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Difference -> Normal Backup vs. Application Aware Backup

Forum Member
Posts: 10
Comments: 19

I have one question regarding this 2 types of backup...

Is the only difference between this 2 backups, possibility to extract data from SQL DB or Exchange DB if you make Application Aware backup?

For example, If I make normal backup of VM which containes SQL server with DB, or maybe Exchange with DB - I cannot restore data from databases directly from Acronis, but I can restore complete VM on some ESXi host, and there I will have server together with DB...

Or is there some other things which is making difference between this two type of backups?

Thanks for support.

Marin Posavec

Acronis Program Manager
Posts: 22
Comments: 3084

Hi Marin,

Besides ability to perform granular application items recovery (Exchange mailboxes/mails/DBs, SQL DBs+transaction logs) application-aware backup also verifies the consistency of the application before putting it into backup + verifies that the corresponding VSS writer responsible for application is working properly. In other words there are additional checks made on backup preparation stage to ensure that correct state of the application is put into the backup.

Thank you.
--
Best regards,
Vasily
Acronis Virtualization Program Manager

Forum Member
Posts: 10
Comments: 19

Let´s say that I will not use Application Aware backup, and we are assuming that I have SQL server with DB on VM which I will back up.

Because I will not do "Application Aware Backup", there is a chance that on restore of VM from this normal backup, I will maybe have problems with SQL server?

In simple words... I don´t need granular application items recovery. I just need normal RELIABLE backup, which I can restore if primary VM fails, together with SQL Server and DB.

Acronis Program Manager
Posts: 22
Comments: 3084

Hi Marin,

In this case regular backup of the VM will be sufficient since by default it is done using VMware quiescing and this ensures VSS-aware databases consistency (MS SQL is VSS-aware). To make sure that the backup is reliable you need to check the presence/state of Microsoft SQL Server VSS writer in the outputs of "vssadmin list writers" ran inside the VM (this is what application-aware option also does automatically). If the corresponding VSS writer is present then the backup of the VM will be done in application-consistent state. You will still be able to recover SQL database and transaction logs using simple file recovery.

Thank you.
--
Best regards,
Vasily
Acronis Virtualization Program Manager

Forum Member
Posts: 10
Comments: 19

Everything clear from your post... But... :-)

I have done normal backup of my server, called "SEWACRM01"
-> backup was succesfull, without errors
-> see log on this screenshot -> http://share.pho.to/9lg7d/dx/original

If I want to create "Application Aware" backup on existing task/server, i have error message "Application VSS Writer Disabled"
-> you can see that Acronis is saying that SqlServerWriterVSS is missing or disabled -> http://share.pho.to/9lg6F/gt/original
-> if we take a look on server, we can see that SqlServerWriter is in Stable State / No error -> http://share.pho.to/9lg9q/jd/original

Is there a difference between "SqlServerWriter" and "SqlServerWriterVSS"? If yes, how can i start/enable it?

TNX

Acronis Program Manager
Posts: 22
Comments: 3084

Hi Marin,

I'd recommended to check https://forum.acronis.com/forum/44608 thread which describes practically the same problem. There can be various cases when VSS is not in fact used while VMware creates quiesced snapshot of the VM. The typical reason is missing disk.EnableUUID property in the .vmx configuration. Another possible reason is VSS writers exclusions specified in VMware Tools config file (\programdata\VMware\VMware Tools\tools.conf) or it can be something else.

There can also of course be a false warning thrown erroneously by Acronis Backup for VMware - to check it you can do the following:

- Create a quiesced snapshot of the VM manually from vSphere (quiesced=on, memory=off)
- Open the datastore folder of the VM via vSphere client (datastore browser), find vss_manifests***.zip file and check its contents: if the VSS was properly used inside VM then there must be backup.xml + several writerX.xml files each of them corresponds one VSS writer inside the snapshotted VM. If these files are missing or there is no vss_manifests***.zip file at all - this means that quiesced snapshot in fact is not quiesced and you need to check my suggestions from the above forum thread or contact our support team for assistance.

Thank you.
--
Best regards,
Vasily
Acronis Virtualization Program Manager