SUBJECT LINE: Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, February 28, 2003

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Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--brought to you by Exchange & Outlook Administrator, a print newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that contains practical advice, how-to articles, tips, and techniques to help you do your job today. http://www.exchangeadmin.com

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(below COMMENTARY)

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February 28, 2003 -- In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY
- The Quest to Speed Restores

2. ANNOUNCEMENTS
- Our Active Directory Web Seminar Is in Just 3 Weeks!
- Try Windows & .NET Magazine!

3. RESOURCES
- HOW TO: Increase Outlook Web Access Performance
- Featured Thread: Event ID 9318 (Unable to Bind over RPC)

4. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)
- eSafe Proactive Content Security

5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Keep Spam Out of Your Inbox
- Submit Top Product Ideas

6. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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1.

COMMENTARY


(contributed by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, exadmin@winnetmag.com)

* THE QUEST TO SPEED RESTORES

One of the biggest problems with conventional backup and restore technology is simple: Backing up and restoring data takes time. The more data you have to restore, the longer the process takes. And the longer you need to restore a damaged or corrupted Exchange Server database, the less likely your users are to be satisfied with the level of service your Exchange servers provide. Accordingly, faster backup systems have been a hot topic ever since Exchange Server 5.5 shipped.

If you have Exchange 5.5, the only way to speed up the backup or restore of one monolithic Information Store (IS) is to use more expensive, faster storage hardware. Exchange 2000 Server introduced the concept of store partitioning; you can break large stores into multiple smaller stores. Because you can back up multiple storage groups (SGs) in parallel and because Exchange 2000 databases are often smaller than their Exchange 5.5 predecessors, restore times have dropped with Exchange 2000.

Another useful innovation in Exchange 2000 is the Ntbackup utility's support for direct-to-disk backups. Third-party backup vendors quickly adopted the new Microsoft APIs, with the happy result that you can back up even large ISs very quickly, as long as you have enough disk space.

Storage vendors didn't rest there, though. EMC, Hewlett-Packard (HP)/Compaq, VERITAS Software, and others all introduced systems that let you (in theory) capture a point-in-time copy of a running Exchange system. The problem, of course, is that Exchange isn't aware that such copies are being made, so it's liable to change the data on disk as it's being copied. The safest way to work around this problem is to dismount the database before making the copy, but that solution defeats the purpose of making a snapshot copy without interrupting normal operations.

Microsoft realized that customers wanted instant backups and restores, but it also knew the technical reasons why hot snapshots of a running Exchange system might not be the best idea. (The Microsoft article "XADM: Hot Split Snapshot Backups of Exchange," http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=311898 , describes some of the pitfalls of hot backups that don't use the published backup and restore APIs.) The Exchange product team realized that customers weren't going to stop asking for the feature, though, so it began developing a solution that leverages Windows Server 2003's new Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).

VSS coordinates applications, the OS, backup applications, and storage hardware to make consistent point-in-time copies. For example, when a backup application calls VSS to request a snapshot copy of an Exchange database, VSS calls Exchange-specific code that prepares the Exchange data for the copy. When the preparation is complete, VSS notifies the original requestor, which can then transfer data to the target volume or device. (This description is a bit of an oversimplification; I'll talk more about VSS's architecture next week.)

The biggest benefit of VSS is that it provides a way to notify applications such as Exchange when some other application requests a point-in-time copy of a dynamic data set. Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, and other transactional applications can implement support for VSS copies; with VSS-aware backup software, you can take snapshots of these applications at will.

Of course, this flexibility doesn't come without some trade-offs. First, you'll need both Exchange Server 2003 (formerly code-named Titanium) and Windows 2003. Second, you'll need to make sure that your storage hardware and backup software support VSS. Most vendors are working to get VSS support for Windows 2003 in place, but knowing which vendors will have Exchange 2003 support (and when) is difficult. All the major Exchange backup vendors will probably support VSS eventually, but I suggest that you directly contact your preferred vendor to get the lowdown on particular products.

Next week, I'll delve more into the mechanics of VSS, including an explanation of how it solves the multiple-volume problem that's been the bane of many other point-in-time copy solutions.

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~~~~ SPONSOR: WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE NETWORK WEB SEMINARS ~~~~
DON'T MISS OUR WEB SEMINARS IN MARCH!
Windows & .NET Magazine has 3 new Web seminars to help you address your security and storage concerns. There is no fee to attend "Selling the Importance of Security: 5 Ways to Get Your Manager's Attention," "Building an Ultra Secure Extranet on a Shoe String," or "An Introduction to Windows Powered NAS," but space is limited, so register for all 3 events today!
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2.

ANNOUNCEMENTS


(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* OUR ACTIVE DIRECTORY WEB SEMINAR IS IN JUST 3 WEEKS!
Join us as Precise SRM shows you how to leverage Active Directory to assess storage usage, reclaim wasted disk space, and control storage growth. You'll learn how to use AD to save countless hours managing server growth, get back up to half of your server space right away, and even reduce storage growth and backups by 30 percent or more! There is no charge for this event, but space is limited, so register today!
http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/activedirectory

* TRY WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE!
Every issue of Windows & .NET Magazine includes intelligent, impartial, and independent coverage of security, Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange Server, and more. Our expert authors deliver how-to content you simply can't find anywhere else. Try a sample issue today, and find out what more than 100,000 readers know that you don't!
http://www.winnetmag.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei203xup

3.

RESOURCES

* HOW TO: INCREASE OUTLOOK WEB ACCESS PERFORMANCE
Each week, Microsoft posts several Exchange Server how-to articles to its Knowledge Base. This week, learn how to improve Outlook Web Access's (OWA's) performance and response time when you use the product with Exchange 2000 Server. http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=327675

* FEATURED THREAD: EVENT ID 9318 (UNABLE TO BIND OVER RPC)
Hawk is running into trouble following the removal of the final Exchange Server 5.5 system in a mixed-mode Exchange 2000 Server/Exchange 5.5 environment. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:
http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=40&tid=55082

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HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)

* ESAFE PROACTIVE CONTENT SECURITY
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5.

NEW AND IMPROVED


(contributed by Carolyn Mader, products@winnetmag.com)

* KEEP SPAM OUT OF YOUR INBOX
Amazing Storm released Spam CounterStrike, software that works with email programs to protect users against spam. The software uses more than 25 techniques to detect spam and examines senders' addresses nine ways to determine whether messages are legitimate. Spam CounterStrike works with Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, IncrediMail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Premium, and other POP3-compatible email programs. Pricing is $30 for a one-user license. Contact the vendor at sales@spamcounterstrike.com.
http://www.spamcounterstrike.com

* SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

6.

CONTACT US


Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- exadmin@winnetmag.com

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- lpere@winnetmag.com (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

* TECHNICAL QUESTIONS -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums

* PRODUCT NEWS -- products@winnetmag.com

* QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR EXCHANGE & OUTLOOK UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION? Customer Support -- exchangeandoutlookupdate@winnetmag.com

* WANT TO SPONSOR EXCHANGE & OUTLOOK UPDATE? -- emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

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Thank you for reading Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition. _________________________________________________________ Copyright 2003, Penton Media, Inc.