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Two Vss writers are in the failed state

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Last Modified: 2012-05-09
Hi Experts,

We have been getting Event ID 8 in the system log and event id 12298 in the application log that correspond to VSS.  When doing a vssadmin list writers in the cmd prompt, we see that the sqlserverwriter and the wmi writer have a failed state 7.  

Currently, Norton Ghost and Carbonite use these writers.  Both seem to complete there backups okay.  

Can anyone shed some light on what might need to be done regarding those writers?

Thanks!
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Commented:
do you know if this is happening during backup of some sort?

Author

Commented:
Seems like it happens while Carbonite is backing up.  Found a technet article that says 12298 happens when the computer is low on resources.  Wondering if perhaps it's because Carbonite is running while the PC is in use.  Going to try scheduling Carbonite only in off hours.

Commented:
Ussually happens with backup software, could be many things including resources.  Also could be that you have your files in use when it goes to try to back up and the databse will not unlock the file.  

Make sure you have the lastest version if you are able to download updates.  Also ensure you have enough vram.  I would not think CPU would be an issue.

Author

Commented:
Well the question is, are these errors a concern IF the backups still complete successfully without errors.  Ghost runs everyday and never gives an error.  Carbonite says it's up to date, but it backs up very slowly.  As long as it retires the backup later there is no problem.  Just trying to make sure that "bad copies" are not going to be made.
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This one is on us!
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Author

Commented:
Hi Noxcho.  As usual, you hit it on the head (although this is a laptop, not a "server").  Investigated a bit later after making this post.  Basically what happens is when Carbonite runs (even though Ghost has NO active jobs) it automatically causes the Symsnap VSS Provider service to start and go nuts.  It records snapshots over and over again, even though there is no Ghost job running and Symsnap VSS should be quiet.  Carbonite has no fix for the issue and truthfully its not their fault, the carbonite scheduler works as it should and starts/stops the Windows native VSS.  Norton on the other hand was shown the issue, and they have no answer at all.  They basically say they can't help because the only way they support Ghost is running by itself.

Tried LOTS of stuff and got nowhere.  Will more than likely have to look into a different local backup solution other than Ghost.

Unless you have any ideas Noxcho?

Author

Commented:
Oh and of course, once Carbonite stops running (as per it's scheduler which is different than Ghost) then Symsnap VSS gets quiet and stops recording snapshots.  As long as Carbonite is going though, Symsnap VSS is constantly logging events (info) in the windows application log showing it's very active.  
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Commented:
Hi Jsmply, thanks for good words =)

The way out here is to use backup solution that uses same Windows native VSS as Carbonite does. Then you will avoid using third party VSS provider.
I know that Paragon Drive Backup 10 does use Microsoft VSS same as Carbonite. All others such as Symantec, Acronis, Shadowprotect - use their own providers and you will have this exact problem.
Look here for Pro version of DB10: www.drive-backup.com
I use it personally and I had exactly same problems like you did. Even had to post a question here where I did ask if there were any ways or registry hacks to change the VSS provider priority. I believe the problem in priority where third party provide is set higher priority and thus all other tools using MS native provider have to call for third party provider.
BTW, I disagree with Carbonite techies. They simply need to update the way their product call for VSS provider. For example, currently they call MS VSS exactly, but they can easily use Symantec VSS as well.
I reported this issue to Paragon (compatibility with third party VSS providers) and they said - yes, it is possible and they are going to work on it.

Author

Commented:
Thanks Noxcho.  On this particular laptop, we only need to backup data (no real need for an image) so we are giving SyncbBackPro a go.  Lots of users here seem to like it.  Any experience with it?  

As for other machines.  We do have others who use BESR/Ghost on file servers and want an online backup solution.  Is it worth trying out other online backups (besides Carbonite) and see if they are compatible with third party providers?  If not, only option is to perhaps xcopy the data from the fileserver to a workstation and do the online backup from there.

As always, your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated.
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Commented:
I thought Carbonite backups data only. Ok, Drive Backup 10 has File Backup option that images selected data or directory only using Microsoft VSS for open files. Just FYI.
I never used SyncBackPro so cannot advise here. Sorry.
BESR/Ggost are good tools and if you do not use any other programs requiring MS VSS (like Carbonite) then why to change it? =)
Most of backup solutions will use VSS for hot processing on open files so if the online backup says it can do backup of open files then it will use VSS. So here your way is really using xcopy.

Author

Commented:
Yep.  Unless the online backup has the option to disable open file copy?  That should keep it from invoking VSS, no?
noxchoIT Product Manager
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Commented:
Yes, correct.

Author

Commented:
Hmmm, iBackup has the option to disable open file backups.  It has a check box to enable or disable open file backup, and then wants a directory for where to temproarily use for open file backup.

I wonder if disabling that will keep it from calling VSS.  If so, that could solve our problem.  Called their support, they said they THINK so, but not sure.  
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Commented:
"they said they THINK so, but not sure." - cute =)))))
If they use temp drive to backup open files then they have their own driver which acts similar to VSS.
Anyhow you can trial the software, take backup and see if open files are saved plus VSS errors.

Author

Commented:
Just tried it now.  So far, no errors.  They said they don't use their own VSS writter though, they use the Microsoft Native VSS writter.  
noxchoIT Product Manager
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Commented:
Ok, then your problem is solved.

Author

Commented:
Seems to be, just means we have to change providers for online backup.  When you said they use a different driver for open file, do you mean a different writter also?  Just curious as they say they use Microsoft Native  VSS.
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Commented:
The way of backing up open files is called Hot Processing. This can be done either via VSS (which is hot processing service) or writing a simple driver that will clone open files to temp drive and then backup them from there. VSS is preferred in this case as it knows better what and how to stop to take proper bitmap snapshot. So no different writer. I believe they use MS VSS plus simpler solution (usage of temp drive makes me think so).

Author

Commented:
Well whatever they use, it doesn't seem to invoke the symsnap VSS provider.  
noxchoIT Product Manager
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Commented:
It is time to close question Jsmply.

Author

Commented:
Thx!

Author

Commented:
Noxcho, just an FYI, compared iDrive and Carbonite just now.  Carbonite starts VSS whenever the backup runs, even if it's not backing up an open file.  iDrive seems to only invoke VSS when it encounters an open file.  Further, it has an option to disable open file backup which presumably will never invoke VSS.  
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Commented:
Thank you for additional info provided. Will bear that in mind when suggesting such tools.
Have a nice weekend.
Nox
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