Ever since Exchange Server was first introduced, Microsoft has designed it so that upon installing Exchange, NTBackup is extended so that it has the ability to properly back up Exchange. The big exception to the rule is Exchange 2007 though. If you install Exchange 2007 SP1 on a Windows 2008 server, Windows Server Backup is not extended to allow Exchange Server to be backed up. Microsoft has been promising us a solution to this problem for quite some time, but so far the only solution has been to use Data Protection Manager to back up Exchange, or to rely on third party backup software.
I spent this week at The Experts Conference in Las Vegas. During that conference, I attended a really interesting session that was presented by Michael B. Smith. During his session, Michael explained that Windows Server 2008 actually has everything that it needs to perform a VSS backup of Exchange 2007. You just have to know how the backup process works, and you need to know a good bit of PowerShell scripting.
The session was not for the faint of heart (this was the Experts conference after all). To be perfectly honest, I understand the principle behind Michael’s technique, but the actual script is way over my head. Fortunately, Michael describes the technique in his blog, and even provides a copy of the script (and a GUI based on the script). You can access the blog entry at: http://theessentialexchange.com/blogs/michael/archive/2009/01/14/volume-shadow-copy-services-vss-and-exchange-the-basics.aspx This is the first of several posts on the subject. You can access the others by going to the main blog page at: http://theessentialexchange.com/blogs/michael/