Leo Nguyen

Protect Microsoft® Exchange 2013 with Hitachi Application Protector

Discussion created by Leo Nguyen Employee on Jan 29, 2014

This tech note shows how you can use Hitachi Application Protector on Hitachi Unified Storage VM to protect your Microsoft® Exchange databases from logical corruption or accidental deletion. 

Application Protector performs rapid backups and restores of Exchange databases on a standalone or on a database availability group environment. It uses Hitachi Thin Image snapshot technology and Volume Shadow Copy Service from Microsoft to give application-consistent data protection. Application Protector provides the following advantages for Exchange.

§  Provides application consistency

§  Protects active or passive database copy at the snapshot or full-copy level

§  Supports Exchange database availability groups

§  Eliminates application strain during backups using Volume Shadow Copy Service

§  Reduces backup window and improves recovery point objective and recovery time objective

§  Granular recovery using Kroll Ontrack PowerControls

NoteTesting of this configuration was in a lab environment. Many things affect production environments beyond prediction or duplication in a lab environment. Follow the recommended practice of conducting proof-of-concept testing for acceptable results in a non-production, isolated test environment that otherwise matches your production environment before your production implementation of this solution.

Solution Components

Hitachi Application Protector uses Hitachi Thin Image snapshot technology and Volume Shadow Copy Service from Microsoft to give you application-consistent data protection for Microsoft Exchange 2013. Application Protector recovers databases using snapshots based on recovery time objective or the recovery point objective.

Figure 1shows the physical architecture using Application Protector.

image001.png

                       

Figure 1

Table 1lists the hardware covered by these best practices.

Table 1. Hardware Components

Hardware

Description

Version

Quantity

Hitachi Unified Storage VM

§  Dual controllers

§  2 × 8 Gb/sec Fibre Channel ports

§  166 GB cache memory

§  8 × 3TB SAS disks

73-02-00-00/01

1

Hitachi Compute Blade 500 chassis

§  8-blade chassis

§  2 management modules

§  6 cooling fan modules

§  4 power supply modules

§  2 Brocade 5460 Fibre  Channel switch modules

§  2 Brocade 10GbE DCB switch modules

SVP: A0135-D-6829

1

520HB1 server blade

§  Half blade

§    2 × 8-core Intel   Xeon E5-2680 processor, 2.70 GHz

§  160 GB RAM

§  Emulex 10GbE CNA onboard network   adapter

§    Hitachi 8Gb/sec   Fibre Channel Mezz Card

BMC: 01-56

2

Table 2lists the software covered by these best practices.

Table 2. Software Components

Software

Version

Hitachi Application Protector

2.7.0.7

Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning

Microcode Dependent

Hitachi Thin Image Snapshot

Licensed on Hitachi Unified Storage   VM

Command control interface

CCI-01-30-03

VSS Hardware Provider

4.9.1

Microsoft Windows Server®

2012 Enterprise Edition

Microsoft Exchange Server

2013 Enterprise Edition

Best Practices

Follow these best practices when using Hitachi Application Protector in a Microsoft Exchange 2013 environment from Hitachi Data Systems.

The Global Solution Services team from Hitachi Data Systems provides support for your use of Hitachi Application Protector.

To following these practices, you must use a user account with view and modify permissions.

Storage Configuration

These are best practices and requirements for the storage configuration.

§  On Hitachi Unified Storage VM, create the following:

§  A pool using Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning

§  A pool using Hitachi Thin Image pool

§  A LUN for command devices

§  A LUN for Microsoft Exchange

§  Create a host group with the name HITACHI-VSS-HG(recommended).

§  Present a command device LUN to the all the hosts within the Microsoft Exchange database availability group.

Host Configuration

These are best practices and requirements for the host configuration using Hitachi Application Protector.

§  Install and configure the following on all database availability group nodes for Microsoft Exchange:

§  Command control interface

§  VSS hardware provider

§  Application Protector server

§  Configure the file for Hitachi Open Remote Control Manager.

§  Install the Application Protector client on a management PC running Microsoft Windows Server® 2008 or Microsoft Windows® 7.

Exchange Configuration

These are best practices and requirements for the Microsoft Exchange configuration.

§  Create and mount a database.

§  For Hitachi Application Protector create a 2-copy database availability group, one active and one passive.

§  Disable circular logging on the database prior to running a backup.

§  To ensure the active and passive databases are healthy and synchronized, do the following:

(1)   Before running the database recovery, suspend the passive copy.

(2)   After completing the recovery successfully, resume replication to reseed the passive copy.

§  To ensure the active and passive databases are healthy and synchronized, do the following.

(1)   Activate the passive copy on Mailbox Server 2.

(2)   Suspend the passive copy on Mailbox Server 1.

(3)   After completing the recovery successfully, resume replication to reseed the passive copy.

§  Preserving an existing database from a snapshot to an active database on the same server renames the existing database and logs to create a second backup. Recovery is to the original directory path. Ensure there is sufficient disk space on the destination volume.

§  Preserving an existing database from a snapshot to an active database on a different server activates the passive copy on other server. This recovery method renames the existing database and logs to create a second backup. To do this, suspend the passive copy on primary mailbox server. Recover is to the original directory path. Ensure there is sufficient disk space on the destination volume.

Conclusion

Hitachi Application Protector is data protection software used to protect your Microsoft Exchange databases against logical corruption or accidental deletion. It performs rapid backups and restoration of Exchange databases in a standalone environment or in a database availability group environment.

Application Protector uses Hitachi Thin Image snapshot technology and Volume Shadow Copy Service from Microsoft to give you application-consistent data protection.

Use Cases Tested

These are the use cases tested for protecting Microsoft Exchange 2013 with Hitachi Application Protector.

Create a Full Backup Snapshot on an Active Database

The objective of this test was to create a manual and a scheduled full backup on an active database within an environment using database availability groups.

There was a successful completion of the full backup of the active database test.

Create a Full Backup Snapshot on a Passive Database

The objective of this test was to create a manual and a scheduled full backup on a passive database within an environment using database availability groups.

There was a successful completion of the backup of the passive database test.

Mount and Browse a Snapshot

The objective of this test was to mount and browse a snapshot. If successful, the following for Microsoft Exchange can be seen:

§  Database

§  Logs

§  Content index information

There was a successful completion of the mount and browse of a snapshot test.

Unmount a Snapshot

The objective of this test was to unmounta snapshot.

There was a successful completion of the unmount of a snapshot test.

Delete a Snapshot

The objective of this test was to delete a snapshot.

There was a successful completion of the delete a snapshot test.

Recover by Overwriting the Existing Database from a Snapshot to an Active Database on Mailbox Server 1

The objective of this test was to recover and overwrite the existing active database on a same host.

There was a successful completion of overwriting the existing database recovery test.

Recover by Overwriting Existing Database from a Snapshot to an Active Database on Mailbox Server 2

The objective of this test was to recover and overwrite the existing database on a different host.

There was a successful completion of overwriting the existing database recovery test.

Recover by Preserving Existing Database from a Snapshot to an Active Database on Mailbox Server 1

The objective of this test is to recover and preserve the existing database on the same server.

There was a successful completion of preserving the existing database on the same server recovery test.

Recover by Preserving Existing Database from a Snapshot to an Active Database on Mailbox Server 2

The objective of this test is to recover and preserve the existing database on a different server.

There was a successful completion of preserving the existing database on a different server recovery test.

Outcomes