NTBackup Error

NTBackup is giving me errors saying "...is not a valid drive, or you do not have access." This is happening in two different scenerios for me.  Two complete different servers and ntbackup programs and backing up to different media.  The strange part is that one night the backup works but the next night backup i get the error.  Nothing is changed in the time between.  

The backup i am most concerend about is my exchange mailbox store.  For example, last two nights ago the backup ran perfect.  Last night, 3 hours, 6 minutes, and 7 seconds in to my backup of server\Microsoft Information Store\First Storage Group is not a valid drive, or you do not have access.  

How can this be?  I am on the server as the admin, with access to everything--one night it works, and the next it doesnt.  Also, if i don't have access how was it able to start and backup 40gb in the 3 hours+?

Like i said, i have this same kind of issue on another server with mapped drives--but right now i just need to focus on this one.  Maybe the answer to this will also help me fix my other backups.  

Any ideas? I hope i provided enough info--if not let me know what you need.  Thanks for the help in advance!!
LB2015Asked:
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zelron22Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Yeah, I'd try that and see if it helps.  NTBACKUP may be writing temp files that are adding to the disk space issue so it works then it fails after a successful backup.
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zelron22Commented:
Are any servers/services restarting?  Anything in the DNS logs, system logs, etc?
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LB2015Author Commented:
It's a small network---no servers or services are restarting during any of this. My DNS log is empty; system log doesn't report any issue during this time frame; i do get messages in the application log: first was a information msg saying ending the backup of the file H:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb not all data in the file has been read--and then the error follows reporting that ntbackup failed.
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zelron22Commented:
Do you have antivirus running on your Exchange server?  Are the Exchange database files excluded from scans?
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LB2015Author Commented:
Yes and Yes
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zelron22Commented:
I'd still try disabling the AV during the scan.  Any other third party apps touching Exchange?  Unified messaging, anything like that?
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LB2015Author Commented:
nothing else...wouldn't something like the AV effect it every night as opposed to every other night?

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zelron22Commented:
Oh, if it were that simple!

This likely doesn't apply, but a guy I used to work for ran into a situation once where his backups were failing and the server crashing every Friday night around midnight.  He did all sorts of troubleshooting for a few weeks.  Finally, he plopped himself down in front of the server on a Friday night and watched the backup.  Around midnight, the cleaning person came in and proceeded to TRY to plug the vacuum cleaner into the UPS...at which point my old boss stopped them and told them to NEVER do that.  He probably set some other safety mechanism in place too, but that's all I remember.  :)

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LB2015Author Commented:
here is a 3 night log--one night it didnt work, next night it worked, next night it didn't....etc.  Same job, nothing changed.  

Backup Status
Operation: Backup
Active backup destination: File
Media name: "ExchangeBackup.bkf created 3/26/2009 at 8:00 PM"


Error: The device reported an error on a request to write data to media.
Error reported: Unknown error.
There may be a hardware or media problem.
Please check the system event log for relevant failures.
The operation was ended.
Backup completed on 3/26/2009 at 8:03 PM.
Directories: 0
Files: 0
Bytes: 0
Time:  1 second

Error: *****\Microsoft Information Store\First Storage Group is not a valid drive, or you do not have access.


----------------------

The operation did not successfully complete.

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_____________________________________________________________________________

Backup Status
Operation: Backup
Active backup destination: File
Media name: "ExchangeBackup.bkf created 3/27/2009 at 8:00 PM"

Volume shadow copy creation: Attempt 1.
Backup of "*****\Microsoft Information Store\First Storage Group"
Backup set #1 on media #1
Backup description: "Set created 3/26/2009 at 4:19 PM"
Media name: "ExchangeBackup.bkf created 3/27/2009 at 8:00 PM"

Backup Type: Normal

Backup started on 3/27/2009 at 8:00 PM.
Backup completed on 3/28/2009 at 2:42 AM.
Directories: 4
Files: 9
Bytes: 91,501,798,582
Time:  6 hours,  42 minutes, and  10 seconds

----------------------

_________________________________________________________________________

Backup Status
Operation: Backup
Active backup destination: File
Media name: "ExchangeBackup.bkf created 3/28/2009 at 8:00 PM"


Error: The device reported an error on a request to write data to media.
Error reported: Unknown error.
There may be a hardware or media problem.
Please check the system event log for relevant failures.
The operation was ended.
Backup completed on 3/28/2009 at 8:03 PM.
Directories: 0
Files: 0
Bytes: 0
Time:  1 second

Error: *****\Microsoft Information Store\First Storage Group is not a valid drive, or you do not have access.


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The operation did not successfully complete.

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LB2015Author Commented:
haha..thats an awesome story--damn janitors!  Unfortunately, servers and backup are behind closed door to the cleaners!
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zelron22Commented:
You're using/creating the same backup file each night.  Are you then copying it off to tape?  What happens to it?  Is it possible that the target .bkf file is busy?
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zelron22Commented:
Is your backup job set to append or overwrite?  This is the same backup job scheduled for each night, not a different (but identical) job each night?
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LB2015Author Commented:
at the time of those backups...they were set overwrite and it is the same backup job scheduled to run each night.  Now i am having it append.  

I might be running out of disk space..and thats causing the failure.  and the ntbackup error is meaningless as usual.
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LB2015Author Commented:
ok so last nights backup that failed 3 hours in was because i ran out of room.  So that solves that issue.  But i am still not sure why every other night my backup wasn't able to run.  It was setup to overwrite the existing--could this be the cause?
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zelron22Commented:
If disk space is an issue then appending won't help as the .bkf file will just get bigger.  Are you backing the .bkf up to tape after?  If disk space is the issue, you could set a command to run before the job to delete the .bkf file, but you'd want to make sure it was backed up itself, first.
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LB2015Author Commented:
yes disk space is kinda tight right now, working on that issue.  the .bkf do go to tape after.  so instead of having NTbackup overwrite the .bkf just get ride of it before the backup starts--that way NTbackup doesn't have to worry about it?
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LB2015Author Commented:
thanks for the help zelron.  What is your opinion on using USB drives such as Maxtor as backup media as opposed to tape?
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zelron22Commented:
I think they have their uses, faster backups and restores.  One issue though is archives.  Ideally, monthly and yearly backups should be archived and consideration for any data retention policies.

We're currently backing up to disk (a large RAID) and keep about 2 weeks on it, but back it up to tape every night and then archive monthly and yearly tapes.  One of the issues with that is that if you want to restore something from one of the tapes, you first have restore the BKF file, then restore from there.

There are some backup to disk solutions with removeable drives, and you could certainly archive with a USB drive.  

It all comes down to your requirements for restoring, retention, budget, etc.
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