Question on DIRT tool with forest rebuild requirement

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Nov 13th, 2008
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We have a customer that has a corrupted AD forest. This is Unity 5.0/Server 2003/Primary-failover Unity/2 off board Exchange servers/DCs. We've had Microsoft look at it, and they are saying the only way to fix this is to rebuild the forest from scratch.


This is a VM only integration, but it has the following interesting statistics associated with it:


4327 Licensed users

214 call handlers

3 separate mail stores across the two storage groups (1 per exchange server).


I was considering doing the following:


1. Build a new Server 2003 AD.

2. Build up Exchange servers.

3. Build up Unity

4. Use DIRT tool to restore all users/messages/user settings/call handlers/create accounts/etc.


My questions on this:

1. Total storage on exchange servers is less than 10 gig. Can DIRT handle a backup with messages of this size?


2. When a DIRT restore is run with multiple mail stores on multiple servers, I'm assuming the restore will put everyone back into a single mail store. This is okay, but I need to be certain it will work.


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Tommer Catlin Thu, 11/13/2008 - 08:38
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DIRT will be handle some of it. I would not count on the messages being backed up, or if you do, you will have 4327 PST files, which will take a loooong time to export and import back again. Basically what DIRT is doing is running a script in the background which is ExMerge (MS tool for exchange import/export of emails)


I would probably run ExMerge by itself to backup the Exchange Store of everyone's mailbox. I would then Restore the mailboxes on the new Exchange server.

After, I would DIRT backup the old server, and DIRT restore to the new server.


ExMerge will not, nor will DIRT create and move Exchange users around the Message Stores. You will have to do that manually after you get Exchange users imported.


You will also need more space to run the backup. Probably attach a USB drive external storage for the PST files that get created.


DIRT will handle everything else BUT the message store in this case. DIRT is really only good for small backups of messages.


Of course, with something this large, I would run through a Pilot or test for your test plan on how it will work. Create some users if you can, backup DIRT, backup using ExMerge, restore on the new server, etc.

Clifford McGlamry Thu, 11/13/2008 - 09:12
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Ok. I don't have a problem per se, but I'm unclear how this will work.


If we backup the exchange and Unity data in the old forest, when we move to the new forest, I know DIRT can create the user accounts/mailboxes in the forest. I've done this before.


If we use ExMerge to backup exchange, will the restore go into the mailboxes for the correct users?

Tommer Catlin Thu, 11/13/2008 - 09:24
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ExMerge can create the AD users and Mailboxes, then dumping the messages into the store.


DIRT does not care about the server name, forest or any of that stuff. If you DIRT restore and DIRT fines out that John Does is not an AD users, it will create the user and create the mailbox on the fly. If ExMerge finds there is not user John Doe, it will create the account and dump the messages into it.


My advice, DIRT Restore so Unity creates the accounts. And everything is setup and runnning. (test it all also.)


Then use ExMerge to restore the messages. Exmerge will match up the alias.pst to the alias in AD and place the messages into the correct mailbox. If there is a mismatch of aliases, it will recreate the user with the PST alias.


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