Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) cannot be used on Drobo!

Since the old forum is gone, I’ll repost this for your information.

Volume Shadow Copy or “VSS” (provided by Windows 2003 / 2008 / Vista / 7) which allows users to restore previous versions of files (also used for System Restore Points) cannot be used on Drobo!
It can be activated and Windows thinks all is working fine, but most files I’ve restored afterwards got corrupted.

Drobo Support has been notified about my experience months ago and said, they’ll research that (never heard from them).

So, if you plan to use Volume Shadow Copy, be warned!
The issue has been confirmed by DRI in 07/2010. I expect additional information in the Knowledge Base soon.

Good to know.

Why is this still an open issue? I have a Drobo Pro and am having issues where I can’t even create shadow copies. This is a big issue for me on trying to transport large files offsite through online backups which are being written to again before the online transfer is complete.

Drobo Crew? No feedback?

There is only an issue with Win 7 back up utility.


We are not aware of any issues with VSS on any other OS’s. In other words, NO cases have been opened for the issue and we successfully use VSS on our inhouse drobo’s.

Well, I opened a case in June 2009 (#00034706) and didn’t get any explanation on my experience with restored files that ended up filled with null-bytes.

We were unable to reproduce in house and no one else ever opened a case on the issue.

Nobody told me that. The case has been closed with “Thank you for your feedback, I have added it to our feature requests.”

She was under the impression you were requesting a feature request. At the same time you had posted on DroboSpace. Which with me being moderator I included your post on my weekly report to our engineers and higher ups to test. I do remember you posting that comment and thinking it very odd that we weren’t getting more complaints about VSS not working. So I had the engineers test. And we were not able to reproduce and there have been NO other cases but yours stating it doesn’t work.

When we noticed complaints on Win 7 that is when we investigated Win 7 and posted the KB article I’ve already posted here.

I’m a day or two from completing some data-intensive VSS testing on Drobo… Will post results when I’m finished.

Okay, then please discuss this with your engineers next time:
I’ve just enables VSS on Drobo.
I have 1.73TB in use (Dashboard)
I created a Shadow Copy Snapshot.
I created a 20GB file with random data (used TrueCrypt and created a new container)
Now I have 1.75TB in use (Dashboard)
I again created a Shadow Copy Snapshot.
I deleted the 20GB file.
Now I have 1.73TB in use (Dashboard).

The 20GB file is still there but Drobo just marked its Space as “free”!

Compared to last year, I have a new Server hardware, a new OS, a new Dashboard, a new Drobo Firmware, even a NEW DROBO. But still, VSS does not work.
Explain that to me please.

Where are you storing the shadow copies?

on the Drobo, of course

You now have an open case, # 100622000060. As expected I was basically told that they could do nothing to help me as VSS is a “third party backup software” which is pretty ridiculous. The only suggestion offered was to take a trip to the datacenter and take it off iSCSI to try USB instead.

C:>vssadmin create shadow /for=z:
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
© Copyright 2001 Microsoft Corp.

Error: Ran out of resources while running the command.

What OS are you running on? Windows 32bit only supports VSS on Volumes up to 5TB. You need Windows 64bit in order to enable VSS on a 16TB Drobo Volume.

RFZ is correct - 32-bit Windows VSS doesn’t support volumes over 5TB. That’s why I had to drop my Drobo down to 4TB for my tests.

Would have been great for Data Robotics support to have that information on tap. Thanks for saving me 2 hours in the car.

Unfortunately we can not know all the specs required for all back-up 3rd party programs out there. But a few minutes googling you error message got me that result.

Your google skills are better than mine for sure. My argument that VSS/VSC is not “3rd party” still stands. As part of Windows it is integral to the use of your products. You pitch the product as being production level storage then it needs to integrate fully with how people use it. We have over a dozen Drobo Pros in the field but all of them are in a backup storage capacity. This is the first time one has needed VSS, and it is also one fo the few that we only had 32-bit windows available for, therefore it is the first time we’ve seen this problem.

VSS is a core feature of Microsoft Windows since Server 2003, it’s not a 3rd party back-up utility and it’s not only for backup!
Although the 5TB limit on 32bit Windows is not your fault, you should know that and publish it to the KB.

And yes, your google skills are awesome. It took me some days, few posts in other forums and lots of testing to get that information last June.

Any comment on my last experience?

Ok, not 3rd party for Microsoft and unfortunately we are not microsoft. We would refer you to Microsoft with assistance with their product. Just like if you had issues with time machine, we would refer you to Apple.