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zoltank
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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by zoltank » Sep 18, 2012 3:14 pm 2 people like this post

Jamie Pert wrote:Do I know trust Veeam's answer? I honestly don't know, if the VM dies and I find out that my Exchange backups are not infact "OK" I'm f****d
As someone already mentioned, why not use Veeam's SureBackup to verify for sure that your backups are good? :?

We have a SureBackup job scheduled to run after every backup of our Exchange server to make sure our backup is viable. We also have it set up to email us the results. It's nice waking up in the morning and having an email waiting on your phone saying all your backups are good to go; makes me feel warm inside.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Andreas Neufert » Oct 23, 2012 10:03 pm 3 people like this post

Hi everybody,

at one of my customers I faced the VIX unfreeze timeout error.
Our support sent me some backgound Information that brought me to right solution at this customer.

Customer implemented a fresh Exchange 2010 install at a new storage System with enough disks.
Added one new user and tried to backup => VIX error

We checked IO load => nothing with a Peak of 300 IO/s => Latency under 5 MS

So Disk Performance itself was not the problem.


Support sent me Information that describes the process as follow:
As for the VSS errors:
The issue itself is related to 20 second built-in hard-coded timeout in MS Exchange VSS writer.
Here is how backup process works:
2.1. initiate VSS freeze of VM, there are two ways. admin share(b) and VIX(a)
a) we connect to VC over VIX(tcp 443,902), VC passes through our agent to ESX/ESXi, ESX/ESXi passes data inside VM, and our agent is being executed via VMware tools.
b) we connect to admin share and push our agent via SMBFS/CIFS protocol after deploying of our agent, we initiate VSS freeze of the VM at the point when VM is frozen, countdown begins, Exchange VSS writer can't stay frozen longer than 20 seconds. this is by design of Microsoft.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library ... s.85).aspx
2.2. we go to vSphere and create a VMware snapshot of the VM
2.3. when VMware snapshot is created we go back to VM and unfreeze the VM
2.4. then data transfer itself and then snapshot commit

So, between step 2.1(when countdown begins) and step 2.3 we have only 20 seconds. If Veeam doesn't freeze the VM in timely manner, Windows VSS subsystem does it by itself. Hence you get unfreeze error.

Snapshot creation for the VM should take only couple of seconds! If it takes any longer you won't make it in 20 seconds window.

Also I should say that operation via VIX are slower than operations through admin share.
Also operations through ESX/ESXi server are usually faster than operations through VC server.
So a Snapshot creation time under 20 seconds (20 seconds - Overhead to be trur) is also key to solve the vix error.
At this customer the new ESX Server was added to an existing vcenter that was under heavy load.

In this tread someone reported that he solved the Problem by backup the VM directly over a single ESXi Server Veeam Connection (not though vcenter). That reduced snapshot time and... backup worked.

At the customer we opened a VMware ticket to investigate why the snapshot creation Needs so much time.


Support also gave the tip that networkless VSS processing can reduce VSS processing time.
With 6.1 HF1 you can manipulate VSS Connection order by adding a registry key (networkless first)
http://forums.veeam.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 207#p60260

Code: Select all

InverseVssProtocolOrder
DWORD
1
Here you need to use an predefined user "Administrator" for our VSS "Exchangeservername\Administrator" or "Domain\Administrator". An other member of Administrator Group are not valid because of MS restrictions. (you can edit these in the Group policies if needed).

Also additionally helpful can be to disable UAC

Because of (Disk)Performance and Snapshot Performance schedule the Exchange Backup Job separately when no other backup or Exchange maintenance Job runs. Check also other maintenance Windows (Virus Scanner, Windows updates,..)

VIX unfreeze error => Check Disk Performance => Check Snapshot creation time under 20 seconds => Check the other stuff described in this thread.

CU Andy

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 03, 2012 6:19 am

Hello,
In my Exchange 2007 Enterprise with 2000 users mailbox with vRDM, I'm getting this error

Code: Select all

11/2/2012 3:17:15 PM :: 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: [{619c1fa0-ba3f-4c6d-bd1a-7e7f7daa9051}]. Writer's state: [VSS_WS_FAILED_AT_FREEZE]. Error code: [0x800423f2].
and after couple of retries it starts working.

