Q: Is it safe to snapshot Exchange Server 2010?
A: If you do a little digging, you'll find that Microsoft clearly answers this question in its Exchange 2010 support policy. But to make a long story short, Microsoft does not support Exchange 2010 virtual snapshots.
Snapshots are usually based on how you use differencing disks. They preserve a hard disk (or a virtual hard disk) as it exists at a specific point in time. However, when you take a snapshot, the contents of the server's memory are not preserved.
If you take a snapshot of a mailbox server, transactions residing in memory that have not yet been committed to transaction logs will likely be lost unless the snapshot utility was Exchange-aware.
Similarly, snapshotting a hub transport server captures the server as it exists at a specific moment in time. The snapshot theoretically captures message queues. Therefore, if you restore the snapshot, messages that exist in the queues at the time that the snapshot was taken could theoretically be resent.
There really isn’t a reason to snapshot non-mailbox servers because all their configuration data is maintained in Active Directory, not on the server itself. You can use this configuration data to rebuild the server if necessary.
Mailbox servers also store their configuration data in Active Directory, but store their messaging data in a mailbox database. These servers are better protected with a traditional Exchange-aware backup application, not snapshots.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brien Posey is an eight-time Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Before becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien worked as a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.
Dig Deeper on Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
Related Q&A from Brien Posey
Don't let typical cloud backup issues slow down your organization. Stay in front of potential impacts to budget and bandwidth for a solid backup ...continue reading
As apps evolve, the tools IT uses to manage them have to as well. App virtualization in particular has altered management needs by requiring that IT ...continue reading
Expect data protection technologies to veer toward an expansion of recovery capabilities, as organizations need to be able to recover in multiple ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.