In an Exchange brick-level backup, is it necessary or recommended to have a client such as Microsoft Outlook? In other words, can we directly communicate with Exchange Server to do the brick-level backup?
You don't need a client to run an Exchange brick-level backup. The third-party brick-level backup software takes care of the connection to the Exchange server. However, keep in mind that running an Exchange brick-level backup requires a MAPI log on to every mailbox, which is slow. Brick-level backup software is typically slow as well.
There are a number of options on the market that permit you to run a normal tape-based or snapshot backup that will allow the recovery of individual items from those backups directly. The three options on the market are Quest Recovery Manager for Exchange, Ontrack PowerControls, and Paraben Email Examiner (disclaimer: I work for Quest).
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Related information from SearchExchange.com:
Expert Advice: What is an Exchange brick-level backup?
Tip: Exchange Server mailbox-level MAPI backups
FAQ: Exchange Server backup and recovery
Reference Center: Exchange backup and disaster recovery resources
Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting
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