SQLVDI and SQLWRITER Errors with Acronis

 

Recently I was dealing with a Domain Controller and a WSUS Server on a Windows Server 2003 R2 OS at a customer site that had lot of error messages under the applications event log:

This “red battle field” included Message ID 1 from SQLVDI concerning MICROSOFT##SSEE (the SSEE being the Microsoft internal SQL Engine for system databases, which by Domain Controllers means the Active Directory Database and by WSUS the SUSDB) as well as multiple IDs from MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE and SQLWriter – 3041, 18210, 24583, 3198, 3197. The global IDs that were shown in the logs – the marked one starting with “CA7B…” – were not listed in the registry, so I presume these are random unique values for the virtual devices (snapshots) created from VSS during I/O suspend call.

 

A quick review of the Microsoft websites could not help a lot – they also are citing some problems with SQLVDI but are never quite the same or their solutions would not help. Then suddenly I came across a thread at Wilderssecurity, which was Acronis Support Blog a while ago: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=213775

There you can read the following:

“Here is the step-by-step description of how the backup is made with the VSS support option enabled:
1. Acronis True Image initiates VSS snapshot. This snapshot is created by MS VSS service via Acronis VSS provider, which is in fact a ‘fake’ VSS provider. Acronis True Image must start VSS snapshot creation through Acronis VSS provider to capture the moment when all VSS writers freeze and databases are ready for backup. This is the only purpose of Acronis VSS provider, e.g. VSS snapshot created in this step is not used at all and is in fact a ‘fake’ one. It was necessary to create this ‘fake’ VSS provider because MS VSS service does not have API functions to freeze VSS writers directly;
2. Acronis True Image sends a request to MS VSS service to suspend VSS writers;
3. Acronis True Image creates a simple snapshot (not a VSS snapshot). This snapshot is created when all writers freeze and databases are ready to be backed up;
4. Acronis True Image aborts VSS snapshot initiated by MS VSS, as this snapshot is not necessary. This may result in errors in the Windows Event logs, which can be safely skipped.”

 

As you can imagine my client’s server had an Acronis True Image backup job running exactly at this time and it was not hard for me to follow the reason. Pay attention to the words “Acronis True Image aborts VSS snapshot initiated by MS VSS” and now go and check the screenshot above, especially the log’s content: “Loc=SignalAbort, Desc=Client initiates abort”. I think at this point it obvious that the “Client” is the Acronis VSS provider…

As long as you are using Acronis (V 9.1 in my case) and your backup jobs are configured with VSS (which I personally consider a must) you will receive these errors, alas. Earlier ATI was considered state of the art backup solution, but, say, after 2007-2008 I ran across so much problems with this product (no backup for dynamic disks, no retention plan for backup files, no way to uninstall it completely, because it’s SYS drivers are turning the whole system upside down, etc.) and also their pricing policy changed in a matter that made support quite expensive, that nowadays I wouldn’t recommend it even to my enemies.

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