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Exchange 2010 Information Store Not Selectable via Hyper-V Host

Created: 28 Aug 2014 • Updated: 29 Aug 2014 | 12 comments

I've been painfully moving a client from BE 2010 to BE 2014 over the last month.  I'm down to two issues left, and this is the main one.  Here's what I'm working with:

Two identical Windows Server 2012 R2 servers, one (Cookies) with 4 virtual machines being backed up, and the other (Cream) with 3 virtual machines, but only 1 being backed up.  An older physical Windows Server 2000 is also being backed up.  BE 2014 is running on a 2012 R2 VM that is running on Cream, but it is not currently being backed up itself.  The Exchange 2010 server, running on Server 2008 R2, is on Cream, and it is being backed up.

Everything is being backed up, but with exceptions on the Exchange VM - it won't do a GRT backup.  When I select the host (Cream) to setup a backup, and drill down to the Exchange VM, it does not show the Microsoft Information Store as an option or show Microsoft Exchange in the Backup Options.  If I start a new backup by selecting only the Exchange VM, it shows the Information Store and lists Exchange in the Backup Options.

I would think it should show the Store and the Exchange options when selecting the Exchange VM via the host, so I think that is the root of the problem.  I've gone through every list I can find to meet the requirement and the permissions, as here:  http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH184449 . I've installed the same Exchange Management Tools on the BE 2014 VM as are on the Exchange VM.  I've uninstalled and re-installed the BE Agent on the Exchange VM.  I've ran the BE Agent Utility on the Exchange VM and the Publishing and Security tabs have valid entries.  I've tried numerous other things that I can't remember right now.

Here are the errors from backing it up via the host machine:

Backup- VRTSRV::\\Cream.Dairy.local\Hyper-V?Virtual?Machine\Brutus2
V-79-57344-38732 - Virtual machine 'Brutus2' does not meet the requirements necessary for Backup Exec to restore individual application items. You cannot perform GRT-enabled restores of application data from this backup.

V-79-57344-38769 - Virtual machine 'Brutus2' was backed up using an offline backup, therefore the VHD / VHDX files are only crash consistent. File-level recovery can be performed, but results may be unpredictable. Application-level recovery cannot be performed for this virtual machine.

If I backup the Exchange VM by selecting it directly, it completes successfully, or so it says.  Although it does not have the See Exceptions link at the top of the log by Successful, if I scroll down, it shows the following errors:

V-79-57344-65193 - The backup selection '\\Sunnie\Backup\BackupExec\IMG000031' was not successfully processed for Granular Recovery Technology (GRT). You will not be able to restore individual items for this backup selection

V-79-57344-65193 - The backup selection '\\Sunnie\Backup\BackupExec\IMG000032' was not successfully processed for Granular Recovery Technology (GRT). You will not be able to restore individual items for this backup selection

These are semi-explained here (meaning Symantec isn't sure what the deal is either):  http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH224170

My belief is that the Information Store/Exchange options should show up when I attempt the backup via the host machine, and if that were to happen, I would probably get a successful GRT backup of Exchange.  If anyone can shed any light on this that would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Jonathan

Comments 12 CommentsJump to latest comment

pkh's picture

My belief is that the Information Store/Exchange options should show up when I attempt the backup via the host machine

No.  This is not correct.  You backup the entire host which will include the Information Store and during the restore, you can select individual items to restore if GRT is working.

I think your error could be due to the fact that you are trying to backup the host of the virtual media server.

BTW, depending on how it is set up a virtual media server may be an unsupported configuration.  It is recommended that you use a physical machine as a media server.

JonathanK's picture

My belief is that the Information Store/Exchange options should show up when I attempt the backup via the host machine.

No.  This is not correct.  You backup the entire host which will include the Information Store and during the restore, you can select individual items to restore if GRT is working.

That's exactly what I said I did to begin with, selecting the host to do the backup, which includes the Exchange VM.  It never lists the Information Store as one of the items it's backing up though.

And I included the errors messages that it produces when it runs, indicating I cannot do GRT-enabled restores from that backup.  And why shouldn't I have the Exchange consistency check option and the option to truncate logs or not, like I see when I select the virtual machine directly?  Regardless, I'm meeting all of the requirements I can find for it to be a GRT-enabled backup for Exchange, but it's not doing it.

