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Microsoft Azure Backup Server: Anti-Virus Exclusions

1:05 pm in Anti-Virus Exclusions, Azure, Azure Backup, Cloud, hybrid cloud, MABS, Microsoft Azure Backup Server by Wim Matthyssen

Running a solid, constantly updated antivirus product on your servers is a necessity to keep a healthy and secure server environment. However, with installing an antivirus product, you also risk having issues with certain workloads and services on those severs. Just like System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM), the Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) is compatible with most antivirus software products. Though, the implemented antivirus product can also affect MABS performance and, if not configured properly, can cause data corruption of replicas and recovery points.

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So, to avoid file conflicts and to minimize performance degradation between your MABS server and the antivirus software running on top of it, you should disable real-time monitoring by the antivirus software for all of the following processes and directories, which are listed below.

MABS processes to exclude from antivirus real-time monitoring

For information about configuring real-time monitoring based on process name or folder name, check the documentation of your antivirus vendor.

  • DPMRA.exe (*full path: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\bin\DPMRA.exe)
  • csc.exe  (*full path: C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\csc.exe -> you can also exclude csc.exe in all the other Microsoft.NET Framework folders)
  • cbengine.exe (*full path: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\MARS\Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent\bin\cbengine.exe)

 

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MABS directories in the MABS Program Files folder to exclude from antivirus real-time monitoring

Be aware that when you installed MABS on another drive then “C:”, like in the example below, look under the correct drive for the folders to exclude.

  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\Temp\MTA\*
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\XSD\*
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\bin
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\MARS\Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent\bin
  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Backup\DPM\DPM\Cache (*MABS scratch folder)

 

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Delete infected files on the MABS server

As a final remark, I would also advise to configure to delete infected files by default on the MABS server rather than automatically cleaning or quarantining them. Automatic cleaning and quarantining can result in data corruption because these processes cause the antivirus software to modify files, making changes MABS cannot detect.

 

In summary, there are a lot of antivirus settings you should keep track of when running MABS. I’ve tried to list all of the exclusions, so hopefully it will help you with getting the most out of your MABS setup. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my Twitter handle.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: Error when installing on Windows Server 2016 – The Single Instance Store (SIS) component is not installed

3:36 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, hybrid cloud, MABS, Microsoft Azure Backup, Microsoft Azure Backup Server, PowerShell, Public Cloud, SIS, SIS-Limited, Windows Server 2016, WS2016 by Wim Matthyssen

 
Hi All,

Last week I was contacted by a customer who tried to install Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) on an on-premise Windows Server 2016. However, when he started the installation he always received an error because a prerequisite was not installed, namely the Single Instance Store (SIS) component.

 
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When opening the DpmSetup.log with PowerShell (as Administrator), you could see the following error:

 

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However, when you try to install this missing component through PowerShell it gives you an Error: 0x800f080cFeature name SIS-Limited is unknown.

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The reason for this is that because from Windows Server 2016 the SIS-Limited component is replaced by Microsoft’s deduplication or data footprint reduction (DFR) technology, like you can read in the following article from MVP Greg Schulz: http://storageioblog.com/rip-windows-sis-single-instance-storage-or-at-least-in-server-2016/

Also, when you go to the Microsoft Azure Backup Server download page and you expand System Requirements you can see that Windows Server 2016 at the present time is not listed as a supported Operating System (OS) to deploy MABS, probably because it does not have this SIS component.

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Conclusion

Currently you’re not able to use Windows Server 2016 as OS for you MABS server. Probably in the near future Microsoft will release a new version of MABS which will allow it, but until then you need to stick with Windows Server 2012 (R2) or Windows Server 2008 R2 to install your MABS on.

Hope this helps you with this error.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: Install a new version of the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent

3:06 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, Cloud, hybrid cloud, Microsoft Azure Backup Server by Wim Matthyssen

Hi all,

Some time ago a client received following alert on his Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS):

“Azure Backup raised the following alert for the subscription in use: (ID 33406). A new version of Windows Azure Backup Agent is available. You can review details about the new version and download it from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=229525. (ID 100083) More information

Like you all can read this alert was raised because there is a new version of the Azure Backup Agent available. In the Event Viewer on the MABS server you can also find following Warning message under the Application and Services Logs, CloudBackup, Operational:

“A newer version of Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent is required.”

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To install this new agent the following steps were taken:

1) Check the current Azure Backup Agent Version. To do so open the MABS console and click Management. Under Online you can find the Azure Backup agent version. Like you can see in the screenshot below for the moment version 2.0.9032.0 is installed

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2) Download the latest version of the agent via following link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3162327 . Go to the section Update information were you can find the update package for agent version 2.0.9037.0 In my example I saved it under the Temp folder

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3) Go to the Temp folder and Run the MARSAgentInstaller as administrator

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4) If the UAC screen pops up, click Yes

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5) To continue installing the update, click Next

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6) If all required software is in place, click Upgrade. This will start the upgrade process

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7) When the Upgrade is successful click Finish

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8) If you check the Azure Backup Agent version again, you can see version 2.0.9037.0 is installed

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9) You can also verify the current version by opening Run and typing appwiz.cpl to open Programs and Features. Look for the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent which should have version 2.0.9037.0

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10) Be aware that by default the Warning message will stay there for 30 days. To clear this message after the update you can inactivate it by right clicking the message and selecting Inactivate alert or by rebooting the MABS server several times (3 times at least)

