NTBackup for Exchange on Server 2008?

As Windows Server 2008 adoption becomes more widespread many of my clients are asking me about the Windows Server Backup tool and the differences between it and old school NTBackup. The most obvious is that it's a simple backup tool and not at all application aware. In other words when you set it to backup an Exchange server it won't know to truncate logs or create a restorable backup of an Exchange database. According to a recent post by the Microsoft Exchange team this is by design.

Right after we shipped Service Pack 1, we started hearing from customers who were upset with the fact that they cannot take Exchange-aware online backups with Windows Server Backup. These customers had enjoyed the integration of Exchange and Windows Backup (NTBackup) for many years, and for many versions of Exchange and Windows. We also saw quite a but of discussion activity on this issue in various Exchange communities (this blog, internal discussion groups, MVP and MCT communities, etc.).

They also added they are planning to release a VSS-based plug-in for Server Backup that will be Exchange aware. Althought most enterprises choose a more robust backup solution like Microsoft DPM or Veritas/Symantec, many SMB customers are used to the local NTBackup paradigm and see no reason to change. I think this move by MSFT is a smart one and I applaud their effort to respond quickly to a perceived deficiency in their flagship Server product.

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