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Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method

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Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 28.Jun.2005 8:10:00 AM   
Henrik Walther

 

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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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This thread has been created in order to discuss the Exchange Dial-tone Restore method, which I have been writing about in my last three articles.
Post #: 1
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 28.Jun.2005 10:15:00 AM   
Tom Decaluwé

 

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From: Belgium
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Hi Henrik,

Great article! I used it for the bases towards disaster recovery planning at our company and have succussfully tested it.

I am however inrested in replaying the transaction logs to limit the data loss in a scenario like this.

1. we backup our exchange every night
2. exchange store crashes in the late afternoon
3. we copy off the edb / stm and log files to a temp location and startup a dial-tone DB restoring messaging functionallity.
4. we restore the corrupted store to a Recovery storeage group and successfully mount it there.

How would i go about getting my resotred db to forward roll the log's i copied to the temp location before i merge the dail-tone store into the restored and rolled forward db?

Would some thing like this work:

1) when restoring the db to my RSG i give it the same filename as the orignial was called (def priv1.edb ,..)

2) dismount both RSG and dial-tone store
3) move the dial-tone db to a temp location, move the restored db to the original location, copy the roll forward logs back to the orignial location.
4) mount the restored store and allow it to roll forward
5) move the dial-tone to the RSG location and mount it
6) merge the mailboxes.

Is this a correct procedure or am i missing something?

Thanks a bundle,

Tom DecaluwT

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 2
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 28.Jun.2005 4:35:00 PM   
Henrik Walther

 

Posts: 6928
Joined: 21.Nov.2002
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Hi Tom,

I'm glad to hear you're implementing the method in your Exchange environment. Now to your question.

Right after you have restored the Mailbox Store (.EDB and .STM files with same name) to the Recovery Storage Groups, you can copy any transaction log files to the same folder (path). This will replay them when you mount the Mailbox Store.

If there're many hundreds/thousands of log files, you can as you mentioned yourself copy them to the MDBDATA folder after swapping the mailboxes, as this will make the merging faster.

It's up to you really, both methods work.

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 3
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 28.Jun.2005 4:43:00 PM   
a.grogan

 

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Henrik, I thought that the article was excellent and I am looking at ways to integrate some of the details into my Exchange Infrastructure.
However I would love to see perhaps a follow up on say for example advanced usage of RSG's (by that for example I mean using an RSG that contains mailboxes moved from the original store) - which Microsoft claims you can do by modifying values in AD using ADSI edit, didn't work for me - but perhaps you could cast an eye over such things.
Anyway enough of my wittering - I look forward to furure articles from your good self.

Andy

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 4
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 28.Jun.2005 4:59:00 PM   
Henrik Walther

 

Posts: 6928
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From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Andy,

So you would like to see examples on moving mailboxes from an online mailbox store to the RSG for further manipulation or?

I ask cause I want to be sure I understand what your wish/goal is [Smile]

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 5
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 28.Jun.2005 5:05:00 PM   
a.grogan

 

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Sorry Henrik, I was not very clear - recently I had cause to move a number of mailboxes between databases. Of course afterwards I noticed that a number of key messaged had been deemed damged by the move process and thusly skipped.
I restored the orginal store from backup and recovered it to a RSG but because I had moved the orginal mailboxes to another store I could not ExMerge the lost data out.

Upon further study - Microsoft suggested that by modifying the MsExOrginalMDB ADSI settings to the name of the data that the mailboxes now reside in would allow for data to be extracted using ExMerge - however it did not.

I was wondering if you had ever managed this, or perhaps would put together an article on it, and indeed the perhaps some of the more advanced features of the RSG.

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 6
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 28.Jun.2005 5:34:00 PM   
Henrik Walther

 

Posts: 6928
Joined: 21.Nov.2002
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Now I'm with you, I'll look into this...

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 7
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 6.Jul.2005 10:23:00 AM   
tcaud

 

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Joined: 17.Sep.2004
From: Alabama
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Great article! I have one question, though.

After the Mailbox recovery (copy or merge) is complete, I assume that, because we merged or copied the data from the dial tone database into the recovered database, the Outlook 2003 end users will no longer receive the Recovery Mode prompt?

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 8
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 6.Jul.2005 11:51:00 AM   
easterbunny

 

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From: Netherlands
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Is it possible to restore a mailbox database after a server crash and the only 2 files you managed to recover are the .edb and the stm file?

Because, good guess [Smile] , I have this problem...

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 9
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 6.Jul.2005 12:05:00 PM   
Henrik Walther

 

Posts: 6928
Joined: 21.Nov.2002
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
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quote:
Originally posted by Tony Caudill:
After the Mailbox recovery (copy or merge) is complete, I assume that, because we merged or copied the data from the dial tone database into the recovered database, the Outlook 2003 end users will no longer receive the Recovery Mode prompt?

They will receive it the first time they login after the merge, after that its gone [Smile]

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 10
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 7.Jul.2005 11:00:00 AM   
isawader

 

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Excellent article! I already incorporated this article into my disaster recovery planning.

