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From the forums: DPM is unable to enumerate Virtual SSP Writer on computer [computer name]. (ID: 3005)

4:38 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

This is an interesting one that I found on the forums.  Normally, when you get this error message, this is the advice that I give:

1. Is the SPWriter service running on the WFE servers?

2. If they are running, use the following to register the writer: (

Or in short: stsadm -o registerwsswriter if you don’t want to go trough the article

3. Do a vssadmin list writers to see if there are errors with the vss writers

4. Run the configuresharepoint again with a farm administrator account

5. Try again


But in this case, and in a few other cases, it didn’t seemed to resolve the issue.  So the problem had to be somewhere else.  Since the issue couldn’t be helped with the assistance of the forum guys, a call was opened with Microsoft.

Unfortunately, the DPM guys couldn’t solve it either.  Therefore, the sharepoint guys had to assist, and in this joint venture, they found the solution:

Here is the quote of the administrator with the problem

Basically, the error was related to the inability to enumerate all resources defined in the farm’s configuration.  What the actual issue was turned out to be a missing database for one of the search services that was configured.

A similar internal MS bug was found that referenced issues with the Search services.  This led us to look at restarting our Search services on all of the servers in the farm.  Even though all of the search services were "running", one of them would not restart and asked to reprovide the credentials and database names, etc.  Before I submitted the restart, I verified on the SQL Server that the database that was referenced, did not exist !  You may ask, "How was SharePoint stating that the service was running if indeed it was not?"  I’m not sure, but after restarting the particular search service, the database was recreated and the VSS enumeration by DPM worked!

So a possible solution (one that worked for me) is to restart all of your search services and ensure that all ‘referenced’ databases actually exist.

So in the end, it was not a problem with DPM but with the Sharepoint config.  Since I found this interesting (a sharepoint farm that worked, but had issues after all :-)) I decided to search a bit more for this issue.  It seems that it happens quite a lot after an inplace upgrade of sharepoint.

So if you ever get this error, the first 5 steps don’t work for you, then make sure that you check out if the databases exist

Forum Source:



Presentation: How To Manage your Sharepoint Environment With System Center

9:04 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey all, yesterday I had the pleasure of giving a presentation on the Belgium Community Day (  This event, organized by some members of the Belgian Community is getting more popular every year.  It was the fourth edition and received a speaking slot for the first time here.

It is amazing that just a few people of the community succeed in organizing such an event (almost 500 people registered) and find the necessary sponsors, funding and helping hands to do this event, which was still free for everybody, as it is always been.

The big man behind the event is Gill Cleeren ( and his team did a fantastic job at Utopolis in Mechelen, Belgium

So, for my session.  The title was How to Manage your Sharepoint Environment With System Center and for the first time in my life I had to present in a cinema room.

I presume this should have made me nervous but instead I actually was quite excited

Here’s a picture from before the session when the audience wasn’t arrived yet.  Still hope that there are pictures when I am actually doing the presentation so if anybody has one… let me know :-)


Although the majority of the attending people were developers, there was quite some people in the room considering that I am giving an IT pro session.  So I was quite happy to start.

In the end, I was quite happy with my presentation except for one moment were my wireless connection to my demo environment dropped.  Small ackward moment but for the rest everything went ok.

Unfortunately I only got one hour and in that presentation I had to discuss how to manage your environment (SCOM) and protect it (SCDPM).

Here are the highlights:


One of the first items I addressed was the growing pains of SharePoint.  Because of the nature of SharePoint, it can be a pain in the **** for IT Pro administrators.

Through the years, SharePoint became more and more popular, which gave additional challenges to administrators.

  • Mission Critical information is kept on SharePoint
  • More utilization meant that the performance become worse, and because of the above situation, users started to complain because their data was on there
  • Companies (read Management) started to ask about redundancy plans for this application
  • The capabilities of SharePoint gave the possibility that different regions, different business units had different functions, but this also created headaches for admins
  • Everybody knows by know that custom development is the key to success, but how are we going to keep track of this?  Because of the great platform, developers loved it, creating additional applications and workflows.
  • SharePoint became quite quickly the new datacenter application, so it needed to be managed as an datacenter application
  • Another issue is the fact that SharePoint is everywhere.  It is distributed by nature.  Additional project sites, sites, document libraries and so on are created with ease.
  • This also created additional load and admins needed to provide quickly additional resources which wasn’t always that easy.
  • Luckily there was virtualization, but that also give another problem, the so-called server sprawl


