Altaro VM Backup Support Centre

How to make use of VSS Hardware Providers

Last Updated: Nov 25, 2015 01:10PM CET
Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) hardware and software shadow copy providers manage running volumes and create shadow copies of them on demand. A hardware provider manages shadow copies at the hardware level by working in conjunction with a hardware storage adapter or controller. A software provider manages shadow copies by intercepting I/O requests at the software level between the file system and the volume manager.

If you use a storage area network (SAN), it is important that you install the VSS Hardware Provider for the SAN, if one is provided. A hardware provider offloads the task of creating and maintaining a shadow copy from the Hyper-V Host's operating system.

From Server 2012 onwards, the Windows Shadow Copy should by default attempt to make use of your VSS Hardwarde Providers first. It should fall-back to Microsoft Software providers if unable to.

If you are seeing that the VSS Hardware Provider isn't being used, there is an option to explicitly point Altaro VM Backup to make use of the VSS Hardware Providers by making use of an override file. You can follow these steps:

  1. Firstly, create a folder named "Overrides" in this path: C:\ProgramData\Altaro\AltaroBackupProfile

  2. Then create a text file named "VssOverrideProviders.txt" inside the newly created folder. If the Hyper-V hosts are running 2008 R2, you will also need to add an empty text file named "VssEnableProviders.txt"

  3. Get the VSS Hardware Provider ID. You can do this by running the command vssadmin list providers 

  4. Get the VolumeID, for your source drives - where the VM's files are located. You can do this by running the command mountvol

  5. After getting this information, we can populate the previously created text file with this information. Basically you will need to paste in the VolumeID and the ProviderID with a pipe '|' in between. 

  6. If the VM's source files are on more than one volume, you can list their details on the following lines. An example can be found below:

  7. Copy the "Overrides" folder and then paste it onto all other machines that you'd like to use the VSS Hardware Providers on.

    Ensure you place it in the same exact location: C:\ProgramData\Altaro\AltaroBackupProfile

  • ProgramData is a hidden folder by default

  • Ensure that the file extension is showing, or you might end up with a file named "VssOverrideProviders.txt.txt"
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