Kroll Ontrack PowerControls for Exchange cannot open database on Exchange 2016 CU5

SUMMARY

Recent update to Exchange 2016 CU5 made database changes to the EDB and LOG file structure for exchange. Since this update, Kroll is unable to perform granular recovery

ISSUE

When attempting to mount an Exchange 2016 database for granular recovery using Kroll PowerControls for Exchange 7.x or 9.0, the database is unable to be read.  
 

RESOLUTION

Unfortunately, Exchange 2016 CU5 cannot be uninstalled or rolled back. Once the database migration contained in this update is completed, it cannot be undone. 

Kroll revealed support for Exchange 2016 CU5+ in their release 9.1 line, Unitrends is currently distributing 9.3 as of February 4 2020.   Kroll 7.x releases are not being updated to support this change and must be updated to a current 9.1 or higher release.  As of release 9.2, this product is branded "Ontrack PowerControls" and "Kroll" is no longer the brand name, but this is the same product.  

Unitrends customers who have acquired prior Kroll licencing through their Unitrends purchase directly, or who have Enterprise Plus licensed software editions, and who still have active support agreements without lapse since original Kroll purchase can reach out to Unitrends support and acquire updated license keys. 

It will take typically one business day to issue updated keys once requested. 

Unitrends makes available the Ontrack  installation package on our support website downloads page.  An updated key is required to use the current release.  Ontrack now issues new keys with each upgrade edition and older keys cannot be re-used.  Supported customers with prior Kroll licenses with no lapse in support are able to upgrade to the most recent Ontrack release certified by Unitrends QA team in most cases without charge and can acquire updated keys for that product from Unitrends Support via Chat or phone engagement.  

Alternatives for recovery of items in the interim for those on Kroll 7.x licenses who are ineligible for upgrade:  
Customers effected by this issue caused by Microsoft may perform a recovery of their database to a standby/recovery database on an available exchange server and can then use other tools available from Microsoft to export user mailboxes to PST or perform other operations to extract messages.  Customers can find information in this Microsoft KB. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/Exchange/high-availability/disaster-recovery/restore-data-using-recovery-dbs

Unitrends support can assist customers recovering an exchange backup from a Unitrends Appliance via Agent based backups or GoS Virtual backups through FLR to a recovery database, but if users have issues exporting data from those recovered objects they will need to engage a Microsoft partner or Microsoft Support for further assistance.  

 

CAUSE

In March 2017, Microsoft released CU5 for Exchange 2016.  This update has made undocumented changes to the Exchange database schema rendering not just Kroll, but the tools of many other vendors used for granular recovery unable to be used at this time.  This was undocumented by Microsoft and these vendors are working tirelessly to understand what Microsoft changed so they can correct their tools. 

NOTES

Note, all Kroll licenses issued after Sept 1 2016 are for unlimited mailboxes and also include granular SharePoint recovery features.  Prior more restrictive licenses will be replaced with the new license for customers with Enterprise plus tiers and for grandfathered customers with standalone Kroll purchases and active support agreements.  

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