Exchange restores from swapped raid 1 drives

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Backup & recovery
Exchange security
RAID
RAID 1
Storage products and equipment
Veritas
My question relates to hardware and exchange. In this scenario I would be running a set of hotswap raid 1 drives: one with exchange and the information store databases and another with transaction logs. If my Information store were to become corrupt and I loaded a backup set of drives with the databases and exchange on them to replace the current set that would be swapped a nightly basis. Would exchange replay the log files onto the older databases from a set of drives that were changed out the day before when it tries to mount the Information store and rebuild the database to its last state? I know this is the case when you reload an information store from a backup utility and remount it but I was wondering if this kind of RAID solution would offer the same benefits.
ASKED: December 22, 2005  1:55 PM
UPDATED: August 28, 2008  7:06 PM

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your wanting to do a running backup instead of a tape drive but the data is only as new as when it was backed up as is the case with a tape drive you still won’t have the information that was included on the running copy of the server.

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  • Arakes
    Yes, but I recently went through a information store getting corrupted and had to restore from a veritas backup. The transaction logs will actually "Replay" themselves on the information store and rebuild Any previous version of the same store to the point that the transaction logs are at. I know there is some file marking done by Veritas and other back up software to signify the file as backed up though. I was wondering if a running raid backup would be able to have the transaction logs rebuild the older database file. I think this is something you would almost have to try to know for sure.
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  • Poppaman
    Having worked on a RAID controller manufacturer's tech support lines, and having encountered exactly your suggestion before, I strongly urge you not to do this. The purpose or RAID 1 is failover/disaster recovery in case of hardware failure. Swapping drives consistantly, the odds or errors being introduced into the RAID metadata and the subsequent corruption of the source drive's data itself increase dramatically. I have seen situations where this procedure works for a few months and then fails without explanation or apparent cause.
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  • Guardian
    With exchange, the database depends on consistency, and if you're not sure of what has caused the coruption. Then the best would be to reinstall everything. Any problems with the log fils and your database will not function properlly. Especially when it comes to switching drives. You could try and remove that database and make exchange recreate its database from scratch, but when it comes to recreate from the old backup you need to take extreme care-cause you could partially damage the backups also. Rgds Newton
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  • Stevesz
    If you want a fairly up-to-date copy of your store in case of a failure, you need to build another server and replicate the date to it on a continuous basis. Your production server goes south, the backup server takes over. This does not negate the need for a good backup strategy, say a backup to disk and a copy of that to tape (cuts down on your backup time this way) or just a backup to tape. Your RAID 1 is a simple mirroring of data so that both disks are alike. A drive failure means you need to break the mirror to get the other drive up and running. Doing as you propose will probably lead to disaster, since you would need a minimum of three drives--and I don't even think that would work properly. Better to take the three drives and make a RAID 5 array with them. One drive fails, you replace it and it rebuilds itself. If the store itself corrupts, you have no option but to either repair it, if you can, or go to backup. Steve//
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  • Metallator
    According to the documentation of Exchange 2003: you should locate the transaction-logfiles on another disk(-set not just another partition), than the Information Store. When the disk containing the IS crashes, you can replace it and reload the store from backup. After the restore, you can delete the file "e00.env" in the transactions-folder, and Exchange automatiscally replays the transactions. Be aware that you did not enabled "circular logging" on your storage group; it reuses the transactions logs and then you cannot replay the logs them.
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  • Metallator
    According to the documentation of Exchange 2003: you should locate the transaction-logfiles on another disk(-set not just another partition), than the Information Store. When the disk containing the IS crashes, you can replace it and reload the store from backup. After the restore, you can delete the file "e00.env" in the transactions-folder, and Exchange automatiscally replays the transactions. Be aware that you did not enabled "circular logging" on your storage group; it reuses the transactions logs and then you cannot replay the logs them.
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  • Metallator
    According to the documentation of Exchange 2003: you should locate the transaction-logfiles on another disk(-set not just another partition), than the Information Store. When the disk containing the IS crashes, you can replace it and reload the store from backup. After the restore, you can delete the file "e00.env" in the transactions-folder, and Exchange automatiscally replays the transactions. Be aware that you did not enabled "circular logging" on your storage group; it reuses the transactions logs and then you cannot replay the logs them.
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