Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Office Communications Server - Backup (Part 1)

Almost a year ago OCS was RTM'ed and most of our partners and customers did install OCS right away in their infrastructure. Some historical moments of e-office on the 27th of August 2007.

In some cases we did a little bit of help and extra consultancy to make sure the product was implemented successfully. Some other customers we did large implementations with OCS and installed additional UC components as CWA, COMO, Edge, Mediation Server etc.

Looking afterwards to those projects, customers absolutely need to ask themselves how they backup the OCS environment. As OCS becomes a critical service for organizations especially for IM, Voice, Video and Conferencing it’s important to have a backup strategy and a well tested recovery plan. This is absolutely crucial in a case of a failure.

Before implementing a Backup/Restore plan please first consider these main topics:


Step 1. Business Requirements

  • Business continuity (how many business driven applications do rely on OCS?, how important is Voice over IP? etc.
  • Data completeness (OCS will store User Data, Compliance related data and configuration data. How frequent would like to backup this?)
  • Data criticality (How do you deal with compliance related data? How long do you need to store this?)
  • Cost constraints (How many time will you lose when having a Disaster Recovery? How many does that cost?

When you have a clear answer to these questions its absolutely the time for you to design the OCS backup and restore plan.

Step 2. What needs to be backed up?

When looking at OCS you see that OCS stores different information and configuration on different levels within the architecture. When looking closer you see three different levels.

  • Global Level Settings (apply to all computers in the forest structure)
  • Pool Level Settings (which configuration settings apply to an invidual Standard Edition Server or Enterprise Edition Servers within the same enterprise-pool)
  • Computer Level Settings (machine level settings which are specific to that OCS running machine)

Make sure you have a clear view about which OCS role you need to backup. When having that in your mind I really suggest to read the OCS Backup and Restore Guide or purchase the OCS Resource Kit. Looking at these documents you will have a clear and more detailed view which level you need to backup.

Step 3. Backup and Restore Tools

There are a couple of tools you can use to backup specific components.

  • LCSCmd.exe - OCS command line tool to export and import server settings.
  • SQL Server Management Studio (Express) to backup all types of OCS databases.
  • NTBackup.exe - file system backup solution

In the next part (2) of this thread we will show you how you can export OCS configuration settings. Additional we show you which RTC databases are present in OCS and which content they contain.

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