However, this solves half the problem. How can we restore the public folders using dial-tone recovery?

Thanks

[ July 07, 2005, 11:01 AM: Message edited by: isawader ]

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 11
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 29.Jul.2005 7:31:00 PM   
Guest
Have a question about the dial tone database.

I've got two exchange servers in my Administrative Group.
One is the primary server, and holds all the mailboxes.
The other is a backup server, with the recovery store.
If the primary server completely dies, what in ADSI do I need to change to force each individual mailbox to move to my backup server?

Scenario:
Fire in the server room. Primary server is toast.
Run a VB script to change AD, forcing mailbox moves to backup server.
Start information store, mount store creating dial tone database on backup server.
Exmerge from recovery store.
Profit!

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
  Post #: 12
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 9.Aug.2005 6:26:00 AM   
nicademus

 

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Joined: 9.Aug.2005
From: Melbourne, Australia
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Henrik,
Fantastic article, I know a bit more now that I wish I had before last weekend, because I had to restore a Win2k3/Exch2k3 Enterprise server with 4 Mailstores that were stored on a SAN Array which lost it's Array config - Screw U IBM!
We had a fantastic backup and I re-created the Array, allocated space, and restarted the mailstores - all creating blank databases. I have yet to effectively use the Recovery mailbox in the way you explained, but will certainly use it next time, because now I have a secondary problem with users that were using Cached mode prior to the Incident. Essentially Veritas Backup Exec has re-created the mailboxes and restored all data, however the Cached mode users - if they connect on-line it is ok, but if they choose Offline the folders are not up-to-date. They are only consistant with data prior to the Crash.

Just to confirm what I know about this "non-synchronising problem", Cached mode in Outlook 2003 and normal Offline folders in Outlook 2000/2002 create the usual outlook.ost file in the ....local setting\application data\microsoft\outlook folder. Which in previous cases where a mailbox had been created - such as when there is a corrupt individual mailbox, or a restoration of a single mailbox what we would do would be uncheck the cached mode option, choose Disable Offline folders, and then make sure the .ost file and any .oab files in that folder were deleted. This is because there is some sort of UID associated within an OST file and an actual Mailbox, I would hazard a guess that this is a way and means of preventing duplicate items after restoration such that an OST file wouldn't attempt to merge all it's items with mailbox contents. We would then re-check the offline/cache mode and when next logging into Outlook it re-creates the total offline environment, obviously taking quite some time to populate a large mailbox to the Local hard drive of the user. But usable none-the-less.
However in OUR situation I would say the problem I am having is due to there being a new mailstore itself, therefore there must be a different UID being generated per mailbox because even when I follow the above "standard" procedure, I get the following:
Choosing no caching is fine and the user has full Outlook/Exchange functionalities.

Choosing to cache the folders and/or enable Offline folders, results in the Outlook Client connecting and saying it is connected, but constantly without change saying "This folder is not yet up to date. Connected" The result of which is that there is actually no email in the inbox, no Calendar items, no notes, no contacts....No Nuttin!
I have been looking over the last 48 hours to find why this is the case but not found anything remotely near helping out, except finding your article which at least begins to describe what happens in dial-tone database mode.

Is there any chance you might know what is wrong here? Is there some sort of Syncronisation I need to do on the Server size? for GALs or something? Or some further way to remove Cached mode data that I don't know of that is more involved than just deleting the OST. (incidently I know in the past when I first set up Cached mode access it usually takes 10-30 seconds to start outlook as it says "Preparing Outlook Mailbox for first use..." or something like that. But here when enabled and starting outlook it takes about 2-5 seconds at the most, and only ends up creating a small 256k outlook.ost file.

Cheers

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 13
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 1.Nov.2005 10:22:46 AM   
donkeyman

 

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Joined: 1.Nov.2005
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Hi

The article is great and I look forward to more like it from yourself.

However I am having difficulties in geting clients to work with the dial tone server. I have a 4 node Exchange 2003
system which is working fine. I have a seperate exchange 2003 system in the same site and organisation which is for the dial tone system. When I turn of the cluster system to test the dial tone system my clients wont connect. They insist in looking for the cluster EVS's one by one.


I have removed the priv.edb, priv.stm files and remounted the mailstore on the dial tone server and all seems OK.

Most of the clients are Outlook 2000/2002.


Any ideas?


Thanks

   

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 14
RE: Demystifying The Exchange Dial-tone Restore Method - 7.Feb.2008 9:57:26 AM   
rolltide78

 

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Joined: 7.Feb.2008
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I'm wondering something regarding the dialtone method.  Would it be possible to add a second exchange server (ExSrv2) to your group and modify the settings in AD for a user and point them to use this new exchange server?   That way we wouldn't have to go through the process of dismounting the main store on ExSrvr1, etc (since its not corrupted) and we can just run a simple DR test with some temp users.  In theory it sounds like it could work.  They could still access their old mail from their OST that was received on ExSrvr1 but now would be receiving and sending mail from ExSrv1 Let me know if this is possible.

Gary

(in reply to Henrik Walther)
Post #: 15

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