Virtualized mail server recovery

Virtualisation software has enabled organizations to consolidate operating systems and increase productivity for computer hardware. Despite advances in server hardware consolidation, CPU processing distribution, and the virtualisation of storage devices, data loss is prevalent with these types of systems and is often more destructive given the consolidation of valuable data on just one system.

Our data recovery engineers have helped recover hundreds of VMware virtual machines all over the world. One recent example was a RAID failure. The server running a RAID 5 configuration lost two of its five drives due to physical failure. Unfortunately, the server hosted the company’s Virtual Exchange server among other virtual servers – therefore all e-mail was lost.

Due to physical failure of the two hard drives, it was decided that all five hard drives be sent for imaging. Once the engineers had repaired and imaged the two bad drives with the three good drives, the RAID was rebuilt using our proprietary tools. The Exchange database (priv1.edb) was located and copied to new media.

Back at the company’s offices, the IT department had configured another VM server to accept the Exchange data from the recovery. In less than 24 hours, the RAID was recovered, and we extracted the Exchange database containing the staff’s 749 mailboxes. Also, the company’s IT staff were able to migrate e-mail from the returned offline EDB file to the new live Exchange server. Our tools, such as PowerControls, allow scripted importation of multiple mailboxes into a live production server without the need to extract to PST files and then re-import into Exchange.

Adrian Briscoe, GM APAC, Kroll Ontrack