My next slide was about what benefits can give you when you use it to manage SharePoint

  • With SCOM you can easily do proactive monitoring and reporting.  It even integrates with SharePoint’s native monitoring capabilities.
  • With SCVMM you can manage the capacity and provide additional SharePoint resources as needed (and then I didn’t talk about Opalis who can automate this workflow based on SCOM’s performance data.)
  • SCDPM can help you with rapid and reliable data backup and recovery
  • SCOM will also validate your SharePoint environment through the use of prepackaged validated best practices.  Hey, and if your environment has a good reason for not being setup according to the best practices, then you adapt the monitors to your own best practices
  • Everybody who ever managed a SharePoint environment knows that patching it is a terrible work.  By using SCCM you can automate parts of the entire process.
  • With the new ServiceManager, you can describe your entire farm as a business service (most of it is automated if you are also using SCOM) and get the entire incident and change management process to the application, according to your ITIL or MOF workflows
  • Through SCOM you can manage not only SharePoint, but also the OS, the hardware and even the network if you want, giving you an overview of the health of the entire datacenter for this application.
  • And last but not least, a consistent user interface through the complete suite makes it easy for your IT admins to administer them all.

This was more a general slide, and then I started to talk about one of the two actual topics.  First one: The SCOM Management Pack for Sharepoint.


The first slide on this topic discussed the improvements over the previous management pack.

  • The architecture had changed so now it looked on a server level but also on logical components
  • The new SPHA (SharePoint Health Analyzer) rules that are embedded in SharePoint are integrated in the new Management Pack
  • There are only two management packs left, the SharePoint foundation and SharePoint Server management pack

Also the differences in rules, monitors etc were shown


And then it was time to just demo the Management Pack.  It is pretty difficult to explain this Management Pack, you just have to see it for yourself to see the value.  This was also the moment I lost my wireless and freezed my remote desktop.  Luckily it returned shortly afterwards so I could continue the demonstration.

Finally, to close this topic, I explained the pitfalls when installing this Management Pack


  • Make sure you have all the hotfixes necessary.  They are all described in the manuals that come with the management packs.  Another great example of Read The Fine Manual.
  • Make sure that you also install the additional management packs such as the SQL management pack, the IIS management pack and ofcourse the OS management pack.  And if you have a management pack for your hardware and/or network, use them too.
  • When you install the Management Pack on an x64 system, there is a little problem that it installs them in the “%Program Files (x86)\System Center Management Packs” directory while it needs to be in the “%Program Files\System Center Management Packs” directory.  Copy the files to there
  • Don’t forget to create the Run As Account, this account needs to be Farm Administrator and have the correct rights on the SQL databases.
  • Resize your event logs (the windows application log and sharepoint foundation\operational log) to at least 10 MB.
  • Disable event log replication when your environment is running on windows clusters.  Otherwise you will get alerts two times.
  • And last but not least, but this is a best practice for every SCOM administrator, use an override management pack for your overrides.  This is created by default when you run the config task.

Second part was protecting SharePoint.  And here I wanted to discuss DPM of course, but I also discussed the built-in tools from SharePoint.  The reason for that is quite simple.  Yes you need a backup, yes you need to be able to recover but when a user deletes one document and calls the helpdesk, you don’t want to start recovering that one document because you will have a lot of work.  Yes DPM can do that but you will use this when the user wants the document back but realized it way too late.

Anyway, here are the important takeaways when you are planning a SharePoint project and are thinking about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (which you should always do in the planning phase but hey, it doesn’t always go as it should right…)

  • Understand what you need to protect.  Get an overview of the install base (use SCOM for this), understand for what it will be used. 
  • Get clear goals with your management.  I can’t afford to loose a document and it must be online all the time is only achievable if they want to spent a lot of money.  If they don’t want that, then ask how much they want to loose, and how long it can take to bring everything up again.  Based on that, decide what you need, get pricing and talk again to your management.
  • Read about SharePoint, know what is already included with the product.  Use it in your advantage.
  • Make sure that when the product is online, that Business Continuity management in an ongoing process.

Another slide is showed is what is already inside the box.


