Digging into Microsoft Data Protection Manager V2

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I have heard about Microsoft Data Protection Manager V2 as a portion of the System Center Data Protection Manager that Microsoft is supposed to be releasing shortly.  I have heard this technology is backup or CDP related.  What exactly is this technology?  What does it mean to me as SQL Server DBA, Network Administrator or Backup Administrator?  What benefits can I expect to yield from this technology?

Microsoft Data Protection Manager V2 (beta 2) offers more granular control over your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) on selected SQL Server databases.  Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) is a server software application that enables disk-based data protection and recovery for file servers in an Active Directory domain.  DPM performs replication, synchronization, and shadow copy creation to provide reliable protection and rapid recovery of data for SQL Server DBAs, system administrators and users.  Microsoft Data Protection Manager V2 is expected to be released in May 2007.

What are the Microsoft DPM v2 System requirements?

  • Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later
  • Windows Storage Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Storage Server 2003 R2

What types of servers can DPM v2 protect?

  • SQL Servers 2000 & 2005
    • Clustered and non-clustered
  • Share Point Servers
  • Exchange Servers
  • File Servers

What are the SQL Servers version requirements?

  • SQL Servers 2000 with SP4
  • SQL Servers 2005 with SP1

What are the Microsoft DPM storage pools that are supported?

  • DAS - Direct Attach Storage
  • SAN - Storage Area Network
  • iSCSI - Windows Certified Internet SCSI

How does Microsoft DPM v2 work and what are some considerations that I should keep in mind?

  • The first step is to install and configure the DPM v2 product in your environment.
  • The DPM product will then scan Active Directory to find the potential servers that it can protect.
    • One important note during the server scan portion of the process is that DPM server and all of the SQL Servers (2000 and 2005) must be members of the same Windows Domain.
  • Next, choose the SQL Servers that you want to protect from the list presented in the DPM "install agents" interface.
  • As far as the protection process is concerned, the Microsoft DPM v2 product uses Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to maintain a centralized version of the database backup from either a SQL Server 2000 or 2005 instance.
    • An important point here is that DPM does not directly issue the database backups.  It is necessary to first issue a local database backup on the SQL Servers.  Then based on the DPM job schedule, it will copy the available *.BAK files and then save the files to the DPM server.
      • The DPM storage pool may be either DAS, SAN, iSCSI.
  • As far as scheduling the DMP process, you can schedule jobs on the DPM server to take an Express Full backup, differential or transaction log backup every 15 minutes and it will copy the available files based on the native backup schedule.
  • Once you have all SQL Servers in your DPM Protected Group, you need to set alerts for those jobs to notify the SQL Server DBAs via email if the DPM process fails.
  • This is very important because the DPM product performs consistency checks to ensure that the backup file on the DPM storage and on the local SQL Server are consistent.  If not, then the copy process will need to be re-executed to ensure the files are consistent.

How much data can Microsoft Data Protection Manager V2 protect?

Microsoft states that the DPM V2 product has been tested successfully in a lab environment with a single DPM server protecting 30 servers with 6 terabytes (TB) of data. However, this is not a hard limit on the volume of storage that the DPM product can support in terms of capacity.  It is reported that some customers are using a single DPM server to protect more than 10TB of data from 50 servers.  The exact number of servers that can be protected by a single instance of DPM will vary with server configuration, network bandwidth and the data profile (distribution and churn).

What are some of the advertised benefits of the Microsoft Data Protection Manager?

  • Continuous Data Protection
  • Lossless Restores for Applications
  • Superior Application Integration for Exchange Server, SQL Server, and SharePoint
  • Rapid Recovery
  • Reliable Recovery
  • Seamless Disk and Tape Integration
  • Unified Protection Policies Across Data Types
  • SLA-driven Backup Process
  • Block Filter

Source - System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 Beta Overview

Next Steps

  • As the DPM beta 2 product is released, check out the new features and download it to set it up in your lab environment to really understand how this technology is setup and configured. 
  • Next, see how this technology can integrate into your environment.  Your people and processes may need to change drastically based on your current processes, which may or may not be a good thing for your company and personal skill set.
  • Based on the existing backup infrastructure investment at your organization, see what benefits this technology has over your current solution.  Then determine the steps that would need to be taken to migrate to this technology.
  • As a DBA, balance the benefits of this technology versus third party solutions that can compress and encrypt your backups to save storage as well as shrink the critical backup and restore windows.  These types of solutions may offer you more flexibility and improve your service to your organization.
    • As an example, see how long it would take to perform a restore process versus your current solution.
    • In addition, determine the amount of storage that is needed to support this solution versus your current solution versus a third party encryption and compression solution.
  • Here are some additional resources to check out:
  • Special thanks to Jay Dave of the MSSQLTips.com community for this tip!

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Jay Dave Jay Dave has over 10 years of experience in the IT industry working as a trainer, software developer, etc.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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