Late on a Friday afternoon during their first backup after installing Enterprise Vault, a county office was having problems accessing email through Outlook Web Access. The Enterprise Vault administrator needed to be sure that weekend users would be able to access their e-mail, so she contacted Symantec tech support.
Brad, a senior tech support engineer, responded to the call and talked with the administrator about what was going on. She told him that they were using scripts to perform their first backup but that the backup had failed, so Bradley knew just where to start troubleshooting the problem.
The batch scripts the administrator had written for backups were designed to automatically change the read-only setting in the registry to 0 before beginning the backup, and then after the backup was completed the setting would be reset to 1 to allow read/write access. As a result of this change, all product services such as administrative services, storage, archiving, and other features would be disabled while the backup was being performed. After the backup was complete, product services would be re-enabled by changing the registry setting back to read/write.
Weeding out the culprit
Brad determined that the batch script was restarting all of the product services except the task controller service, which handles archiving, retrieval, and other tasks. "We recommend that users don't stop the task controller service during backup, so the script didn't need to include that anyway," Brad says. "But it did, and she had inadvertently omitted having the read/write setting restarted. So users couldn't retrieve their mail."
The county offices have a variety of exchange servers and different domains, so Bradley went through each batch file to ensure that every time an instruction was given to stop a service, it was followed up with an instruction to restart upon completion of the backup. "Going through the files only took about ten or fifteen minutes," Brad says. "Once we got that taken care of, she was fine."
The customer was very pleased, because she had thought she would have to either stay late or leave the backup task incomplete. But thanks to Brad's help, she was able to leave at her regularly scheduled time, content with the knowledge that not only would the backup be successful, but also that weekend users would have access to their email.