I have a VM with Win2008R2 running Exchange 2010 SP1. I'd been doing nightly backups with the Windows Backup tool. We've since decided that a restore, if needed, would take far too long, so we are now looking at doing a replication at the VM level. Ideally, we'd have continuous replication going on so that we could fail over if/when necessary without downtime of more than a few minutes. I also plan to continue doing nightly backups to a remote datacenter just in case.
We are a small company and only have three VMWare ESXi 4.1 (free version) hosts right now. We'd like to do this as cheaply as possible, but it needs to be reliable. I understand I'll probably need to at least get the VMWare Essentials kit.
For replication tools, I've looked at Trilead VM Explorer. It looked promising, but I'm not sure it does the necessary application-aware VSS for a successful and reliable backup of Exchange. I've also looked at Veeam, which does appear to do application-aware VSS, but that stage of the process actually times out unless I do it in the middle of the night - which means I can only do 1 replication a day rather than continuous.
I've also seen that Microsoft does not support snapshots for Exchange. This is confusing because I understand snapshots are required for any backup or replication at the VM level?
Any suggestions? What is normally done at the VM level?
It looks like crash-consistent replication with Veeam along with a nightly full backup would probably be the way to go. Unfortunately, it turns out that the replication interferes with the fax server that we also have hosted on this VM, so I'm just going to have to do all my backups/replications at night until/unless we can get them separated onto different VMs.