Last night it has finished all the 3 retries option and didn't go through to freez the Exchange quest machine to start backing up.. I logged on to the exchange server and rebooted it, after that I retry the Veeam Backup Job and it start backing up the Exchange immediately.

Does changing the flag disk.EnableUUID will help to let the VM know it's being quiesced for application-level (true) or file-level quiescing (false)?

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Amerloc » Nov 09, 2012 4:47 pm 1 person likes this post

We were experiencing VSS timeouts when replicating Exchange 2010 servers, and we found out that if we restart the "COM+ Event System" service prior to replicating, it seems to work everytime.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Andreas Neufert » Nov 09, 2012 5:37 pm

@amerloc Thanks for sharing this

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by cpurn » Nov 12, 2012 12:24 am

HI

We thought we would share with everyone about the fix to this problem in our environment.

We bumped up our Exchange server (mailbox role) from 4G to 16G and the backup for the first time in 2 weeks worked perfectly last night. It's arguable if the reboot was actually the fix when we added extra ram, time will tell and we'll update this post if that was the case.

Cheers

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Cokovic » Nov 12, 2012 10:09 am

We are experiencing the same problem and see the same behaviour like habibalby and Amerloc. After rebooting the corresponding server every first run of Veeam is successfull. Any subsequent run will fail several times before it is successfull again.

I will give it a try with the COM+ Event System and report back.

And our Exchange server has actually 24GB RAM. So i think no issue with that here. ;)

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Cokovic » Nov 13, 2012 11:46 am

Mmmmh looks promising. Restarted COM+ Event System service yesterday and backup ran fine with the first run. No VSS issue occured. Will repeat this for the rest of the week and see how it goes.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Cokovic » Nov 15, 2012 2:28 pm 5 people like this post

OK. So here are my observations so far.

First of all it's necessary to explain our setup a bit. Actually we have 3 mailbox servers running. Server 1 and Server 2 are holding the active databases. Server 3 is a complete passive node meaning that he holds only passive database copies of Server1 and Server2. And this is the one we are backing up every day (as far as i remember it's best practice by Microsoft to backup only the passive database copies).

In the case where you perform the backup of passive databases the MS Exchange Replica VSS Writer is involved in all the backup tasks performed on this node. So in case of a successfull backup run MS Exchange Replica VSS Writer notifies Server 1 and Server 2 with the active databases about the successfull backup and issues the log truncation command to them. Log truncation happens on the active node then and these changes are replicated back to the passive copies. Log truncation doensn't happen on the passive node itself!

Now after i've restarted COM+ Event System service every first backup run by Veeam was successfull. Always! But we ran into another issue with this. Log truncation didn't happen and i was also missing the corresponding event on the passive node that should occure when the disks were backed up and Veeam says "Truncating Transaction Logs". Event that should appear at that moment in your Application Log should be from MSExchangeRepl with ID 2046:

Code: Select all

The Microsoft Exchange Replication service VSS Writer instance 17aaf2a1-d81c-4e1f-ab2e-cccdf26066db has successfully completed the backup of database 'xxx'.  

Database log truncation has been requested for this database. Log truncation will occur on the active copy after the next log generation is created. Log truncation will occur automatically on the passive copies after that log file is copied.
But after restarting COM+ Event System Service and Veeam backup was successfull i couldnt see any of these events. And also on the active nodes no events occured for the successfull backup run. Taking a look into the properties of the databases just showed "Last full backup" with the wrong time stamp. So it seemed that Exchange wasn't aware that a successfull backup was made and log should have been truncated.

After further investigation i've found out why. After restarting Server 3 i've opened a command prompt and issued the command "vssadmin list writers". A bunch of VSS writers showed up. It looks like this:

Code: Select all

vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.

Writer name: 'Microsoft Exchange Replica Writer'
   Writer Id: {76fe1ac4-15f7-4bcd-987e-8e1acb462fb7}
   Writer Instance Id: {ce816b93-4819-4491-b01f-219143971883}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

Writer name: 'Microsoft Exchange Writer'
   Writer Id: {76fe1ac4-15f7-4bcd-987e-8e1acb462fb7}
   Writer Instance Id: {5978e961-78bf-4cb8-8022-91f8d553027b}
   State: [1] Stable
   Last error: No error

...and many more VSS writers installed on the system
If i now restart the COM+ Event System service and issue the above command again the vssadmin list writers shows......nothing! The list was empty in my case. To get the writers back i've restarted Volume Shadow Copy service. But not every writer was back again. I was still missing the Exchange writers (especially the Replica VSS writer). So i've restarted the Information Store too (as it is a passive node i could do this without any affect on my production environment. Never do this on an active node while working hours ;)) and the Exchange writers showed up again when doing a vssadmin list writers. And guess what. First backup run worked like a charm and log truncation was performed without any issue.

