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VSS Hardware Provider

The Pure Storage Hardware Provider for Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) allows users to create application consistent volume snapshots. The Pure Storage VSS Hardware Provider works with the application WriterService (e.g., SQLWriterService) to quiesce the specific application by pausing I/O to specific volume(s).

The VSS Hardware Provider leverages the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to orchestrate the process, ensuring that snapshots (shadow copies) are generated only when the volumes are in a stable and consistent state. Once generated, the snapshots are saved to the Pure Storage FlashArray.

Release Timeline

Release Release Date
1.1.0 February 27, 2017
1.0.3 June 14, 2016
1.0.2 March 30, 2016
1.0.1 June 17, 2015
1.0.0 July, 2014

Compatibility Matrix

The following is compatibility information to determine if this tool is right for your environment.

Compatibility Matrix

VSS Hardware Provider 1.0.0 - 1.1.0

32-Bit

64-Bit

Windows Server 2016  

Windows Server 2012 R2

 

Windows Server 2012

 

Windows Server 2008 R2

 

Binaries

VSS Hardware Provider binaries are available on the Pure Storage VSS GitHub page.

User Guides

VSS Hardware Provider 1.0.1 and 1.0.3 were minor releases, without user guide changes.

Release Notes

Pure Storage VSS Provider 1.1.0 Release Notes

February 27, 2017

Changes in the 1.1.0 release:

  • Adds support for Pure Arrays with IPv6 addresses. IPv6 functionality requires Purity versions 4.9 and higher.
  • Fixes an issue that can cause the VSS configuration tool to crash if the command line arguments contain Unicode characters

This release is compatible with all Purity versions 3.4.3 and higher.

Distribution

The Provider is now available for download from the  Pure Storage VSS GitHub page. (The VSS Provider is not included with a Purity release.)

Pure Storage VSS Provider 1.0.3 Release Notes

June 14, 2016

This minor release improves the VSS plugin's handling of array IDs beginning with 0. Array IDs beginning with 0 previously would cause an error that the LUN “could not be located” to be seen when attempting to add a volume to Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).

Distribution

The VSS Provider 1.0.3 ships with the Purity 4.7.3 and later 4.7.x releases. Beginning with Purity 4.8.0, the VSS Provider is not included with the Purity release. The Provider is now available for download from the  Pure Storage VSS GitHub page.


Pure Storage VSS Provider 1.0.2 Release Notes

March 30, 2016

This minor release has a change that allows the VSS Provider to report better error messages when connecting to a Purity FlashArray that deprecates TLS 1.0.

Known Issues and Limitations

  1. As part of the Purity changes to deprecate support for TLS 1.0, a minor change to VSS utilities is made to report the change in TLS 1.0 support.
  2. Installing on Windows 2008 x32 is no longer possible and the installer no longer includes the 32-bit version. To use the VSS Provider on 32-bit Windows 2008, use version 1.0.1 of the VSS Provider.
  3. Note that Windows 2008 (both 32 and 64 bit editions) do not support TLS 1.1 or 1.2 by default. Any VSS Provider installed on Windows 2008 will not work with Purity release 4.7 and later.

Other Changes

  • As part of this change, the VSS installer and zipped file has been reduced in size dramatically because we no longer distribute release notes or user guide as part of the zipped file. Users will have to consult the latest versions on our Community portal.

Performance Testing

  • No performance testing has been performed for this release.

Distribution

  • The VSS Provider 1.0.2 ships with the Purity 4.7.0, 4.7.1, and 4.7.2 releases.

Pure Storage VSS Provider 1.0.1 Release Notes

June 17, 2015

Release Compatibility

  • This release is compatible with Purity Flash arrays that support Public REST API 1.1 or higher.
  • This release supports Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • This release does not support Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2. Installation can be performed, but is not currently supported.

Backup software

The VSS Provider has been tested with the following applications:

  • Microsoft DiskShadow tool.
  • Symantec NetBackup.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2014 are supported to have application consistent backup (Volume Shadow Copies) created.

