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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
ID: 41786665
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
ID: 41786676
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
ID: 41786756
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
ID: 41786761
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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Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 41786771
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
ID: 41786790
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
ID: 41786798
What frequency are the unknown backups happening at ?
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by:fallriverelectric
ID: 41786803
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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Author Comment

by:fallriverelectric
ID: 41786866
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
ID: 41786885
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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Accepted Solution

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Adam Brown earned 500 total points
ID: 41786881
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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Expert Comment

by:ArneLovius
ID: 41786886
finding the solution does not invalidate the answers provided
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