Looks like we have found a workaround for our environment and maybe it's helpfull for someone else of you guys out there.

Will still watch this behaviour like every day. If i find out anything else on this case i will keep you guys in this forum informed. So stay tuned.

Ah and before i forget it a big thanks to habibalby and Amerloc for pointing me into the right direction :)

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 17, 2012 4:08 am

I'm still getting VSS issues;

Code: Select all

 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 rebooted the Exchange many times last night, I have moved the Exchange VM to less consumption host among the vSphere Cluster, I have moved also the HotAdd Proxy to the same host but I'm not getting it to go through.

Any help?
Thanks,

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 17, 2012 5:27 pm

Hello,

After almost of 5 hours continuesly, with troubleshooting Exchange 2007 VSS Write, but after Excluding the C:\ System Drive from the Job in the disk exclusion , THE JOB STARTED :)

tHANKS,

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 18, 2012 5:21 am

Wondering;

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
  • 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)
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?

Thanks,

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 18, 2012 8:38 am

Hi once again,

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. Any reason why the selection of SCSI Disks will work while if the All Disk is selected Backup job of Exchange Server 2007 will fail?

SCSI (0:0)
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)

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 18, 2012 8:52 am

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 64 SCSI Controllers/Drives 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.

If someone else having a VSS Writer issue / Timed Out, I would be glad it he/she can do try selecting the disk/SCSI Controller within the Veeam Backup Job and confirm back the result.

Thanks,

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Gostev » Nov 18, 2012 11:36 am

habibalby wrote:Any reason why the selection of SCSI Disks will work while if the All Disk is selected Backup job of Exchange Server 2007 will fail?
This is nothing but a coincidence during your testing, in my opinion.
habibalby wrote:The Virtual Machine is limited to 64 SCSI Controllers/Drives 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.
No, nothing like this happens during backup - for sure. The job knows exactly what virtual disks are present immediately, by simply querying VM configuration - and only those disks are backed up. Of course, the job does not need to "go through" and "probe" every single SCSI port...

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 18, 2012 11:48 am

Hi Antone,
Do you want me to confirm that by Selecting All Disk and show a screen shot of failure? And another test with the Certain SCSI selection? To show that with the SCSI selection the backup pass and successfully runs.

Thanks

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Gostev » Nov 18, 2012 11:58 am

Hi Hussain, actually screenshots will not show anything at all. If you can reliably reproduce this, then please open a support case and provide them the debug logs so that they could see the differences in different runs.

Knowing how disk exclusion is actually implemented in the code, I highly doubt it actually can affect anything at all around VSS freeze or VM snapshot creation. Exclusion logic kicks in after VSS freeze is performed successfully, and VM snapshot is created. Only at this point, exclusion settings are used to determine which VM disks will be put into the backup. Before that, exclusion settings are not leveraged at all in any part of the process. So, I strongly believe you are chasing a wild goose here.

Thanks!

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 18, 2012 12:03 pm

Hi Antone, I did that already and waiting their response.

Thanks

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Cokovic » Nov 18, 2012 4:30 pm 1 person likes this post

I will give this a shot when i'm at work tomorrow. Will report back what happens. Right now we are just going to do a scheduled reboot before backup happens as this will ensure that our backups are always successfull with the first run. Btw. i've provided my logs to my support engineer too.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 18, 2012 4:36 pm

Very curious about the result.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Cokovic » Nov 19, 2012 9:50 am 1 person likes this post

habibalby wrote:Very curious about the result.
Mmmmmh so far i can tell you backup runs fine without needing to reboot it or to restart any services when setting up the job like you mentioned. So instead of using "Select All" i've just selected the corresponding SCSI channels. But i must admit that i have to wait for at least two nightly backups to see how backup goes. Will report back again then.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 19, 2012 10:30 am

Well, let us see. Mine with this configuration till last night didnt fail.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Cokovic » Nov 20, 2012 7:44 am