Oke, the first point was merely explain what the difference is between Warm high availability and Cold availability.

But the other points are extremely useful.

  • Recycle bin.  Use it, train your users, and set it on a few days so that you have less work when a user deletes a document by accident.
  • Use versioning, force it.  This way, users can’t take an old version and overwrite the newer one.  They can return whenever they want.
  • There is the Read-Only Database option.  This is nice.  Take a content database with important information that doesn’t need to be changed again, make it read-only in SQL and SharePoint see this and handless to it.
  • If you have custom development, let your developers package all solutions.  If it is a real disaster, then you can reinstall that package easily.
  • And finally, there is the possibility of an Unattached Content Database.  You can take a snapshot in SQL or recover one through DPM and read it through SharePoint without the need of being attached to SharePoint.

After that, some slides on how DPM works, but since I already addressed this topic I’m not going to repeat myself.

After a demo of a document recovery, I finalized the session with the takeaways which are all described here.

After the session, I still got a lot of people coming up and ask me a lot of questions on DPM.  Glad to hear that it finally is getting the buzz it needs in Belgium :-)

One last thing that I forgot to mention yesterday (shame on me) but I will mention it here:

All the things that I showed yesterday and described here can also be achieved with System Center Essentials 2010.  Certainly now that Microsoft has released System Center Essentials Plus which gives you licensing for SCE and DPM.

Till next


Mike Resseler

PS: For those who are interested, my presentation can be found at this address:

Session 1, room 9

Sharepoint 2010 protection in DPM 2010: Part 3

8:37 am in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

This is part 3 of our Sharepoint protection in DPM 2010 serie and also the last part.

You can find the other two parts here:


Item-level recovery

So what is Item-level recovery?  Item-level recovery means that you can recover a single document, list, page or whatever.  While it was already possible in Sharepoint 2007 and DPM 2007, you needed a sharepoint recovery farm to do this.  And the recovery farm had to be at the exact level as the production farm.  If you hadn’t had this farm, then you could only recover a complete farm or site collection.

With Sharepoint 2010 and DPM 2010, you can do item-level recovery without the need of a recovery farm.

Every 24 hours, DPM will create a catalogue of the Sharepoint environment in order to allow the item-level recovery.  In case you need to do an item-level recovery before the 24 hour (such as demo-purposes :-)) you can run the following powershell commands to force this task

$pg = Get-ProtectionGroup <dpmservername>

$ds = Get-Datasource $pg[index1] (index1 points to the protection where

SharePoint is protected, to see all protection groups try $pg)

Start-CreateCatalog $ds[index2] (index2 points to the SharePoint datasource,

to see all datasources try $ds)


In my demo environment, I have a sharepoint farm running which is the view you will get after a basic installation with one site configured



As you can see in the screenshot, I have modified the home page a bit.  Now I’m going to modify it again


Of course, now I realize I made a mistake, don’t have a clue what it used to be before and I call IT to restore :-)

So IT will start from the DPM UI


As you can see, In the recovery pane, I can see the sharepoint farm and some items under there.  I need to recover a page, so I need to be in the WSS Content


After some drilling down, I reached the page that need to be recovered.  I select this page, also select the time from which I want to recover and start a recovery.



So here are my options.

  • Recover to original site
  • Recover to alternate site
  • Export selected items into a network folder (not possible in this case)
  • to tape

In our case, I’m going to recover to the original site


Now I get the option to do a recovery without or with a recovery farm.  Since the purpose of today was to demonstrate it without the recovery farm…


Now you need to make some decisions.  The first you need to decide is the SQL instance that you want to use to recover temporarily the content database where the item is located.  You can use the same SQL instance as where the production farm is located, but this will give some additional load so if that is not an option, choose another SQL instance if possible.

The second choice you need to make is a location where the database can be temporarily copied to.  This can be any volume or share that you want, but you need to have enough space free to copy the entire database to that location.


Next screen, you will need to give again a file location for the temporary location of the item that you want to recover.  This has to be on a front-end web server so that the item can be inserted from there into the sharepoint farm.


Again some options in the next screen.  the security that you want to apply, bandwidth throttling if necessary,  SAN recovery if that is supported and a notification if you have configured email notification


Finally you will receive the summary.


And here the recovery is busy.  You can close this window and follow the progress in the jobs pane.


And here you can see that the recovery is successful.

