Error: Backup failed because the agent was unable to initiate the backup job

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Issue

When you try to start a backup for a system protected by the ShadowSnap agent, you receive the error message, "Backup failed because the agent was unable to initiate the backup job."

In legacy versions of the Datto IRIS environment, this error message was "Backup failed as job ( 500 ) was unable to be assigned."

Environment

  • ShadowSnap Agent

Cause

  • The ShadowProtect, StorageCraft ShadowCopy Provider, or StorageCraft Raw Agent service may not be running on the protected system.
  • The creation of the ShadowSnap key file may have been interrupted during the pairing between the ShadowSnap Agent and the Datto appliance.
  • A proxy server or network security element may be interrupting communication between the ShadowSnap Agent and the Datto Appliance and blocking or filtering ports 25566 and 139.
  • The server's local DNS is unable to resolve activate.storagecraft.com
  • The ShadowProtect license is expired due to un-installation and re-installation of ShadowProtect.
  • None of the volumes on the protected machine have been selected for backup.

Resolution

NOTE: If agents take constant full backups or differential merges at random intervals, or encounter intermittent "Backup failed due to a problem establishing secure communications with the agent," "Backup failed because the agent was unable to initiate the backup job," or VSS writer errors, there may be more than one Datto appliance on the network trying to back up the same protected machine.

Datto does not recommend protecting a production system with more than one Datto appliance at the same time. Even if they have different scheduled backup times, both systems cannot work in tandem with each other, because they both store information in the same location on the protected server with the same naming schemes, and will overwrite each others' changes to those files.

Check Agent Services

Check that all 3 services are present on the protected machine via services.msc:

  • StorageCraft Raw Agent
  • StorageCraft Shadow Copy Provider
  • ShadowProtect Service

Stop the StorageCraft ImageReady service. Then, right-click the service and go to Properties. Change the Startup Type to Manual.

Open task manager, and end the processes of any instances of the following services:

  • raw_agent_svc.exe
  • ShadowProtect.exe
  • ShadowProtectSvc.exe
  • vsnapvss.exe

Restart the services through the services.msc console.

Check Network Settings

Ensure that all Local/Edge hardware or software have the proper exceptions configured. Depending on the software/hardware, you will need the following information:

  • Website: activate.storagecraft.com
  • IP address: 198.135.233.13
  • Local Service: ShadowProtectSvc.exe

To view the proxy settings use the following commands from a CMD prompt:

  • Proxycfg.exe: Proxycfg.exe
  • Netsh.exe: Netsh winhttp show proxy (with Vista / Server 2008 or newer)

Reset the proxy to "Direct," which will delete any entries listed.

  • Proxycfg.exe: Proxycfg.exe –d
  • Netsh.exe: Netsh winhttp reset proxy (with Vista / Server 2008 or newer)

Check the Windows Firewall or any Antivirus to make sure exceptions exist for the ShadowSnap application to access ports TCP 25566 and TCP 139.

Check the License Status

Open the StorageCraft ShadowProtect program and check the license status:

Figure 1: An active license

The license should read as Active.

  • If the license shows expired, follow the steps in the Repair Agent Communications section of this article to re-pair the agent with your Datto appliance. The ShadowProtect software will automatically attempt to reprovision its license during this process.
  • If it is disconnected, retry the steps for restarting the services for ShadowProtect and ShadowSnap. Ensure that the ShadowProtect software is 5.0.x.

Check for Job Already in Progress

The agent may think a backup job is already running. To resolve this, rename the database where the job state is residing:

  1. Open services.msc, and stop the StorageCraft Raw Agent service.
  2. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\StorageCraft\ShadowProtect\ShadowSnap.
  3. Find the endptconfig.sqlite3 file. Append .old to the end of the filename.
  4. Restart the StorageCraft Raw Agent service.
  5. Repair agent communications on the device, and attempt another backup job.

Verify Agent Settings

The following troubleshooting steps involve modifying the agent settings on the Datto appliance. To navigate to an agent's settings:

1. Access the Datto appliance's GUI
2. Click the Protect tab.

Figure 2: The Protect tab

3. Click the affected agent's Configure Agent Settings link.

Figure 3: Configure Agent Settings

Repair Agent Communications

4. Click the Repair Agent Communications button to recreate the secure key pair between the agent on the device. If this fails, possible causes are:

Figure 4: Repair Agent Communications

Verifying Excluded Volumes

If all volumes are excluded in Volume Level Backup Control, the backup will fail. Verify that at least one volume is active.

Figure 5: Volume Level Backup Control

If you have attempted all troubleshooting steps described in this article and are still experiencing backup failures, please contact Datto Technical Support for further assistance.

Additional Resources


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