I think your error could be due to the fact that you are trying to backup the host of the virtual media server.

BTW, depending on how it is set up a virtual media server may be an unsupported configuration.  It is recommended that you use a physical machine as a media server.

A virtual media server is definitely supported - I asked Symantec reps that over a dozen times before my client purchased BE, as they could not afford another physical machine and Window Server license at this time.  Is it recommended?  No, but it's definitely supported.  The main concern they pointed out was performance of other virtual machines running on the same host as the virtual media server.  This has not been an issue.  One of the 3 VMs is always off for now, another is solely a domain controller, and the other is the Exchange 2010 server.  None are having any issues, performance or otherwise, and the virtual media server performs just fine also.

I just need the GRT feature to work for Exchange when I back the VM up via selecting the host, as is the recommended way to do that, but it's not working.

Jonathan

Colin Weaver's picture

Just to be clear a virtual media server is supported up to a point. There are some scenarios involving writing to tape drives 9with teh exccption of over iSCSI) and USB connected hardware (Disks or tapes) that we do not officially support although you might get them working (at your own risk)

pkh's picture

It never lists the Information Store as one of the items it's backing up though

This is bevause the Information Store is contained in the Exchange VM.

Check with your contact as to whether using a virtual media server to access a tape drive/library attached to the host is supported.

JonathanK's picture

This is bevause the Information Store is contained in the Exchange VM.

That's the problem - it's not, at least in the GRT sense, which is what I need and what I've been asking about.  Until I did the backup of just that Exchange VM, the details under that VM under the Servers list always said Never backed up for the Information Store.  And when I attempt to start a restore, the only date under the Information Store is from the one date I backed up just the Exchange VM.  For any other date, as far as Exchange goes, it's the entire machine or nothing.

As I've said from the beginning, when I do the backup as recommended, via the host server, it is not doing a GRT backup of the Microsoft Information Store.  It knows nothing about Exchange, doesn't clear the logs - nothing.

Check with your contact as to whether using a virtual media server to access a tape drive/library attached to the host is supported

Not really relevant, as this is a backup-to-disk job, followed by a duplicate-to-tape job, and the errors happen with the backup-to-disk job, but I'll answer it anyway.  I asked this numerous times beforehand also, and although I was told yes, that wasn't really the complete answer.  After opening a support case, it came down to this: if the tape drive is visible in Device Manager on the VM, it's supported (assuming that it is a supported drive, etc.).  So I used the StarWind driver on the host, and the VM sees the tape drive and BE uses it.

Jonathan

VJware's picture

As pkh rightly mentioned earlier, the Information Store (or any other application for that matter) is not available for backup selections when using the Hyper-V or the VMware agent.

However, when GRT is enabled and GRT requirement are met, this application would be available for restore and when the restore is initiated from the VM itself and not the virtual host.

Now, as you receive the following errors, you'll have to check as to why an offline backup is being made. As offline backup is being performed of this VM, application GRT will not be available and logs are not being truncated as well.

V-79-57344-38732 - Virtual machine 'Brutus2' does not meet the requirements necessary for Backup Exec to restore individual application items. You cannot perform GRT-enabled restores of application data from this backup.

V-79-57344-38769 - Virtual machine 'Brutus2' was backed up using an offline backup, therefore the VHD / VHDX files are only crash consistent. File-level recovery can be performed, but results may be unpredictable. Application-level recovery cannot be performed for this virtual machine.

1) Check the SCL (Hyper-V section) to ensure the GRT compatibility is being met - http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH217478

2) Have a look @ this KB as well for online backup of VM requirements - http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH209419

3) Do ensure the Agent for Applications & Database license is installed, the Host Integration services (appropriate version and Backup component) should be installed as well. The Exchange application should reside on one VM only and should not be distributed across multiple VMs.

JonathanK's picture

1) Check the SCL (Hyper-V section) to ensure the GRT compatibility is being met - http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH217478

I checked that (again), and GRT compatibility is being met.

