Dialtone restores,the Recovery Storage Group, and swapping out database files
In my Analysis of Disaster Recovery session as well as a couple of other sessions, there were a lot of good questions on using the Recovery Storage Group. Someone asked if you can do a dial-tone restore, then restore the production database to an RSG, then swap out the RSG database with the "dial-tone" database, and then finally ExMerge the data from the dial-tone database in to the production database.
This is a good idea to do, since the dial-tone database will not have a lot of the mailbox "meta-data", such as mailbox/folder rights, rules, forms, etc... This data will be in the RSG database, though. So swapping them out once the RSG database is restored from tape, is a good idea.
I had not done this, but it is possible. I found some good reference material in the Microsoft whitepaper "Using Exchange Server 2003 Recovery Storage Groups", including steps on how to swap out the RSG with the dial-tone database. Essentially, here are the steps necessary if you lose the production database and want to do a dial-tone restore:
- Delete the production database files and remount the store. Answer "yes" when Exchange System Manager asks if you want to creatre new database files
- At this point, users can go back to work, albeit with empty mailboxes.
- Create a Recovery Storage Group and create the mailbox store in the RSG that you wish to restore.
- Restore the last backup of the production database to the RSG
- Make a backup copy of the production database that was created from the dial-tone restore
- Dismount both the production database and RSG database. Copy the RSG files in to the production database location. Copy the production database files in to the RSG location.
- Rename the production database (now in the RSG folder) to the name of the RSG database. Rename the RSG database (now in the production database folder) to the name of the RSG database.
- On the database properties, click the checkbox that allows the database to be restored from backup.
- Mount both databases.
- Merge the data in the RSG database (the dialtone data) in with the production database.
While this is just an overview, it gives you an idea of what the steps are. I recommend you read the Using Exchange Server 2003 Recovery Storage Groups whitepaper and practice this before you have to do it in production.