Now when I switch back to the sharepoint farm, you can see that my original page is restored


That’s it



Sharepoint 2010 protection in DPM 2010: Part 2

6:42 am in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

This is the second part of the 3-part sharepoint 2010 protection series

In the first part we looked at the things that were necessary as prerequiste to protect a sharepoint farm.  We also looked at some details about sharepoint protection.

Today, we gonna create a protection group for sharepoint.

Background information


This picture shows how DPM works for sharepoint protection.

So when we are protecting a sharepoint farm (as said in the previous post) with one click, then we are protecting all these items with their different writers.

Basically, when you want to protect a sharepoint farm, DPM 2010 will do everything for you in the back-end.  That’s easy :-)

Don’t forget, whenever you create a new content database, and the auto-protect option is enabled, then it will be automatically protected within 24 hours.

You will however get a warning alert in the Console that there is a new content database.

The same will happen when the Sharepoint Administrators delete a content database.  DPM 2010 will figure this out, give you a warning alert, and you just need to follow the information in that alert to reconfigure the protection group.

One other thing that can go wrong is that the Sharepoint administrators change the farm administrator password that you use to protect (see previous post).  At that moment, you will get a warning alert but DPM will continue to backup everything he knows.  However, he won’t be able to query the config database anymore, so he won’t know when there are (for example) new content databases.  So if you are having this issue, perform the commands again from my previous post with the new password (or even new user and passwords) and you’re back ok.

Create the protection group

Ok, so let’s create a protection group for sharepoint.



Choose Servers to continue


When I open my sharepoint server, I will see a possibility of choosing a sharepoint farm.  So I select it


Here I choose my short-term and long term protection.  No tape library in my environment here so…


Time to choose the settings for the short-term protection.  So here you can define how long you want to be able to recover and when he needs to take a full express backup.  Note that this is the only possibility for sharepoint farm protection.  Synchronizations are not possible.  If you wander how many disk space this is going to eat, then you need to calculate your chunk that you have each day.  But how do you calculate this chunk?  Well, with DPM you can find out, so my suggestion would be to use the tool a few days to see the changes, and use the excel sheets that can do an estimate based on your input.


DPM will calculate itself the diskspace, but since it doesn’t know how many data changes there are on average a day, it will remain an estimate.  You can however choose to let the auto-grow option on so that it will automatically grows the volume.  (DPM admins, don’t forget to review the great disk utilization reports weekly :-))

Note that the co-location option is not selectable.  This is because co-location is not supported for Sharepoint protection.


Choose when you want to create the initial replica.  This is preferred to do outside the working hours if you are having a large farm that is used intensively.


Here you have the option to do an automatic consistency check when the replica isn’t consistent anymore or to do it on a daily base on a fixed hour.  My advice, if possible, do it automatically whenever it is inconsistent but if the load is too heavy on your production sharepoint servers, then schedule it on a daily base after working hours or at the most convenient time.


Finally the summary


Ok.  In our next post, we will show you how you can do an item-level recovery.



Sharepoint 2010 protection in DPM 2010: Part 1

4:42 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

This post will the first of three about sharepoint protection.

Part 1 will be about the preparation to protect a sharepoint farm and some background information what DPM can do with your sharepoint farm.

Part 2 will be about creating a protection group for the sharepoint farm and some explanation on how it works

Part 3 will be an example of how you can do level-item restore and what is necessary to achieve this.


Background information

So what can we protect with DPM 2010?  Here’s the list

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010
  • Windows SharePoint Foundation 2010
  • Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0
  • Windows SharePoint Services version 2.0

So what can we do?  We can do a farm protection with one-click, there is the possibility of automatically protecting new content databases.  We can do a recovery of an entire farm, an entier Database, a Site Collection, a Site and an Item. 

Please note that this Site and Item level recovery only works with Sharepoint 2010 without a recovery farm.

Oke, sound all good, time to prepare my environment for Sharepoint protection.


Preparing the Sharepoint environment

First is first, in my labo environment, I only had one server running everything from sharepoint, the front-end IIS, the Sharepoint 2010 application and the SQL server.  It ran on a windows server 2008 R2 and was the latest beta available on the connect site.

