44147: Acronis Backup for VMware 9: Application-aware backup of VM running SQL server fails with "Cannot read file as xml" error

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This article describes the solution for the problem of application-aware backup performed by Acronis vmProtect 9 failing with "cannot read file as xml" error. The solution is to remove an empty registry key from SQL branch

Symptoms

  1. You run an application-aware backup with Acronis vmProtect 9 and select a VM running Microsoft SQL Server for application-aware processing on Step 4 of the backup wizard.
  2. The backup fails at the very beginning with the following error in the log:

    Task 'Back up to 'Network' (2)' failed: 'Failed to create a backup.
    Additional info:
    --------------------
    Error code: 3
    Module: 435
    LineInfo: 555b5abba0950337
    Fields:
    Message: Failed to create a backup.
    --------------------
    Error code: 32786
    Module: 114
    LineInfo: 28314c961de7d337
    Fields:
    Message: Failed to prepare for backing up.
    --------------------
    Error code: 353
    Module: 149
    LineInfo: a71592046cb2c5f6
    Fields:
    Message: Failed to back up the group.
    --------------------
    Error code: 2
    Module: 218
    LineInfo: 338a407ad20e0987
    Fields:
    Message: Error occurred while running the backup and recovery engine.
    --------------------
    Error code: 1006
    Module: 552
    LineInfo: ef2deb00b5ee8d4b
    Fields:
    Message: Cannot build MS SQL application tree
    --------------------
    Error code: 1004
    Module: 552
    LineInfo: ef2deb00b5ee8d56
    Fields:
    Message: Cannot read file as xml
    --------------------'.

    The above error follows this one:

    The operation has failed.
    Additional info:
    --------------------
    Error code: 26
    Module: 100
    LineInfo: 48afbd3608a410ca
    Fields:
    Message: The operation has failed.
    --------------------
    Error code: 1006
    Module: 552
    LineInfo: ef2deb00b5ee8d4b
    Fields:
    Message: Cannot build MS SQL application tree
    --------------------
    Error code: 1004
    Module: 552
    LineInfo: ef2deb00b5ee8d56
    Fields:
    Message: Cannot read file as xml
    --------------------

Cause

The problem is that either HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Names\SQL\ or HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Names\SQL\ key is empty and does not contain any values on the VM running Microsoft SQL Server:

Solution

The solution is to rename the "Instance Names" key to something else. After that the application-aware backup should succeed.

(!) Before renaming the key make sure that the underlying "SQL" key does not contain any entries, i.e. that it is empty.

More information

The normally running MS SQL Server enumerates its instances under the above mentioned keys. The location (under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\ or HKLM\Software\Wow6432node\Microsoft\ ) depends on whether the SQL instances are 32 or 64 bit. They \Instance Names\SQL\ key may become empty if some instance had been removed previously during uninstallation.

Here is an example of proper contents of \Instances Names\SQL\ key:

The normal fix for this issue will become available in the next update for Acronis vmProtect 9 which will be able to properly handle such cases.

If the described solution does not help and the keys are not empty, please export both HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Names\SQL\ and HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\Instance Names\SQL\ keys from the VM and contact Acronis Customer Central for assistance with a reference to this article.

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