Recovery Database – How They are Different from Standard Exchange Mailboxes

In this article we learn about the benefits of Recovery Databases in Ms Exchange and understand how they are different from normal Exchange databases.

Recovery Database - How They Are Different From Standard Exchange MailboxesA special type of mailbox database in present in MS Exchange, called Recovery Database (RDB), is used for a very specific task. RDB allows users to mount restored mailbox databases for the purpose of extracting data from restored databases, under recovery operations. This extraction can be done using the cmdlet; New-MailboxRestoreRequest. Once you are done with extracting the data, you can either merge it with another mailbox database or folder, by simply exporting the data. RDBs allow for recovering data from backup database or database copies, without causing any disturbance to user in accessing data that is currently online.

The 2013 edition of MS Exchange allows for directly restoring data on a recovery database. When the recovered data is mounted as RDB, the administrator can restore individual items, including individual mailboxes and items within the mailbox. There are two ways for restoring on a RDB.

  1. In-case of an already existing RDB, the database can be dismounted by the application, and remounted again, after restoring data on RDB and log files.
  2. While using MS Exchange it is possible to store log files and databases in any location. The restored data will then be analyzed by Exchange for replaying the transaction log and updating the databases. You can then configure the RDB to a point in the already recovered database.

Following are the Main Points of Difference between RDBs and Standard Exchange Mailbox Database:

  1. Exchange Mailbox DatabaseExchange Management Shell is used for creating a RDB.
  2. You cannot send a mail from a RDB. Its client protocol access is blocked, thus disabling it from sending or receiving messages through the messaging system.
  3. You cannot use a RDB for connecting to your account. To get access to a mailbox contained in an RDB, you will have to merge it in an already existing mailbox.
  4. There is no scope for online maintenance in RDB.
  5. Management and system policies are not applied, thus preventing RDB from getting deleted during a recovery process.
  6. You cannot enable circular logging in RDBs.
  7. There is only scope for mounting a single RDB at a time over the mailbox server.
  8. There is no scope of creating copies of mailbox database in RDB
  9. You can use RDB as target for restoring but not for backups.
  10. When a recovered database is mounted over an RDB, it is no longer tied to the original mailbox by any means.

Using a RDB

There are a few things that one is supposed to know before they begin to use a RDB for performing a recover Exchange operation. You can use a RDB only with the 2013 Exchange or later version mailbox databases. There is no support for mailbox databases from old Exchange Server editions. The mounted databases and the one used for extraction and merging, both should be in one Active Directory Forest. You can use RDB for various situations like initiating a specific item recovery or a complete mailbox recovery.

Author Introduction:

Van Sutton is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including repair Outlook file error and bkf recovery software products. For more information visit

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