2) Have a look @ this KB as well for online backup of VM requirements - http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH209419

Everything is good on this list, although #4 is poorly worded, and the list command returns "No items found that satisfy the query." for both the host and the Exchange VM.  This seems to make sense, as no backup is currently running.  Although the article says it is specifically for Server 2012 (and I'm running R2), I played along and added the registry key and value.  We'll see by tomorrow if that helps anything.

3) Do ensure the Agent for Applications & Database license is installed, the Host Integration services (appropriate version and Backup component) should be installed as well. The Exchange application should reside on one VM only and should not be distributed across multiple VMs.

This is the V-Ray Edition, but yes, I checked, and it shows Installed and Licensed for all relevant options.

Thanks for leads on the actual issue.  Any other ideas?

Jonathan

Colin Weaver's picture

Commenting on the actual problem now instead of the tape drive supportability comments.

As the error message clearly states that something relating to the VM does not allow the support of GRT, if you cannot find what that something is from our documentation then I suggest that you log a formal support case.

Things to watch out for however are

- GPT partitions with Dynamic disks against any volume inside the VM not just the one that owns Exchange

- A DAG implementation of Exchange

- No Windows storage spaces configured inside the VM

- a Microsoft Deduplication configuration inside the VM (if the media server is not running at least the same level of operating system)

- no passthrough disks configured inside the VM

- no Fiber Channel Adaptor mounted disks inside the VM

- no shared vhd/vhdx files inside the VM

- no vhdx files greater than 2TB

etc

JonathanK's picture

I'm good with everything on that list also, so I guess I'll open a formal support case.

Jonathan

Colin Weaver's picture

Sorry but just because the tape drive inside the VM is visible in device manager does not make it supported we have seen (both with customers that tried it and during some basic/unofficial tests internally) that tape drive/library access is unreliable when passed through into a VM and therefore we cannot officially support it.

Yes I know in this instance you are not using tape - however I want to make it clear either for yourself or others that if you pass through tape and it appears to work and then things go wrong that unless you can prove that the same tape hardware has the same problem when connected to a physical server we will not be able to support the tape access.

Note We do support tape drive access on iSCSI - but ONLY where the iSCSI target is part of the tape hardware and this tape hardware is listed on our HCL. Using Starwind Software iSCSI would put you back to the "prove the same problem exists using a physical server and physical connection" for us to look into the issue.

JonathanK's picture

Sorry but just because the tape drive inside the VM is visible in device manager does not make it supported we have seen (both with customers that tried it and during some basic/unofficial tests internally) that tape drive/library access is unreliable when passed through into a VM and therefore we cannot officially support it.

I'm just going off of what I was told on the phone by the Symantec support person after opening a support case.  That's why I went with the StarWind iSCSI solution.

You probably need to make this clear to your support personnel and your Symantec reps.  Before recommending this setup to my client and before they purchased it, I specifically asked two different Symantec reps if BE 2014 could run on a VM and see through to the host to use the tape drive physically attached to the host.  I was told an unqualified yes, with no hesitation.  (It was a phone conversation, so I don't have a transcript.)  That is apparantly not correct.

Now it makes me look bad if the tape drive has any issues, as I apparenlty won't be able to get any support, and my client would have to purchase server hardware and a server license to run the BE media server on, which they already knew before they purchased BE 2014 that they could not afford now.  That's why I asked the questions beforehand.

Jonathan

Colin Weaver's picture

Hi there I would need either a name or an incident number for who you spoke to in order to follow up on this - if you have this information then please private message it to me don't place it in an open forum post.

if you check our HCL

http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH214803

On page 2 in the introduction we have a definition fo an Alternative Configuration

The HCL (on later pages) also discuss which libraries are suported via iSCSI connections

Note: we do not mention Starwind in either the HCL or SCL because we do not do any formal testing with Starwind. This lack of mention confirms the statement of not officially supported and means it is also an Alternative configuration which you might see work, but would be down to you to test and troubleshoot.

Please note; I am not stating it won't work I am just stating it is not officially supported, we are aware of at least one other company using Starwind in this way and that company is aware of the official support status.

For tape drive access inside a VM, Microsoft does not support pass through to tape drives so this is not an option for Hyper-V,and if it was VMWare, we have not changed the Alternative Configuration statement provided in http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH130609