[Quicktip] No Application backup (no) cry


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This post is about a not working application backup that does not show any errors. I share this because it could easily happen without notice. It is about a backup of a MS Exchange VM. Backup worked fine but Exchange wasn’t backed up as application and therefore logs wasn't truncated too. Exchange was a single system, configured without cluster feature. After the job run, there was no option to restore Exchange Application Item, like you see here with SQL Server.

 

 

Essential with application backup in Windows VMs is a triggered VSS snapshot. This can be done by Veeam Guest Processing or VMware tools quiescence. But when there is no VSS writer registered for a specific application, no application backup will be performed. Don't get me wrong: whole VM - all files within - will be backed up, but application itself will not. Therefore it is not possible to restore application by right-click appropriate restore point. Which can be overcome by starting the appropriate Veeam Explorer:
 

 

and open the suitable file:

 

For troubleshooting, check if necessary VSS writer is registered in the system (https://www.veeam.com/kb1878). In my case Exchange writer wasn't there. Fortunately solutions was done by a simple registry key: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/9d6c9362-a1d3-450b-b6e9-87954f46095d/no-exchange-2013-vss-writer?forum=exchangesvrgeneral

 

Sure this example is not very representative, but you can let it inspire you to check if your applications are properly backed up.

 


10 comments

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Thanks for sharing, and this is why a backup isn’t a backup until it is validated!

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Thank you for sharing your experience!

Just for some of us that would want to learn more about Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). Veeam products use the VSS for various tasks (e.g., ensuring transactional consistency, triggering truncation for Exchange, and guest level backups with Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows.

Userlevel 7
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Thanks for sharing, and this is why a backup isn’t a backup until it is validated!

Could not agree with this more.  Thanks for the share.

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Thanks @vNote42 

There is another way to do this without restoring the db files prior to the item level restore. Simply start a guest File Restore, this will mount the backup to C:\VeeamFLR.

Then open the application Item Restore from inside the  Veeam FLR Explorer. Veeam will try to find the db files inside the backup for you and mount it to the Application Explorer. Active Directory Restore is definitely automatic mounting. And if veeam cannot mount it automatically, you can add the db files after the Veeam Application Explorer has opened by yourself from the C:\VeeamFLR Location.

This is necessary if you have done a vss backup without Veeams AAP. For an example, for Nutanix AHV VM Level Backups this is the way to restore Application Items. This backups are consistent (done per Nutanix VSS Integration) but Veeam Application Aware Processing is not used. So Veeam doesn’t know what it has backed up. The only way todo Application Item restore is to mount the backup and choose your Veeam Explorer by yourself.

 

 

 

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Some great value adds in the comments on this post too guys, plenty of tricks here!

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Ok….

Just learned something new. Didn't know you can select and start an application browser from the FLR explorer.

Neverending learning 😎

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That is such a cool trick starting the application browser from FLR may need to give this a go to see. 👍

Userlevel 7
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Thanks for sharing, and this is why a backup isn’t a backup until it is validated!

100% agree!

Userlevel 7
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Thanks @vNote42 

There is another way to do this without restoring the db files prior to the item level restore. Simply start a guest File Restore, this will mount the backup to C:\VeeamFLR.

Then open the application Item Restore from inside the  Veeam FLR Explorer. Veeam will try to find the db files inside the backup for you and mount it to the Application Explorer. Active Directory Restore is definitely automatic mounting. And if veeam cannot mount it automatically, you can add the db files after the Veeam Application Explorer has opened by yourself from the C:\VeeamFLR Location.

This is necessary if you have done a vss backup without Veeams AAP. For an example, for Nutanix AHV VM Level Backups this is the way to restore Application Items. This backups are consistent (done per Nutanix VSS Integration) but Veeam Application Aware Processing is not used. So Veeam doesn’t know what it has backed up. The only way todo Application Item restore is to mount the backup and choose your Veeam Explorer by yourself.

 

 

 

Great tip, Fabian! Thanks!

Normally I stated FLR and opened Veeam Explorer afterwards to open to corresponding file. Your way is even simpler!

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I've never seen a missing VSS with Exchange, but anything is possible in IT 😅 @MicoolPaul Is right, a backup needs to be validated/tested before you can trust it.

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