Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing Exchange writer’s data.

Been facing the Exchange VSS Writer issue  when I backup my Exchange Server 2007 with Veeam Backup & Replication for quite sometime, and the only way to clear this out is by rebooting the Exchange Server or sometime it will pass through from the second or third job retry.

Last Friday 16th Nov, 2012 my Veeam Backup jobs suppose to run as Full Active Backup as per my configuration, Backup went fine for all the Backup Jobs, except the Backup Job which contains the Exchange Mailbox Server, it gives the usual error;

11/16/2012 8:43:20 PM :: Unable to release guest. Error: Unfreeze error: [Backup job failed.
Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data.
A VSS critical writer has failed. Writer name: [Microsoft Exchange Writer]. Class ID: [{76fe1ac4-15f7-4bcd-987e-8e1acb462fb7}]. Instance ID: [{8ea7190d-337c-448f-b264-3401303b586b}]. Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_FREEZE]. Error code: [0x800423f2].]

I have reboot it, and retry the job but no joy it didn’t help. I rebooted second and third time, but no joy The error is persistent.

I searched and searched for a solution but the usual result showed up, either reboot the server to clear the VSS writer Timed Out or restart the Microsoft Information Store which will clear the VSS Timed Out. I have done, both but without any luck.

I fed up from troubleshooting during my holiday and I left home for fishing. While I’m at the sea, my mind triggered out that why don’t you Exclude the C:\Drive of the Exchange VM and select only those drives which contains the Exchange Database?

Hummm, it seems it’s a brilliant idea. As soon as I reached home, I immideltly, logged in remotely again and I Excluded the C:\Drive VMDK SCSI (0:0) from the job and selected only those which contains the Exchange Database, “the disks are vRDM”;

SCSI (0:1)
SCSI (0:2)
SCSI (0:3)
SCSI (0:4)
SCSI (0:5)
SCSI (0:6)
SCSI (0:8)
SCSI (0:9)
SCSI (0:10)
SCSI (0:11)
SCSI (0:12)
SCSI (0:13)
SCSI (0:14)
SCSI (0:15)
SCSI (1:0)
SCSI (1:1)
SCSI (1:2)
SCSI (1:3)
SCSI (1:4)
SCSI (1:5)
SCSI (1:6)
SCSI (1:8)

Imagine, the Job passed the Snapshot Process so fast and I’m surprised that the job is started reading :) and the Exchange Database has been put in Backup Mode and the backup Speed is a bit faster 1.6 TB finished in 4 Hours :)

Why Excluding the SCSI (0:0) which is the C:\SystemDrive of the Exchange 2007 Virtual Machine and Including only the vRDM SCSI Drives the process will pass successfully without VSS Error or Timed Out?

What is the restoration impact of Backing up only the those drives where the Exchange Database resides without the the C:\Drive SCSI (0:0).

Will it be possible configuring another job against the Exchange VM to backup only the C:\Drive SCSI (0:0) without the rest of other drives? And when I want to restore it, I have to restore the Job which contains the C:\Drives and followed by the other Job which backed up the Database Drives?

I can confirm that, I have Selected All Disks to process under the Disk Exclusions and the job Failed. But I have amended the Selection and I included SCSI (0:0) which contains the Virtual Machine System Drive and the backup successful.
I think the reason why it didn’t work when the All Disks radio button is selected but it does when the SCSI Disks are selected including the SCSI (0:0) which includes the System Drive.

The Virtual Machine is limited to 60 Virtual SCSI Controllers/Targets and when Veeam Backup is initiating job to process the Backup, it creates a Loop within the SCSI Controllers selected in the VM. If any drives / SCSI Controller is presented, it will be added for the Backup. While Exchange is a bit sensitive to wait for the entire process of Veeam Backup Job to go from SCSI (0:0) till SCSI (3:15) which is the last SCSI Controller, it failed because VSS Snapshot it didn’t pass within the time frame that specified by Veeam.
But by selecting the correct SCSI Controller/Disks which are presented within the Virtual Machine, I think Veeam Intelligent enough to pickup only those SCSI Disks which are presented/Selected.


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  1. #1 by habibalby on November 18, 2012 - 8:57 am

    Reblogged this on dailyvmtech and commented:

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