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Exchange 2007 CCR passive VSS backup fails


We are using IBM TIVOLI Fatback for Exchange to run snapshot backups of the passive db in out Exchange 2007 CCR (SP3 RU3) Windows Server 2008 SP2. This has been working fin but now we are seeing the following error:

Event ID 964
Source ESE Backup

Microsoft.Exchange.Cluster.ReplayService (3888) The surrogate backup to EXCHMBX has been stopped with error 0xFFFFFFFF.

So far I have tried:
Rebooting server, Failing over and trying to backup both from the active & passive nodes.
I have also tried reseeding a DB.

I have currently switched on Circular Loggin to keep the logs down.

Checking the VSS state using - vssadmin list writers sometimes hows the Exchaneg writer in a retryable state.

I can't work out if this is a Exchange issue or an VSS/Backup problem.

This has now been going on for a week so I am desperate for some help please!

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1 Solution
Are you using Symantec Backup Products?


otherwise, i suggest you to dismount the store and to recycle the IS service (stop and start) then re-mount the store.

Another thing: i believe you didn't a great job starting circular logging, you can't do online backups when CL is enabled...
Try reading links and answers posted here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/exchangesvrgeneral/thread/2dc164e9-ea81-4f2e-8854-5ede7b29c980

Kamalasekar ParthasarathyExchange SpecialistCommented:

I request you to check with TIVOLI Backup person to look into this issue. once they confirmed then we can check from exchange side. it seems to be issue with backup..
sjbarnesAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your advise so far.

I have any stopped circular logging and will failover Exchange to stop/start in information store.

The TIVOLI Fastback for Exchange backups have been checked and appears to actually be backing up the data? So could it be that Exchange doesn't think it's being backed up and hence no logs truncated etc.

If i get the properties of a DB which TIVOLI says has been backed up the DB backup date;/time from within Exchange is older.

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are you using backup exec 12.5 ???
Kamalasekar ParthasarathyExchange SpecialistCommented:

Kindly update this request

In case if you had completed, Please let us know the resolution steps which had taken to resolve it..
sjbarnesAuthor Commented:

Sorry I haven't updated but I was monitoring the outcome from disabling Circlar logging which did appear to work. However only 5 DB's were backed up out of 21 and now no backups are completing again!.

I am also getting the following error:

Log Name: Application
Source: MSExchangeRepl
Event ID: 2034
Task Category: Exchange VSS Writer
Level: Error
Keywords: Classic
The Microsoft Exchange Replication Service VSS writer (instance <GUID>) failed with error code FFFFFFFC when processing the backup completion event.

Looking this up it apepars RU3 for SP3 should fix this issue. RU3 has already been applied though.

Would it be worth be applying RU4??

Just checked the application log and I am now also getting the following errors:

Source VSS
Event ID 12289

Volume Shadow Copy Service error: Unexpected error VSS_E_WRITER_STATUS_NOT_AVAILABLE. An older active writer session state is being overwritten by a newer session. The most common cause is that the number of parallel backups has exceeded the maximum supported limit.  hr = 0x80042409.

   PostSnapshot Event

   Maximum supported sessions: 64
   Completed sessions: 8
   Active sessions: 64
   Aborted sessions: 0
   Writer failed sessions: 0
   New snaphot set: {6c339500-7ae2-453d-8af7-41f6a2d55388}
   Old snapshot set: {f893583e-674e-4050-91c3-66afc33a5631}
   Old operation: 1013
   Old state: 5
   Old failure: 0
   Execution Context: Writer
   Writer Class Id: {76fe1ac4-15f7-4bcd-987e-8e1acb462fb7}
   Writer Name: Microsoft Exchange Writer
   Writer Instance Name: Exchange Replication Service
   Writer Instance ID: {72ca4d3d-9d62-4742-8bfc-b2845f303aec}

and then:

Source ESE Backup
Event ID 964

Microsoft.Exchange.Cluster.ReplayService (4064) The surrogate backup to UEAEXCHMBX has been stopped with error 0xFFFFFFFF.

and then the Exchange VSS Writer reports the backup has been shutdown successfully!

Any advise appricaited as this is now becoming urgent to resolve.

Many thanks!

Can you please check your VS Copy configuration on disks and report?
I mean:
is there any Volume shaow copy configured to run?
is there any schedule conflict with backup time-windows? i assume there could be a data growth that streched the backup time-window, going conflicting with disk VSC schedule.
what about available disk space/total disk size on MBX disks? There could be not enough space to do the shadow copy
sjbarnesAuthor Commented:
Hi ienaxxx,

Thanks for your help.

I have never needed to get involved with the VS Copy configuration since Tivoli Fastback for Exchange was implemented over two years ago. It has always worked fine.

Would you be able to explain a bit more on what I would need to check please? Looking at the Shadow Copies tab of each disk (DB & Logs) they are all listed with a next run time as disabled. I guess this is beacuse the Fastback application has installed it's own FastbackVSS service which handles the VSS backups?

Also do I need to watch out for how much disk space if avalible? Disks that hold DBs of around 20GB have 5GB free is this ok or is there a recommended % free for VSS?

Sorry but as already mentioned I have not had much dealing with VSS before.

Many thanks in advance.

sjbarnesAuthor Commented:
Also when running the follow vssadmin command:

vssadmin list writers

I get the following responce from the Exchange Writer:

Writer name: 'Microsoft Exchange Writer'
   Writer Id: {76fe1ac4-15f7-4bcd-987e-8e1acb462fb7}
   Writer Instance Id: {72ca4d3d-9d62-4742-8bfc-b2845f303aec}
   State: [5] Waiting for completion
   Last error: No error

Even through there is no backup being taken it is still reporting 'waiting for completion'

Also the application log is flooded with the following events

Event ID 2021
Source MSExchangeRepl

The Microsoft Exchange VSS writer has successfully collected the metadata document in preparation for backup.

Is this correct?
sjbarnesAuthor Commented:

Managed to fix this in the end by restarting the Microsoft Exchange Replication service. This then reset the Microsoft Exchange Writer to a stable state.
sjbarnesAuthor Commented:
Restaring MSExchRepl set the Exchange writer back to a stable state.

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