A new feature of VSS in Windows Server 2012 is VSS for SMB File Shares, which allows VSS-aware backup applications such as System Center DPM to create shadow copies of VSS-aware server applications that store their data on SMB 3.0 file shares, such as file shares on a Scale-Out File Server. On previous versions of Windows Server, VSS only supported creating shadow copies of data stored on local volumes. Because Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts can now use SMB 3.0 shared storage for storing virtual machine files, VSS for SMB File Shares is needed to ensure that virtual machines running on hosts using SMB 3.0 shared storage can reliably back up such virtual machine files.
Windows Server Backup does not support VSS for SMB File Shares functionality, but the Diskshadow.exe command-line utility included in Windows Server 2012 that exposes the functionality offered by VSS does support it. For more info on VSS for SMB File Shares and how to configure it for use with Diskshadow.exe or System Center DPM, see the post “VSS for SMB File Shares” by Claus Joergensen, Principal Program Manager on the Windows File Server Team, on his TechNet blog at http://blogs.technet.com/b/clausjor/archive/2012/06/14/vss-for-smb-file-shares.aspx. For information on the syntax of the Diskshadow.exe command, see the Command-Line Reference for Windows Server 2012 at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831799(WS.11).aspx.
Mitch Tulloch is a nine-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. For more information see http://www.mtit.com. This tip was excerpted from his latest book Training Guide: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 from Microsoft Press.