Getting better backup throughput from NTbackup
Backing up Exchange to disk has become an increasingly popular way to backup Exchange databases. Microsoft is doing "backup to disk" and is keeping two days worth of backups online and available; this can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to restore from backup. And, logically, the backup you probably want to restore from is the most recent.
There is a tweak to the NTBackup's registry settings that allow you increase the buffer sizes that NTBackup uses. Essentially, you double the Logical Disk Buffer Size, the Max Buffer Size, and increase the Max Num Tape Buffers to 16. Depending on your hardware and server configuration, you may be able to get upwards of 1.2GB per minute (or 72GB per hour) backup throughput.
Devin Ganger of 3Sharp just blogged this recently and I think it is valuable enough to repeat here in my blog. Refer to this blog entry for the actual registry values and parameters for more information or Microsoft IT Showcase article Backup Process Used with Clustered Exchange Server 2003 Servers at Microsoft. Another good article is Messaging Backup and Restore at Microsoft; this article should be required reading for ALL Exchange admins.