Intended use and configuration options for the Backup Exec Advanced Open File Option (AOFO)

  • Modified Date:
  • Article ID:000036059


This article explains the intended use and configuration settings for the Backup Exec for Windows Servers Advanced Open File Option (AOFO).


Backup Exec Advanced Open File Option allows the administrator to select between four different types of open file technologies as shown in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1

1. Automatically select open file technology:
Enables Backup Exec to select the best snapshot method to use for the type of data being backed up.

Note: If this option is selected for a Windows Server 2003 computer, Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is used when Shadow Copy Components and/or Microsoft SQL or Exchange databases are selected for backup, but VERITAS Volume Snapshot Provider (VSP) is used in all other cases. If the Windows Server 2003 computer does not have VSP installed, Backup Exec uses VSS as the default.

2. Symantec Volume Snapshot Provider [Windows 2000 only]:
Symantec Volume Snapshot Provider (VSP) is the default snapshot technology for Backup Exec.

Tip: Following are recommended best practices for using AOFO and the Symantec Volume Snapshot Provider (VSP):

a. Ideally, allow AOFO exclusive use of a disk. This disk should not have any user data, should never be backed up, and should have the AOFO cache file location directed to it.
b. Make sure there is sufficient space on the disk to encompass all of the changed data. Changed data can include user files, system files, and the NTFS Master File Table (MFT).
c. Exclude the cache file from real-time virus scanning software. Do not run regular scans or disk utilities such as scan disk or de-fragmention during backups with AOFO.
d. Avoid running any processes or programs that would write excessive data to the drive being protected. Avoid copying large amounts of data to the drive being protected.

3. VERITAS Storage Foundation for Windows Flash Snap Option :
VERITAS Storage Foundation for Windows was formerly known as Volume Manager.

a. The volumes to be backed up with the Storage Foundation Flash Snap Option must first be snap-started using VERITAS Enterprise Administrator, which must be purchased separately.

b. If the computer on which a backup is done using the Advanced Open File Option is in an environment with the Central Administration Server Option and VERITAS Cluster Server installed, and if the fail over occurs to a Cluster Server node, one must manually clean up the snapshots before restarting the backup on the fail over node. Refer to the Storage Foundation documentation for details.

4. Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service : For use with vendor-specific, third-party software, with Windows Server 2003. Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) technology enables third-party hardware and software vendors to create snapshot plug-ins for use with Microsoft technology.
Microsoft, as well as other third party software vendors, often provide additional components that work in conjunction with VSS. These components, called Writers, are used to flush application data or file data (if a file is open) residing in the computer's memory before the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service makes a snapshot of the volume to be backed up. See the software documentation for information about VSS Writers that may be provided by the application software vendor.

5. Process Logical Volumes for backup one at a time : Enables backups of multiple volumes in one job, while creating a snapshot of only one logical volume at a time. After one logical volume is snapped and backed up, the snapshot is deleted before the next logical volume is snapped.

Intended use

AOFO can be used for backing up database type files that Backup Exec does not offer an agent for.

What database applications does Backup Exec have agents for?
Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Share Point, Microsoft SQL, Lotus Domino, and Oracle all have database agents. These applications do not require the use of AOFO to back up their data, nor is it recommended, unless a Microsoft Shadow Copy Services (VSS) Backup needs to be performed.  For more information on this, review the following document:
How to back up Microsoft SQL and Exchange with Backup Exec for Windows Servers 10.x and above using Microsoft Shadow Copy Services (VSS)

Microsoft Word and Excel Documents will not benefit from AOFO unless the document is being saved at the point in time when it is backed up. When open, these type of files are temporarily locked and backed up on the fly and do not prevent users from accessing the file.

Jet Engine Database files, such as Microsoft Access databases, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) databases, and Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) databases, will benefit from AOFO. Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (PST) files will benefit from AOFO should an Outlook client be left open on the user's desktop. Other database types that Backup Exec does not provide a database agent for may benefit from AOFO.

For Virtualization:
These applications such as hyper -v and vmware do not require the use of AOFO.

Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices.



Did this article answer your question or resolve your issue?


Did this article save you the trouble of contacting technical support?


How can we make this article more helpful?

Email Address (Optional)