Volume Replica and Snapshot Names

  • When the VSS Hardware Provider creates a snapshot or a volume replica, it uses special naming convention to identify several aspects of the generated volume or snapshot. The auto generated names start with “VSS" for a volume name or a snapshot suffix. It is important to note that these names should not be manually changed as it will break VSS functionality related to the volume or snapshot.

Known Issues and LImitations

  • If you change a drive letter on the Windows host system that is being tracked by VSS, further VSS operations on the drive may fail.
    Workaround: Rebooting the Windows host may help restore proper operation. However, the Windows disk manager discourages changing drive letters under use.
  • Replication of VSS created snapshots is not supported in VSS 1.0.0 or VSS 1.0.1.
  • Reinstalling Pure Storage VSS Provider without rebooting the Windows Server may fail.
    Workaround: A reboot may be required after uninstalling the VSS Hardware Provider. If when reinstalling the VSS Hardware Provider, the installer appears to stall or an error popup appears, please reboot the system then perform the install again.
  • Creating a Pure Storage VSS Hardware Provider snapshot on Windows 2008 generates multiple warning events.
    When the Pure Storage VSS Hardware Provider successfully creates a snapshot, the process generates multiple warning events in the Windows Log Application view of the Windows Server 2008 Event Viewer. Here is a sample of the details that appear in the warning event:
     
    Volume Shadow Copy Warning: The Provider has reported a storage
    identifier that is not supported by VSS. Codeset:1, Type:4, Size:4,
    NextOffset:24, Association:1. This identifier will be skipped by VSS.

    The warning events, which only occur on Windows Server 2008, are not related to the Pure Storage VSS Hardware Provider and can be ignored. Refer to the following Microsoft KB support article for more information: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951793
    Workaround: No workaround available.

Performance Testing

  • No performance testing has been performed for this release.

Pure Storage VSS Hardware Provider 1.0.0 Release Notes

July, 2014

Notice

  • Do not rename auto-generated volumes or snapshots
    The VSS Provider uses special naming convention to identify several aspects of the generated volume or snapshot. The auto-generated names start with “VSS-“ for a volume name or a snapshot suffix. These names should not be modified as that change breaks VSS functionality related to the volume or snapshot.

Known Issues and Limitations

  • Multiple warnings on Windows 2008
    On Windows 2008, when the VSS Provider successfully creates a snapshot, the process generates multiple warning events in the Windows Log - Application view of the Windows Server 2008 Event Viewer. Here is a sample of the details that appear in the warning event:

    Volume Shadow Copy Warning: The Provider has reported a storage identifier that is not supported by VSS. Codeset:1, Type:4, Size:4, NextOffset:24, Association:1
    This identifier will be skipped by VSS.

    The warning events, which only occur on Windows Server 2008, are not related to the Pure Storage VSS Hardware Provider and can be ignored. Refer to the following Microsoft KB support article for more information: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951793.

  • Re-installing the VSS Provider
    A reboot may be required after uninstalling the VSS Provider. If when re-installing the VSS Provider, the installer appears to stall or an error pop-up appears, please reboot the system and then perform the install again.
  • Changes to the Windows drive letter
    If you change a drive letter on the Windows host system where VSS is tracking files, further VSS operations on the drive may fail.
    Workaround: Rebooting the Windows host may help restore proper operation. However, the Windows disk manager discourages changing drive letters under use.
  • Replication of VSS-created snapshots
    Replication of VSS-created snapshots is not supported with the VSS Provider 1.0.x.
  • Compatibility issues with Purity 4.1.1 and 4.1.2
    This release of the Provider cannot be used with FlashArrays running Purity 4.1.1 or 4.1.2.

Release Compatibility

  • This release is compatible with Purity FlashArrays that support Public REST API 1.1 or higher.
  • This release supports Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • This release does not support Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2. Installations are allowed, but not currently supported.

Performance Testing

  • No performance testing has been performed for this release.

Distribution

  • The VSS Provider 1.0.0 ships with the Purity 4.0.0 and later releases (up to 4.1.5 in the 4.1.x releases).