MsExchange Blog Spot Telnet25

November 6, 2013

Microsoft Exchange VSS writer is in a failed retryable state!!!

Filed under: General — telnet25 @ 3:51 pm

 

If you are running Exchange 2010 I am pretty sure one way or other you are familiar with Exchange VSS Writer and how it effects your ability to back up your Exchange servers.

When VSS Writer is in Error stage the backup software won’t be able to take successful backup and most likely backup team will open ticket and ask Exchange team to fix the VSS writer so their software can perform the backups.

If you are in large enterprise environment where you have backup team , windows team and Exchange team now you are in the Chicken and egg war as the backup tram will blame on Exchange writer and Exchange team will ask Windows Team to fix the issues (-: and as you can see things will get quite interesting.

As we already know VSS technology has been around quite a bit and third party Vendors are relaying on Microsoft native VSS writer to perform backup functions when it comes to backing up Exchange 2010 Application.

Now before we move forward more let’s make sure we get the basic done.

Exchange Server application will provide two different VSS Writers

 

Writer Name

Usage

Utility to see the writers Status

Exchange Information Store VSS writer

Backup of Mounted DB / Active

Open CMD with Administrator privileges on the Exchange servers issue

VSSadmin List Writers ( Command )

Exchange Replication Service VSS writer Backup of Healthy DB / Passive

Open CMD with Administrator privileges on the Exchange servers issue

VSSadmin List Writers ( Command )

Exchange Server application will provide two different VSS Writers

Writer Name

Writer Location

VSS writer ID

Usage

Microsoft Exchange Writer

Store Writer

Built into the Exchange Information store

( MSExchangeIS = store.exe )

{76fe1ac4-15f7-4bcd-987e-8e1acb462fb7}

Store Writer is used by Mounted / Active Databases

Microsoft Exchange Replica Writer

 

 

Build into Replication Service

( MSExchangeRepl = msexchangerepl.exe )

{76fe1ac4-15f7-4bcd-987e-8e1acb462fb7} The Replication Writer is used by Healthy /Passive Databases

How to deal with failing VSS Exchange Writer issues ?

image

The sort and most common answer is going to be re-start the service which the writer is associating with. As you can tell re-starting replication service might be acceptable at most of the work environments as it does not cause any end user disruption. However dealing with IS service is different ball game, even with Exchange 2010 DAG environment, most places will be hesitant to re-start this service ( Failing over to DAG member is for sure valuable option, draining one server and deal with it make sense) .

Another option could be dedicating a Exchange 2010 Server for backup and availability services ( putting activation block , on these servers and deal with them as the issues occur).

Beyond this, my point of view is that, it is real hard to convince the third party vendors to clean up their backup software code and not to cause Exchange writer to fail and keep pointing fingers back and forth. If you been there you would understand what I mean.

Reference

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb204080(v=exchg.140).aspx

Oz Casey, Dedeal

( Exchange Server North America MVP)

MCITP (EMA), MCITP (SA)
MCSE 2003, M+, S+, MCDST
Security+, Project +, Server +
http://smtp25.blogspot.com/ (Blog)
https://telnet25.wordpress.com/ (Blog)

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