VSS Architecture

Topic Last Modified: 2009-07-22

You can use the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) feature in the Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 operating system to create applications that back up and restore Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. VSS provides an infrastructure that enables third-party storage management programs, business programs, and hardware providers to cooperate to create and manage shadow copies. Solutions that are based on this infrastructure can use the shadow copies to back up and restore one or more Exchange 2007 databases.

Volume Shadow Copy Service

VSS coordinates communication between requestors (backup applications), writers (the Exchange 2007 writer for the Windows Server 2003 Volume Shadow Copy Service), and providers (system, software, or hardware components that create the shadow copies). To use VSS to back up Exchange 2007, the backup program must include an Exchange 2007–aware VSS requestor. Because the backup program that is bundled with Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 does not include an Exchange 2007–aware VSS requestor, organizations must use third-party backup applications that include an Exchange 2007–aware VSS requestor or create a custom requestor.

To be compliant with Exchange 2007 and to guarantee the integrity and recoverability of shadow copy backups, VSS-based backup applications must comply with the following basic requirements:

  • Exchange 2007 database, transaction log, and checkpoint files must be backed up exclusively through the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Writers for platforms with VSS that support Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.
  • The backup application must validate the integrity of the shadow copy backup set.
  • Restores onto a computer that is running Exchange 2007 must be performed exclusively by using the Exchange Store Writer.

If these requirements are not met, it might be impossible to troubleshoot issues in the backup and restore process and data.

For more information about how to use VSS, including all the reference material that you must have to create an application that you can use to back up and restore Exchange 2007 data, see the Volume Shadow Copy Service SDK.