Didn't helped here. Same as before. Tonight the backup needed 4 retries. So this configuration change makes no difference for me.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by habibalby » Nov 20, 2012 8:23 am

With me still works.. it makes it even better if its without the SCSI (0:0), but the problem is the restoration process takes longer. I its possible for two jobs, one only runs on SCSI 0:0 and the other job for the reset of the controllers.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Gostev » Nov 20, 2012 12:34 pm

habibalby wrote: makes it even better if its without the SCSI (0:0)
Again, I'd like to make it very prominent and clear that better/worse does not make any sense in this case, as disk exclusion settings only kick in after VSS freeze is successfully performed, and the VM snapshot is created. The problem discussed is this topic is specifically with Exchange VSS freeze (which is always system-wide, happens on the guest OS level, and does not care about disk exclusion settings in Veeam).

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by tevans8 » Nov 21, 2012 4:36 pm 1 person likes this post

As a managed services provider, we had this issue randomly appear on several Exchange VMs and even some domain controllers. There was no correlation at all between them, and every troubleshooting attempt failed to uncover anything. It was incredibly frustrating.

When we called support another time, the technician referenced the VIX process is leveraged after the Veeam server tries to directly connect to the VM. This made us curious as to if we could ping the VMs directly from the Veeam server. The Exchange VMs that were failing did not ping while the other Exchange VMs did. Once we made sure the route was good to those VMs, the problem has disappeared.

So, though we could add the VM through vCenter, the VIX protocol communication process was too long in some instances (with all the various pieces). Check to make sure you have direct network connectivity. It worked for us.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by ktrott » Dec 13, 2012 2:03 pm 2 people like this post

i've read most of the ~14 pages of this thread, because i was having a VSS Writer issue that was causing a single VM backup (and replication) to fail (the rest of the VM's in the job were fine).

my error was

Code: Select all

Failed to prepare guest for hot backup. Error: VSSControl: -2147467259 Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data. VSS asynchronous operation is not completed. Operation: [Shadow copies commit]. Code: [0x8004231f].
Error: VSSControl: -2147467259 Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer's data. VSS asynchronous operation is not completed. Operation: [Shadow copies commit]. Code: [0x8004231f].
Mine wasn't an Exchange server, it was my BES server. i tried many, if not all, of the fixes/suggestions on this thread - all to no avail :(

my 'solution' was actually much, much simpler! It was a Disk Space issue (on the VM). The drive had less than ~300MB free on it, which wasn't enough for the VSS Writer to do it's thing. I increased the disk size (in vSphere and then in the OS) and my backups and replications were successful again

here is an external page i stumbled on that had some more details on troubleshooting - http://kb.hyve.com/wiki/veeam%20backup% ... s%20writer

perhaps a reach, but some that are 'excluding' Disks from their B&R process and seeing more success - is it a simple disk space issue on that drive you just excluded?

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by ZachW » Dec 13, 2012 3:39 pm

You could've made this a little easier on yourself. One thing I will always recommend while troubleshooting is if there is an error code being thrown then try and find out what the error code means, as it will likely tell you more than the error message its self. If you take a look at error code 0x8004231f you will see that it will point back to 'Insufficient Storage'. I understand that you eventually ended up at the same results and did realize that the issue was much simpler than you thought but I just wanted to suggest this for future issues with either you or other Veeam users.

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by jdmarchand » Mar 04, 2013 9:11 pm 1 person likes this post

I have been closely looking at this thread for a while now.
We run a VMWare farm with several Exchange 2010 VM, all on disjoint networks.

We wanted to keep using Veeam backups over ViX so that there is no direct connectivity to our backup infrastructure.

We tried everything in:
http://www.veeam.com/kb1680

My results are that usually after restarting COM+ and the Information store in order to re-register the Exchange VSS writer, backups would work and fail again afterwards. Only thing I was reluctant to try is direct network connectivity, since I wanted to keep everything nicely separated and not introduce a layer of complexity (routing + firewalling my backup network)

Today, I decided to test direct network connectivity to all the tenants exchange servers. All the exchange server worked first try, which never happened before.

Clearly, there is a latency involved in making the VSS go from Veeam to vCenter -> host -> tools -> VSS and back breaking the 20 seconds hardcoded limit.

Hope this helps,

JD

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Re: VSS timeout with Exchange 2010

Post by Andreas Neufert » Mar 04, 2013 9:35 pm

Thanks for the feedback JD

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