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Windows Server VSS Architecture

You can use the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) feature in the Windows Server 2008 operating system to create applications that back up and restore Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. VSS provides an infrastructure that enables third-party storage management programs, business programs, and hardware providers to cooperate to create and manage shadow copies. Solutions that are based on this infrastructure can use the shadow copies to back up and restore one or more Exchange 2007 databases.

VSS coordinates communication between VSS Requestors (for example, backup applications), VSS Writers (for example, the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Writer), and VSS Providers (system, software, or hardware components that create the shadow copies).

To use VSS to back up Exchange 2010 data, the backup application must be an Exchange 2010–aware VSS requestor. Exchange 2010 includes VSS writer for the Windows Server 2008 backup program that is Exchange-aware. Organizations can also use third-party backup applications having an Exchange-aware requestor that can work with individual Exchange databases, or can create a custom requestor.

To be compliant with Exchange 2010 and to guarantee the integrity and recoverability of shadow copy backups, VSS-based backup applications must comply with the following basic requirements:

  • Exchange 2010 database, transaction log, and checkpoint files must be backed up exclusively through the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Writers for the Windows Server 2008 Volume Shadow Copy Service.

  • The backup application must validate the integrity of the shadow copy backup set.

  • Restores onto a computer that is running Exchange 2010 in most cases use the Exchange 2010 Store Writer. In some cases the application will instead place the data into the database directory, and then remount the store.

If these requirements are not met, it might be impossible to troubleshoot issues in the backup and restore process and data.

For more information about how to use VSS, including all the reference material that you must have to create an application that you can use to back up and restore Exchange 2007 data, see the Volume Shadow Copy Service SDK.