TIL: The VSS Writer

I’m working on a presentation for July involving security, and got to the section in which I discussed turning of unneeded services.  I noticed the VSS Writer and realized, I didn’t actually know what it did…

One trip to MSDN later, I learned that the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) writer allows third-party applications to snapshot and copy SQL Server data and log files while those files are in use.  If this service is off, the data and log files are locked and the only way you can take a backup is through SQL Server full, differential, and transaction log backups.  If the service is on, third-party tools can make real-time copies of these files.

My inclination is to turn this service off and rely on SQL Server’s internal backup strategy, as it’s a known quantity and having two services to perform such a similar action increases your system’s surface area.


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