I started with deploying an agent to the sharepoint server.  After that is done, you need to configure something extra on the sharepoint box. So here goes:

Open a command prompt as administrator and go to the DPM agent installation bin folder(default: %programfiles%\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\DPM\bin)


Run the command ConfigureSharepoint.exe –enableSharepointProtection

This will enable the protection of the sharepoint farm.  It will enable the WSSCmdletsWrapper DCOM object and the WSS VSS writer.  As you can see in the screenshot, it will ask you for a username and password.  This needs to be the (or a) farm administrator account.


After that, we are going to run another command: ConfigureSharepoint.exe EnableSPSearchProtection

This will enable the protection of the Search provider.  Again, you need to enter the username and password for a sharepoint administrator.


Oke, now let’s have a better look at the command.




ConfigureSharePoint.exe [-EnableSharePointProtection] | [-EnableSPSearchProtection] | [-ResolveAllSqlAliases] | [-SetTempPath <Path>]

This command should be run as a local administrator. For Windows 2008 onwards, ensure that this command is run from an elevated command prompt.

Enables the protection of SharePoint farm. It registers the WSSCmdletsWrapper DCOM object and enables the WSS VSS writer. When prompted to enter user name and password, enter the credentials of the SharePoint farm administrator.

Enables the protection of WSS 3.0 Search and MOSS 2007 SSP. It registers the WSSCmdletsWrapper DCOM object. When prompted to enter user name and password, enter the credentials of the SharePoint farm administrator.

This option can be run only after running -EnableSharePointProtection or -EnableSPSearchProtection on the server. It provides information about all the SQL aliases reported by the WSS VSS writer and resolves them to the corresponding SQL Server instance names. If a SharePoint database is mirrored and configured with SQL alias then the corresponding mirror’s SQL Server instance name is displayed as well. This option also reports all the SQL aliases that cannot be resolved to any SQL Server.

-SetTempPath <Path>
Sets the environment variable TEMP and TMP to the specified path


The good observer 😉 has seen that you can run the parameters all at once so that you don’t need to give the username and password twice.

One important note… The farm administrator account doesn’t need to be local administrator on the Web Front End.  This was a requirement for DPM 2007.  From the moment you do perform the command, DPM 2010 will give the following permissions to the sharepoint farm administrator:

  • Read and Execute to all DPM directories.
  • Read, Execute and Write (all) access on Temp directory in the DPM directory.
  • Read permissions to the DPM hive in the registry.

That’s it for now, next post will be the creation of a protection group



Troubleshoot Sharepoint Recoveries

7:30 am in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

Just saw a nice video about troubleshooting Sharepoint Recoveries with system center data protection manager 2007.

The video is created by Shane Brasher who is a Senior DPM Support Escalation Engineer.

You can find the video @

In the Video, Shane demonstrates two common failures and how to find information about them.

One of these errors is not enough disk space for the recovery.  It is indeed a fact that to recover something from sharepoint you need to recover the entire site.  And this is sometimes overlooked by administrators.  Both on the recovery farm as the production farm you need to have enough space to recover.

The error you will receive is ID 2035 and can be found in the DPM UI, eventviewer and the MSDPMCurr.errlog

And finally, it is also found back in the trace logs when you need to make them for Microsoft Support.

The other error he explained is a little more difficult to understand.  What he did was recover a site but to an alternate site.

The error shown now was ID 32005: The system cannot find the file specified.

Again, this error is visible in the DPM UI, eventviewer and the MSDPMCurr.errorlog but just shows this cryptic notification.

The log you need here is the WSSCmdLetsWrapperCurr.errlog where there is a much better answer about this error.

It states that you are trying to restore a site to another location which has the wrong template so be aware.

Anyway, a must seen video for all you DPM admins out there.



System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1: Sharepoint issues

8:28 am in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

Hey All,

One of our engineers was having a big issue with the protection of a sharepoint farm.  In DPM, he could not resolve the following error:

The replica of SSPComponent_SSP Intranet on servername is inconsistent with the protected data source. All protection activities for data source will fail until the replica is synchronized with consistency check.

He has searched a lot on the problem but finally found that the problem was not with the DPM program but with the Sharepoint configuration.

The problem was that some service accounts tried to do a remote log-on to the server.  These service accounts are used for the timer / search server functions and had the appropriate rights locally but did not had the rights to do this remotely.

After adding the service account the rights to “logon as a batch” and “logon as a service” it suddenly started to work again.