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This concludes this blog post, hope it helps!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: System State backup fails with WSB Event ID: 546

7:07 am in Azure, Azure Backup, DC, IaaS, Microsoft Azure Backup Server, PowerShell, Public Cloud by Wim Matthyssen

After setting up a Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) running on an IaaS v1 VM for a customer, I encountered a problem with a System State backup. The server having the problem was a Domain Controller (DC) also running as an Azure IaaS v1 VM and a member of the Domain Controller Protection Group on the MABS server. You can see the error message found on the MABS server in the screenshot below

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“DPM cannot create a backup because Windows Server Backup (WSB) on the protected computer encountered an error (WSB Event ID: 546, WSB Error Code: 0x1751870). (ID 30229 Details: Internal error code: 0x80990ED0)”

On the DC itself following error message was found:

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“The backup operation attempted at ‘‎2016‎-‎05‎-‎10T14:00:28.139491000Z’ has failed to start, error code ‘2155348032’ (The backup storage location is invalid. You cannot use a volume that is included in the backup as a storage location. ). Please review the event details for a solution, and then rerun the backup operation once the issue is resolved.”

To fix this problem I followed the steps below:

1) On the server with the problem, verify if no other backup or recovery operation is running by opening a PowerShell window (as administrator) and typing:

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If the command output indicates that no operation is running, then you can proceed to step 2. Otherwise wait until the current job is completed and retry the failed System State backup job

2) In the same PowerShell windows type the following command:

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Verify of the writer named System Writer is running Stable and without any errors. If so proceed to step 3. Otherwise manually restart the VSS Writer, if it fails again it’s necessary to reboot the server

3) Open Services and verify if the Cryptographic Services is running and set to startup Automatically.

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4) The check if Windows Server Backup (WSB) is able to take a local System State Backup, open up PowerShell (as an administrator) and run the below command. When asked press (Y). Be aware it could take a while before the job completes:

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If the backup is successfully proceed to step 5. Otherwise check the Windows event viewer for other errors

5) Open the registry editor and go to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\wbengine. Create a key called SystemStateBackup and set the values of this entry as follows:

Name: AllowSSBToAnyVolume
Data type: DWORD
Value data: 1

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You also can use PowerShell (as an administrator) to create the registry key, to do so run following command:

6) When done, logon to the MABS server and retry the failed System State backup job by right-clicking and selecting Perform consistency check … Verification will start and at the end the job will complete with success

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This concludes this blog post, hope it’s useful. Till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Microsoft Azure Backup Server: System State backup fails with the message replica is inconsistent

8:00 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, Cloud, IaaS, Microsoft Azure Backup Server, PowerShell, Public Cloud, Windows Server Backup by Wim Matthyssen

Last week I was setting up a Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) for a customer running on an Azure IaaS v1 VM for taking disk and System State backups which are stored in an Azure Backup vault for long-term retention. After done all of the configuration, like deploying the agents and creating the Protection Group(s), most of the backup jobs ran without any issues, only the System State backups were failing. This is shown in the screenshot below.

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For those who not know, I will first list some extra information to clarify what a System State backup really is:

  • A System State backup uses the Windows Server Backup (WSB) feature to take a snapshot of the system state and saves it locally to the server before moving it to the MABS server storage pool
  • It contains the following system components: System Registry, SYSVOL directory, Boot files including the system files, Active Directory, COM + Class Registration Database, Certificate Services, Cluster service information, IIS Metadirectory and System files that are under Windows File Protection (some of these items are only included if the specified service is installed – AD, ISS, Certificates)
  • §System state backup and restore operations include all system state data: you cannot choose to backup or restore individual components due to dependencies among the system state components. However, you can restore system state data to an alternate location in which only the registry files, Sysvol directory files, and system boot files are restored.

Troubleshooting a System State backup failure can be frustrating as there are a lot of underlying components that come into play during the process. To figure out what was causing the System State backup(s) to fail, I followed the steps below:

1) Check out the Critical alerts for a specific server having the issue in the Monitoring pane on the MABS server. Here I found the following error:

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2) After reading the description carefully, you can see there should be enough free space on the target server and also WSB should be installed. So to verify,  first logon to the specific server trough RDP

3) Check out the free disk space by opening Disk Management

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4) Like you can see, there is plenty enough of free disk space to store a local System State backup

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5) To check if WSB is installed, run following cmdlet in PowerShell (as an Administrator)

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6) Like you can see WSB is not installed and probably causing the failure of the System State backup

7) Install WSB trough PowerShell (as an Administrator)

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8) Check if this fixes the issue by opening the Microsft Azure Backup MMC on to the MABS server. Go to Protection and select Perform consistency check …

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9) Click Yes to perform the consistency check

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10) You will see the Protection Status changing to “Replica is inconsistent, verification in progress”

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11) To be sure everything is working like it should, you can logon to the specific server and open WSB locally by opening the Run box and typing wbadmin.msc

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12) Select Local Backup. If all is running fine, their should be a local backup job running at the moment

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13) After a while the job should complete Successful

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14) You should also verify the successful System State backup in the MABS console. Like you can see the Protection Status of the job is OK now (also for all other System State jobs, after WSB was installed locally on all those servers)

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This concludes this blog post, hope it helps!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)