Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer error

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Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer error

Veeam Logoby MPD » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:30 pm

I have heard that new in Veeam version 7 is the ability to exclude the vCenter database during backup of the vCenter SQL instance. In Veeam versions past, we needed to work around the issue of VSSControl failing to freeze the database actively locked by vCenter by targeting the ESXi server instead of vCenter. This broke vMotion of the job, obviously.

My question is, if you are NOT using the SQL Express instance for vCenter, and instead using a remote MS 2008 R2/2012 SQL server, can you backup the SQL server VM using Veeam in version 7? I have given the Veeam service account full permissions to the SQL server VM (version 7 checks the registry?) but the job fails. I'd like to avoid using SQL Express with vCenter, and be able to consistently backup only a single, consolidated Veeam, vCenter SQL server.

I am using EqualLogic storage, and thought I could have Veeam backup snapshots of the storage volumes, but the EqualLogic doesn't use persistent initiator naming so when the snapshots are taken, the iSCSI initiator will not reconnect to the new names. Major bummer.

Thank you for your help, in advance.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby Gostev » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:35 pm

Yes, you can.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby MPD » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:04 pm

Is there a supported method to back up the remote SQL server using Application Aware Image Processing when the SQL server holds both the Veeam and vCenter databases?
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby Gostev » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:07 pm

This should work out of box, unless something broke in v7 around SQL interaction during application-aware processing of our own SQL VM. By now, I have not heard any issues reported.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby MPD » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:22 pm

OK, I will check my setup, as I am seeing the same behavior as version 6.5. Thank you, sir.

EDIT: I just saw that vCenter 5.5 isn't on version 7's compatibility list. My mistake.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby MPD » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:50 am

I reverted to vCenter 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) and installed a fresh VM of Veeam Enterprise version 7 with today's Veeam patch 1. I have removed the jobs and vCenter server from Veeam, then added the Veeam service account to the SQL server's Local Administrator group to provide registry access as referenced in this post: Backup Veeam and vCenter on same server

I am receiving the VSS timeouts when backing up the vCenter/Veeam SQL server as in version 6.5. I am using a backup proxy also installed in a VM that utilizes the MS iSCSI Initiator combined with Equallogic HIT for MPIO. All other test backups are performing snappy save the vCenter/Veeam SQL server instance.

Are there any registry tweaks for Veeam version 7 for specifying the vCenter database location? I understand that I can add the standalone ESXi host but it will break vMotion of the SQL server, which I'd like to avoid. I have been reading that version 7 fixes the VSS issues, but I am not finding anything in the version 7 documentation as to how the fix was implemented

Thanks all. Version 7 is awesome- great work!
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby v.Eremin » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:14 am 1 person likes this post

vCenter remote databases should be, indeed, excluded from VSS processing durig vCenter VM backup, as long as sufficient rights to the remote server registry are granted to the account under which vCenter is added to the backup console.

If you’ve followed recommended step and still experience the said issue, kindly, contact our support team and let them investigate it directly, since the deep log investigation seems to be required.

Thanks.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby MPD » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:51 pm

I will look into my configuration and contact support. Thank you.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby v.Eremin » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:54 pm

It will be also appreciated, if you provide the support ticket ID, so that, we can follow the case and update the topic with the found resolution. Thanks.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby MPD » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:34 pm

I have opened case 00460133 titled "Version 7 vCenter Remote SQL Server Backup, VSS Timeout". Perhaps my log files will help
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby MPD » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:25 pm 1 person likes this post

I have been working with Veeam to try an remedy this, but haven't made much progress:

1. Added Veeam Backup user to SQL server Local Administrators - Job fails
2. Added Veeam Backup user to vCenter server Local Administrators - Job fails
3. Manually added vCenter database to Veeam's database exclusions (required Veeam registry edit. VSS is adding the database itself) - Job fails
4. Added exceptions to Windows Firewall on Proxy, Veeam Server, vCenter, SQL - Job fails
5. Turned off Windows Firewall on Proxy, Veeam Server, vCenter, SQL - Job fails
6. Added vCenter server by IP address rather than DNS name - Job fails
7. Use Domain Administrator account - Job fails
8. Recreate Veeam database - Job fails
9. Add standalone ESXi host to job rather than vCenter server - Job works as required
10. Add standalone ESXi host to job and revert changes 1-7 - Job works as required

I am not giving up quite yet. I'd like vMotion to work for my SQL server AND use AAIP for SQL if possible
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby mconte » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:59 pm 1 person likes this post

Same problem here. Support case 00465251.
vCenter 5.1 and its MSSQL server are on distinct VMs.
MSSQL server backup works with "VMware Tools quiescence". If I enable "application-aware backup", job fails with "VSSControl: Failed to freeze guest, wait timeout" error.
I tried to give domain administration rights to the vCenter account used by Veeam to manage the vCenter.
I tried also to give domain admin rights to the "application-aware" domain user.
I also tried to re-import vCenter (and re-create every job) using a domain account with domain admin privileges.

The only way to use application-aware backup is by adding standalone ESXi host, but that's not really a solution, since it doesn't work with vmotion.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby Gostev » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:52 pm 1 person likes this post

Thanks for including support case ID.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby mconte » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:40 am 2 people like this post

Problem solved!

As suggested by Veeam support (case #00465251), I enabled database exclusions with this registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Veeam\Veeam Backup and Replication\EnableDBExclusions = 1 (DWORD).

Then I added vCenter database ("VCDB") to database exclusions (Main menu -> Database exclusions -> Add).
2 exclusions are needed: one using VM IP, one using VM windows name ("mssql1"). With only IP exclusion, backup job still fails.
Now I have application-aware backup working with vCenter DB virtual machine.

One big question: is the VCDB database properly protected now? is it guaranteed to be *always* in consistent and recoverable state when you use database exclusion?

I'm asking because I don't see any 18264 event ("database backed up") for VCDB database, while I still have them for other DBs.
If I don't use application-aware backup, but only "VMware Tools quiescence", I see a 18264 event for each database. Is "VMware Tools quiescence" a better choice for backing up a VM which hosts a vCenter DB? What's the official Veeam best practice about it?

PS: maybe this topic would deserve a detailed KB entry.
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Re: Veeam v7- backing up vCenter's remote SQL VSS writer err

Veeam Logoby Gostev » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:39 pm 2 people like this post

SQL is still fully aware that it is being backed up, which is the most important part. You are simply excluding specific databases from the actual freeze process. Now, all transactional databases, including SQL Server, are fully protected from data loss in case of power loss (which is analogous to crash-consistent backup), that's actually the very reason behind transaction logs, so your data will be safe. The actual recovery (first start up after restore) may take a bit longer due to SQL having to replay transaction log to commit unfinished transactions, but this is the only drawback I can think of.
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