Your basic ITPro blog... What's going on at work, what I'm interested in.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Backup-To-Disk Problems with BackupExec 12.5 to a Virtual Disk on a MD3000i

…A long title for a weeks-long problem!

Well, it has been a long time since I have updated this blog. But, that doesn’t mean nothing has been going on! :-)

For the past couple of weeks, I have been troubleshooting a problem with my backups. I use BackupExec, so that shouldn’t really surprise anyone! But, in this case, the problem (as best as I can tell) turned out to lie elsewhere.

Here’s the skinny…

I do all of my backups to tape, except for my Exchange backups. They go to disk. I have a 3TB disk on my MD3000i that I use for this. That way, I can make the most efficient use of BackupExec’s GRT technology. It was working fine for a while until (as is often the case in Windows environments) it just stopped working.

My backup-to-disk jobs started failing with the error code: E00084AF

Symantec’s KB had a number of articles that spoke to the issue, but nothing seemed to work. I spent about a week on my own trying to solve the problem, running updates, tweaking the registry, deleting/recreating jobs… Nothing worked, so it was then time to call Symantec Tech Support.

Now, like most people, I DO NOT like calling tech support, especially for large companies. This has nothing to do with my ego and everything to do with the fact that, in most cases, the first-level support is likely a guy just like me… someone who kinda-knows the product, is sitting in front of a computer either reading from a ‘tech-support script’ or just searching their own KB as you describe your problem to them. I know they are trying to be helpful, but you end up spending most of your time re-hashing everything you have already tried! </rant>

I will say this, however… the Symantec guys were willing to ‘spend the time’ with me on this. I never felt rushed by them or brushed aside. I appreciated that.

Anyway, none of this troubleshooting helped and we all went into the weekend scratching our heads, wondering what we were going to try/look at next. Then, over the weekend, I had an idea…

As a Windows guy I have learned that, sometimes, you just need to start over. For example, if a distribution list in Outlook isn't working right, you may have to just delete it and re-create it (or add then remove someone). I have come across similar situations many, many times... Situations where 'touching' an object somehow resets things and gets it working again. Sometimes it's just a matter of changing a setting, saving, and then changing the setting back.

This is essentially what I did with my virtual disk on my MD3000i. I went into the management console of my MD3000i and changed the 'ownership/preferred path' of the virtual disk from one controller module to the other. Then, after a server reboot I ran a test job and it worked. The backups have been running fine ever since.

I have no idea what initiated this issue, or where it originated. That is the most frustrating part. I am just glad that things are working again!


Eternal-student said...

Hi Derek, I've just read your last post about your disk corruptions on this page ( and I just wanted to let you know I'm having the exact same problem.

Parent OS: 2008 Server
Guest OS: 2003 Server (although SP2 only not R2 I think)
3TB IDE connected passthrough disk. Has been working fine for about a year but have started to get disk corruptions last couple of weeks. One set 2 weeks ago and some just today.

Derek Mangrum said...

I moved my passthru disk to a SCSI controller on the VM and things work fine. From the research I have done, it seems to be preferred to use SCSI on VMs rather than IDE.

Eternal-student said...

Ok thanks for the info, that's really useful.

Incidentally, I'm working on this at the moment and that was the solution I was working towards.. but after running some Dell diagnostics and rebooting the server the whole 3TB partition has become uninitialised :(

I'm just in the process of reformatting.. and hoping the last backup is going to do the trick.

Eternal-student said...

Incidentally, I tried to format the disk (RAID 5 array) from the guest OS and it keeps reporting it can't complete. Power the guest down and put the disk online on the parent and it will format just fine. I don't suppose you had any similar experience with that?

Derek Mangrum said...

When the disk was on IDE, I was getting file corruption... but the disk was accessible. When I switched it to SCSI, there was no new corruption, but the files that were corrupted during the 'IDE' incident were still messed up. I just had to restore them from backup as we ran across them. But, the disk never when totally south.

Eternal-student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eternal-student said...

Ok, thanks for all the prompt wisdom. I shall let you know how it goes in the end.

Eternal-student said...

Just thought I would report back and let you know that since changing the Hyper-V disk to a SCSI we've had no further repeat of the corrupt files... thank goodness!

Thanks for all your help.

Derek Mangrum said...

Glad to hear that!

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