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Exchange VSS Writer configuration

Posted on 2016-09-06
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Last Modified: 2016-09-06
We are using Exchange VSS Writer to back up the mailbox database and truncate the transaction logs (Exchange 2010 on Server 2008 R2).  I can tell this is working properly, as I can see the events in the application log showing the successful backup and the log files are not large.  What I'd like to know is, where can I view configuration options for this VSS writer?  How can I see what the schedule is currently set to, or make changes to it?
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Question by:fallriverelectric
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by:ArneLovius
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The VSS writer provides a mechanism/interface to backup exchange, it is not a backup method in itself.

It is possible to create a VSS "backup" that flushes Exchange logs without actually creating a backup.

Without knowing what is configured on the server to run the backup, it is "difficult" to answer your questions.
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by:fallriverelectric
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I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out.  I'm not sure what's causing this to run, is there any way to find out?  It is not Windows Server Backup.
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by:ArneLovius
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You could look through he installed programs in Programs and Features, and check the task scheduler for scheduled tasks...
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by:fallriverelectric
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Yes, I've checked both places.  Nothing is standing out to me.  That's why I was looking in the application event viewer and found the VSS writer event listed around the time I knew the backup was being made.
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by:Adam Brown
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Is Exchange running on a VM? Are you utilizing a backup solution like VEEAM to back up VMs? Any backup solution that provides the ability to truncate logs (that is to say, "Exchange aware" backup solutions) since Exchange 2010 utilize VSS to function. When 2010 came out, MS stated thatVSS was the only backup system for Exchange that would be supported, so the vast majority of backup solutions utilize it now (if not all of them). So generally, if you have any backup solution that is running backups of the Exchange database and truncating logs, it's using the VSS Writer for Exchange to do so.

There really isn't a specific configuration for the Exchange VSS writer that you can examine or modify. It's just a VSS writer with special instructions for processing Exchange backups. If you don't have a backup solution running on Exchange (First off, get one), Check the task scheduler for any jobs that are set up to run the DISKSHADOW utility or scripts that run a VSS backup of exchange to purge the logs.
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by:fallriverelectric
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It is a VM.  We are using vRanger to back up the VM, but the reason I didn't feel this was related to the VSS writer was because the vRanger backup is scheduled to run once daily at night and I can see the VSS writer is running several times throughout the day, and these times don't coincide with the vRanger backup.  I'm not seeing anything in task scheduler related to VSS or diskshadow.
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by:ArneLovius
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What frequency are the unknown backups happening at ?
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by:fallriverelectric
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It's not a regular interval, which I found strange, but the times are consistent - 4:15 am, 9 am, 1 pm, and 5 pm.
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by:fallriverelectric
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Just realized it's the Nimble storage unit taking snapshots.  I didn't know this counted as "Exchange aware" but the snapshot times do match up.
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by:fallriverelectric
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I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for fallriverelectric's comment #a41786866

for the following reason:

found solution
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Adam Brown earned 500 total points
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Just about anything that does a backup or snapshot of a functional server will utilize VSS because it allows the software to avoid locking files or getting blocked from backing up locked files.
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by:ArneLovius
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finding the solution does not invalidate the answers provided
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