Snapshot and offhost backups with the Exchange Agent

The Exchange Agent supports the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), a snapshot provider service only available on Windows Server 2003 or later. Using VSS, a point in time view of the Exchange database is snapped and then backed up, leaving the actual Exchange database open and available for users.

Offhost backup enables the backup operation to be processed on a Backup Exec media server instead of on the Exchange server. Moving the backup from the Exchange server to a media server enables better backup performance and frees the remote computer as well.

If the Advanced Disk-based Backup Option (ADBO) is installed on the media server, you can use the Backup Exec Granular Recovery Technology (GRT) option when you create an offhost backup for the Information Store.

See Configuring a GRT-enabled offhost backup for Exchange resources.

The Exchange Agent snapshot does not support the following:

  • NAS configurations

  • The Exchange 2003 Recovery Storage Group feature

  • Mixing snapshot backups and non-snapshot backups

    Due to a Microsoft Exchange limitation, if non-snapshot backups are run as part of a data protection scheme, then snapshot backups should not be run. If snapshot backups are run, non-snapshot backups should not be done.

You can find a list of compatible devices at the following URL:

The type of backup method that is available when using VSS with the Exchange Agent depends on the version of Exchange Server, and are listed in the following table:

Table: Available backup methods for Exchange snapshot versions

Exchange version

Available backup methods

Exchange Server 2003

The following backup methods are available:

  • Full

  • Copy

Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 or later

Exchange Server 2007/2010

The following backup methods are available:

  • Full

  • Copy

  • Differential

  • Incremental storage group level snapshot backup

  • Individual database restore

Exchange Server 2007

LCR/CCR – Back up from the passive copy or the active copy.


You cannot back up the passive copy of the Standby Continuous Replication (SCR) database with Exchange Server 2007. The SCR is not available for backup selection.

Snapshot and offhost backups with the Exchange Agent