Since this blog is brand new, I will be moving over some content from my Squidoo lens MS Exchange System Administration. This is a targeted set of tips and tricks for Administering Exchange 2003 and 2007, with some add-ons tossed in such as Symantec Enterprise Vault and Blackberry Enterprise Server. There are also some great Outlook tips included.
Probably the best tip in the bunch is this:
Do a restore drill and make sure your backups are running properly!
Backups are not sexy or fun but they are the most important thing an email administrator does.
Too many times I have experienced disappointment relating to a restore task. Maybe it turns out that the backup wasn't set to backup the drive in question, or that server was mistakenly not included in the proper schedule. Perhaps you just do not know how to quickly restore data. Doing a practice drill of the type of items you are most likely to be asked to restore will bring any problems to light before the business unit managers ask you for anything to be restored. You have a chance to fix problems, and also get practice with the software so that when you are next asked to restore data it will be a familiar and easier experience.
Restore drills also help an IT team clarify team roles and speed up team performance. The admin in charge of the backup software may not be the same person as the server administrator, or the person who sends tapes off site.
How do you do a restore drill? At it's most simple, you should identify a cross section of types of data that you might expect a user to need restored. For example, email mailbox or mail file, data in home directory on network share, server configuration information, business system data, etc.
Then discuss with your sys. admin team that you will be performing a restore drill and notify your team which pieces of data to test. Have them restore the data to a particular folder, not the original location. Ask the team to make notes of any problems or delays encountered, and at the end of the exercise take time to fix any problems. Use the drill as an opportunity to make sure team documentation of the restore process is complete and accurate.