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Exchange: System State Backup Not Required

Many of us understand that system state back up is one of the important back up of a system so along with domain controller, you might add system state backup of the Exchange.

There are 2 things I would like to highlight in this blog.

  1. No need to system state backup of Exchange.
  2. Make sure you have not selected Bare Metal Backup.

Now let us see the reasons.

  • No need to system state backup of Exchange.

    Single Server Crash.

    In the new generation exchange servers which uses DAG you don’t need to restore old Exchange server’s system because we just need a new server and start, install Exchange server on it, add the server to the DAG and start Database replication. So technically we don’t need to restore a backup in case of a single server crash.

    Single Disk Crash.

    Again just add a new disk and start seeding the database from other healthy copy.

    All Exchange Servers Crashed

    No this has never happened in my 18yrs of career but if it happens then you still need to run the exchange setup with /recorverserver switch and restore the database. We still don’t need to restore the system state backup. Starting Exchange 2010, database allow portability which means you can mount the database on another Exchange server of the same version. This means “install a new exchange server”, “restore the database backup” and you are good.

    So overall I don’t see any need of Exchange server’s system state backup. At the same time don’t forget to take Domain Controller’s System state backup.

  • Make sure you have not selected Bare Metal Backup.

    Bare metal backup means full backup of the server. If you have not realize then think again, you are also backing up databases so your backup tape should have that much space.

    Recently one of my customer deployed new DPM for Exchange 2010 and 2016 cloud. For the testing he added bare metal backup and we got the error “Replica is inconsistent” with event 3105

    We had a simple resolution, remove bare metal backup because our tape had not enough space.

    Also Bare Metal backup is not supported by Microsoft when it comes to the Exchange Server.


Prabhat Nigam

Microsoft MVP | CTO @ Golden Five


2 Responses to “Exchange: System State Backup Not Required”

  1. Dean Says:

    What software do you use to perform backups in general or for VMWare that houses exchange on it ?

  2. Prabhat Says:

    This screen shot is from VMware. We recommend Microsoft DPM for Exchange running on any Virtualized host or on any physical server.

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