backups.
- We recommend that you disable circular logging on your database server. Instead, leverage Axcient BRC Log Flushing functionality to efficiently manage the transaction log storage space. When the Log Flushing option is enabled in the backup job configuration, transaction logs on your protected server will be flushed at the beginning of the next backup cycle, after the database (including transaction logs) is successfully backed up. Note: In case you are protecting your database server with both image and file jobs, make sure to enable Log Flushing for only one of the jobs. Otherwise, potential data loss may occur as one job may flush out logs that are not yet backed up by other job(s).
- Minimize defragmentation and other operations that cause block movement in the SQL files. The backup will interpret moved blocks as new blocks and back them up separately. This can unnecessarily increasing incremental backup size.
4. Consider the SIMPLE recovery model for your SQL databases
The recovery model you choose determines which backup and restore options are available for your database applications.
By default, SQL databases use the SIMPLE backup recovery model. It is the simplest of all database recovery models: sufficient, optimal, and it works best with Axcient backups. SIMPLE supports full, differential, and file level backups. When this recovery method is used, the transaction logs records are automatically purged and log space is reclaimed, reducing the storage space requirements.
With that said, please note that the database recovery model setting should be chosen in accordance to your business needs. For information about the effect of recovery models on backup and restore, visit this Microsoft Knowledgebase.
Want more BRC tips and tricks?
- Maximize your Axcient partnership and get more how to instructions, FAQs, and best practices in the BRC Knowledgebase.
- If you are interested in exploring an upgrade to our feature-rich business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solution, x360Recover, let your dedicated Partner Success Manager know. We are happy to answer any questions on how x360Recover can be your single solution for a range of BCDR use cases, from backup of remote worker devices, to full disaster recovery. Contact us for a one-on-one demo, or - if you're ready to dive in - try a 14-day trial.
- You can also access a variety of resources on the Axcient website to stay up-to-date on MSP best practices, Axcient product info, and industry news.
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