Since the release of Exchange 2007 in December 2006, sysadmins have been hindered by the absence of support for backup in Windows Server 2008. Seen as a move to push organizations toward Microsoft's own Data Protection Manager 2007 product, the lack of a native backup program for Exchange 2007 left many smaller organizations out in the cold. Small Business Server 2008 supported backup for Exchange from the start, and while the Exchange team promised integration with Windows Server Backup for some time, that pledge has only now been fulfilled with the release of Service Pack 2.
The other big news for Exchange 2007 users is support for Exchange 2010. Other notable features in Service Pack 2 include:
- PowerShell v2 support
- New audit events and log repository
- Enhanced PowerShell cmdlets for managing public-folder storage quotas and centralized management of Exchange settings
Backup in Windows Server 2008
Though the new Exchange plug-in for Windows Server Backup doesn't offer as much functionality as Ntbackup in Server 2003 or Data Protection Manager, it does enable basic functionality that will be useful in lab and production environments where third-party utilities are considered overkill. Remember that Windows Server Backup doesn't support tape, and there are other limitations with the new plug-in:
- There is no granular control when backing up a volume. To back up all Exchange storage groups and databases on a volume, the entire volume must be selected. However, when restoring Exchange data from a backup, you don't have to restore the entire volume. Exchange data can be selected separately.
- All storage groups and databases in a backup set must be restored together.
- Remote backups are not supported.
- Recovery Storage Groups are not supported by the restore wizard. You can, however, restore data to an alternate location and then move the files to a Recovery Storage Group.
There are no Exchange-specific options in Windows Server Backup's backup wizard, but the restore wizard is Exchange-aware after Service Pack 2 has been applied:
- On your Exchange server, launch Windows Server Backup from the Start menu. In the Actions pane on the right, click Recover.
- In the Recovery Wizard dialog, check This server and click Next.
- Select the backup date and click Next.
- On the Select recovery type screen, check Applications and click Next.
- Below Applications, select Exchange and click Next (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Selecting an application to recover
- Check Recover to original location and click Next. If you want to mount the restored database in a Recovery Storage Group, you'll need to check Recover to another location and manually mount the database once the recovery process has finished.
- Check the details on the confirmation screen and click Recover.
Exchange Service Pack 2 adds a new log file called Exchange Auditing, separating new Exchange access audit events from Windows audit events stored in the Application log. Access audit events focus on real user actions, such as opening a message, rather than operating system object open and close events as recorded in the Windows Event Log. Access audit events introduced in Service Pack 2 are:
- Message Access
- Folder Access
- Extended Send As (where User A sends mail as User B, and it appears in the recipient's inbox as if it has come directly from User B)
- Extended Send On Behalf Of (where User A sends mail on behalf of User B, and it appears in the recipient's inbox as sent by User A on behalf of User B)
To view the current configuration for each of the audit categories listed above, open the Exchange Management Console from the Start menu:
- In the left pane expand Server Configuration, and click Mailbox.
- In the Actions pane on the right, click Manage Diagnostic Logging Properties.
- In the dialog, expand MSExchangeIS and then 9000 Private.
- Click on Extend Send As, or any of the other categories listed above, to change the logging level, and click Configure (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Configuring logging levels
(You can find more detailed information about logging levels on Microsoft's TechNet website.
To access the new log repository, open Server Manager from the Start menu on your Exchange server and expand Diagnostics and Applications and Services Logs. Click Exchange Auditing, and you'll be able to see all access audit events in the central pane with event details in the bottom of the window. As Figure 3 shows, user “AD\user” accessed his or her inbox on October 7 at 14:45.
Figure 3: Reviewing access audit events
Exchange 2010 Support
When you install Exchange 2007 Service Pack 2, Active Directory is automatically updated with the Exchange 2010 Release-to-Manufacturing (RTM) schema, which means that you won't have to perform a second schema update if you plan to deploy Exchange 2010 in the future. Exchange 2007 servers must be running Service Pack 2 before Exchange 2010 servers can be added to an Exchange 2007 enterprise. While Exchange 2010 will be able to coexist with older versions of Exchange in 2003 SP2, as well as 2007 SP2 Exchange organizations that run in native mode, you won't be able to add any older versions of Exchange to new 2010 organizations.
Management Shell Improvements
Many of the shell improvements that are now included out of the box in Service Pack 2 were bundled in Update Rollup packages for Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1. The set-publicfolder cmdlet has been updated and no longer relies on Public Folder Distributed Authoring and Versioning Administration (PFDAVAdmin) to perform administration tasks. Many other cmdlets have been updated to provide centralized administration. The optional UseRUSServer switch forces a cmdlet to use a specified mailbox server where the Recipient Update Service is running, so that Exchange doesn't have to locate the service itself, which makes running commands that support UseRUSServer much faster.
Manageability and Auditing Improvements
In addition to the usual bug fixes and performance improvements included in Service Pack 2, there are some other worthwhile enhancements to command-line manageability and auditing. The new Exchange access events make it much easier to find information without having to wade through irrelevant Windows events during an investigation or audit.
The new backup facility, while useful, isn't likely to change the fact that most organizations should look at an additional product that offers speed and flexibility for backing up and restoring Exchange, such as Microsoft Data Protection Manager or Symantec Backup Exec.