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VSS Can Cause Problems with RM

This is just a quick post about a potential fix for some timeout issues when using EMC Replication Manager (RM). An e-mail sent to an internal distribution list described a situation in which a user was using RM but was getting an error when trying to take a VMware snapshot. The error reported was a fairly generic error:

Cannot create a quiesced snapshot because the create snapshot operation exceeded the time limit for holding off I/O in the frozen virtual machine.

As it turns out, the problem was actually VSS in the Windows Server 2003-based guest. Since RM leverages VSS, an error with VSS was causing the entire process to fail. The fix was to clean up VSS as described in this Microsoft KB article and then reinstall the VMware Tools. After completing both of those steps, the problem was resolved.

If you are using RM and run into this problem, be sure to double-check to ensure that VSS is working as expected.

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