In this article, I'm going to have a look at another new feature of Exchange 2003. This time, it's the Recovery Storage Group. Microsoft provides a full whitepaper on this particular feature, which has been posted to this blog quite recently. Here I will cover the key elements of the Recovery Storage Group – be sure to check out the whitepaper for in-depth information.
What is the Recovery Storage Group?
The Recovery Storage Group (RSG) is a new type of storage group in Exchange 2003 that essentially allows you to mount a copy of a mailbox store onto a production Exchange 2003 server. You can then recover data within the restored mailbox store whilst the current store is still running. Use of the RSG on a production server won't interfere with the users as the RSG is logically isolated; users cannot log into it, and mail cannot be delivered to it. As you can probably guess, the main benefit here is that you don't necessarily need a spare disaster recovery server in its own Active Directory forest to recover a single mailbox or single mailbox store, as was required in Exchange 2000.
Also, one other benefit of the RSG is something that is referred to as a “dial tone recovery strategy”. The idea here is to create a brand new blank database in the event of problems with the production database. This way, your users are up and running much quicker and can send and receive new messages straight away. The failed production database can then be restored to the RSG, the old data extracted using ExMerge, and then transferred back into the users' mailboxes. Of course, once the production database is available again, it makes sense to put the temporary dial tone database into the RSG and recover the data from this database, since it will be much smaller than the restored production database.
The RSG is an excellent utility for recovering single mailboxes or mailbox stores. It isn't a replacement for sound disaster recovery processes though. … [MS Exchange Blog]