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System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1: A good backup choice?

12:48 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

ith the release of SP1 2 months ago, Microsoft has created a product that can actually take a huge amount of this market.  So if you ever think that this product suits your environment, here are a few pointers to help you sell it to the upper-management.

Ok, now about the product.

First, why would you not choose for this solution.

  1. If you only want one backup solution in your environment, and you’re not only running on windows, then stop thinking about this product.
  2. If you have servers in a DMZ zone (workgroup) or in a domain that has not a full trust, the story also ends, unless you want to install multiple SCDPM servers

Only two reasons and end of story… This product must be fantastic ;-).  Unfortunately, there aren’t too many environments that don’t have a DMZ zone, or that are running full windows.  So these two items are really a killer to defend this to the management…

How you can solve this will be explained later on.  First, we’ll start with what is new to DPM 2007 Service Pack 1.

  • Protection of Hyper-V machines, including 2008 Hyper-V and Hyper-V server.  And since there is still the possibility to do a complete backup of Virtual Server 2005 R2 guests, the whole microsoft virtualization suite is covered.  And we are really talking here about online backup of an entire guest!  How cool is that…
  • SQL server protection now protects SQL 2008, and it gives you added protection capabilities for mirrored databases
  • Sharepoint Server 2007 and sharepoint services 3.0 receive index protection, catalog optimization and support for mirrored content databases.
  • Exchange Server 2007 SCR protection
  • Cross-forest Protection:  It is possible to backup from other domains, but a forest level trust is necessary!

Overview of DPM Functionality 

For more information about the product, make sure you check out the FAQ and the product page

If you want to use this product, you need to “sell” following advantages to your management:

  • Lower cost on licenses.  Make sure you check out the video on edge (  Second, if you already have SMSE licenses, or if you are thinking about buying those, this product is included!
  • Fast restore.  If you have enough storage (SAN, iSCSI…) you can create protection groups so that you can easily and quickly restore files, mailboxes, mails, databases, sharepoint items….)
  • You can backup to storage online for various products and afterwards back-up to tape without interference with the infrastructure.  This means that the “backup-window” disappears and that you can do your backups to tape whenever you want.
  • Whether we like it or not, it is a Microsoft product, and the functionality for Exchange, SQL and Sharepoint are fantastic.
  • As already said, full host server based backups for Virtual machines.
  • Users can perform their own recoveries
  • Possibility of having one DPM server protect another, making it possible to have a backup server in another location to get up and running again very fast after disaster



  • Great reporting possibilities

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I think these 8 lines are already a great start for building a business case towards the decision taker.

But now for the problems I mentioned in the beginning of this post.

DPM is not capable of backing up non-windows systems.  So for that, you need another solution.  Also a true san backup is also not possible.  So what can we do about it?

In many cases, we implemented the following solution:

We implemented DPM to do backups on SAN space or iSCSI systems.  After that, we used another solution (mostly HP Data Protector) to take a backup of that storage.  The combination of both systems is perfectly possible as described on the following technet article:

For the non-windows environments, the HP data protector is also a solution but you can of course go to Veritas or ArcServe or other solutions.

For the next release of DPM, I think Microsoft should think about the following features:

  • San backup
  • Backup of filesystems on non-windows environments (Hey, if they can monitor them through SCOM, why not backup them???)
  • Possibility of protecting servers that are not in the same domain or are in a workgroup / forest without full trust



System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1: Terminology

12:02 pm in Uncategorized by mikeresseler

In my next few posts, I will discuss three topics about DPM 2007 SP1.

  1. A good backup choice?  This will discuss how to “sell” this product to the IT decision takers and talks about the ROI of the product
  2. How it works.  This will discuss more how the product works in and what snapshotting is on a high level, not to technical.
  3. How to start a DPM project. This will discuss (based on the IPD from Microsoft) what the best way is to prepare for a DPM project.

To understand the next few topics, I will give here a few definitions that are used in the product. (taken from the technet site)

RPO: RPO means Recovery Point Objective.  This means the following:  What is the amount of data that is tolerated to lose in case of a disaster.  In many cases, the business will say no loss :-).  But since that is almost impossible (unless you have sophisticated systems such as SAN replication etc…).

Retention Range: Basically, how long must data kept for availability.  Most known example is the GFS principle which stands for Grandfather, Father, Son.

RTO: Recovery Time Objective.  How fast do you need to be online again.  Most of the time, IT decision takers need to find a balance between the RTO and the RPO which is a very difficult exercise.

End-User Recovery: Will the end-users be able to do recovery there selves without intervention of IT?

BCP / DRP: Business Continuity Plan / Disaster Recovery Plan.  The first is about figuring out if the business can continue to run after a disaster and the second is more about recovering what is lost.

Data Source: The data that DPM considers as a unit for protection.  DPM allocates separate storage for each data source.

Differential Backup: This term is not used with DPM.  It refers to a backup in which all of the files that are new, or have changed since the last backup, are backed ip.

Express Full Backup: A type of backup that only transfers blocks that changed since the previous express full backup.  This creates a recovery point.

Incremental backup (sync): A type of backup that uses the application’s native form of incremental data protection.

For example, for a server running SQL Server, it’s a log file backup; and for a server running Exchange Server, it’s a VSS incremental backup. Each incremental backup creates a new recovery point. With incremental backups, only the data that has changed since the most recent full or incremental backup are backed up, which means that the size of the incremental backup is usually much smaller than a full backup.

Replica: A full copy of a protected data source that reflects the result of the most recent DPM operation for that data source.

Replica Volume: A volume that holds the current copy of the protected data for a data source.

Synchronization: The process by which DPM transfers changes to protected data from the protected computer to the DPM server, and applies the changes to the replica of the protected volume.

Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS): Provides the backup infrastructure for the Windows XP, Windows Vista®, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 operating systems, as well as a mechanism for creating consistent point-in-time copies of data known as shadow copies.

Protection Group: One or more data sources that are grouped together, to be protected in the same way, by the same DPM server.

Consistency Check: The process by which DPM checks for and corrects inconsistencies between a protected data source and its replica. A consistency check is performed only when normal mechanisms for recording changes to protected data, and for applying those changes to replicas, have been interrupted.

Recovery Point: The point in time view of a previous version of a data source that is available for recovery from media managed by DPM.

That’s it for now, next post: A good backup choice?