DPM(Data Protection Manager 2010) Gotchas….

In the previous post, we’ve seen what is DPM and what can be achieved via DPM at a very High level. In this Blog Post, let’s see few GOTCHAS(The Oops Moments 😉 , things you should be aware of) to keep in mind implementing DPM.

Let me get this very straight, Absolute 100% protection/Up time  is of course not possible. Yes, this is the same case with any other technology out there in market.  Most of the cases, we the administrators, see Business saying ” we can’t tolerate even a single second  of downtime, we can’t tolerate any data loss. Absolutely we need all the data to be recovered at any given point of time”. Let me say this, in practical world, this is not possible. Step back a little and work with your business to understanding the real business needs. Make them understand how technology works. Define RPO’s and RTO’s, Document SLA’s. Define allowable Maintenance Window, where we can perform any maintenance tasks on our Servers. The bottom line is, we should be able to recover from a disaster with least amount of data loss and least amount of time as much as we can!

Anyways, few things which one should be aware of before implementing DPM:

  • DPM is heavily dependent on your Network Bandwidth as any other Backup tool available out there. Of course It has to copy data over wires across multiple Sites. With Compression enabled, make sure your servers have enough CPU cycles available.
  • Of course, It’s also heavily dependent on your Disks performance.
  • Initial Replica might take considerable amount of time depending on amount of data and Network Speeds.
  • DPM doesn’t support FAT Based Disks. Disks can be either DAS, or SAN Based with NTFS.
  • Disks within DPM Storage Pool should not contain any other Application Data, Volumes etc. All the Partitions/Volumes will be erased while initial Configuration of your Storage Pool.
  • 15 Minutes is the least possible frequency for your Recovery Points.
  • DPM Can’t be Installed on Machines with Fail Over Clustering Services being enabled. You’ve to remove that Role prior to Installation of DPM. Can’t be Installed on a machine with SCOM Agent on it.
  • Be prepared for Multilpe Reboots for successful Installation of DPM.
  • You can either Encrypt your Data or Compress your Data, but not both!
  • If you’ve to use BMR(Bare Metal Recovery), System State Protection must be enabled.
  • You can’t Backup Junction Points, recycle BIN, Paging File,SysVol Information Foder.
  • Protected Systems can’t be moved between Protection Groups on fly. It’s not supported. You’ve to manually remove system from Protection Group and add it to new Protection Group.
  • Don’t use SQL Server Application Protection for backing up your MOSS(Share point) Databases if you are already backing up MOSS Application. DPM will get confused with LSN’s and your Backups will fail.
  • If you are backing up your SQL Databases, make sure that no other tool besides DPM is truncating your T-Logs. DPM Backups will fail in that case.
  • If you plan to Install DPM SQL Databases remotely, make sure that you’ve to acquire License for your SQL Server. If you’ve chosen to Install Locally on the same machine, DPM will cover SQL License for you!
  • DPM Installation will fail, if your SQL Installation fails. Make sure to Install DB Engine, SSRS, SQL Client Connectivity SDK and Management Tools as bare minimum. For remote SQL Deployments, Named Pipes must be enabled.  We’ve to Install SQL Server DPM Support Files prior to DPM Installation( Can be found in SQLPREPINSTALLER folder in your DPM Media)

Hope this is informative! BTW, There’s fabulous documentation from microsoft on troubleshooting any issues related to DPM.

It can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=15954.

Data Protection Manager(DPM) – Protected System Requirements!

Let’s deviate a little bit from SQL Server in this Post and see what is DPM and how one can get benefited by using/implementing DPM in their environments at a very High Level.

Why I’ve started exploring and teaching myself DPM? Well, being a Consultant, I’ve to work with multiple clients and Each client will be using their own set of tools(can be MSFT or even any Third Party Tools). Being said that, more I’ve vision on Microsoft tools and Products, and other 3rd Party tools related to my Skills,  more I can succeed in my career. Single point I love working as a consultant – I’ll get an opportunity to learn and explore various technologies which helps me growing Up and in return I can help another client(may be in next assignment).As I always say, best way to learn something is teach yourself. Create a Lab, simulate a corporate environment and start getting familiar with whatever the tool/product is!

Anyways…So, what is DPM? Well, as the name indicates it is a tool for Protecting our Mission Critical Data. It can be either a File Server, an Exchange Server, a Sharepoint Server or a SQL Server or your Windows Server Itself or even your Client/Desktop Machines! DPM 2010 has some real cool features and I’ve observed recently, many companies started leaning towards implementing DPM rather than depending on some third Party Products as their Backup/Recovery Solution. I don’t mean, 3rd Party tools can be Ignored either…IMHO, I prefer being as a complete Microsoft Shop rather than dealing with multiple vendors in case of any support needed. YMMV! I may be coming up with few other posts showing some DEMO’s, once I Install DPM in my LAB!  Okay…enough blabbering, It’s time to do some justice to the Post Title now 😉

So, what are the minimum requirements for your protected Systems, if you want DPM 2010 to support them?

Supported Win Servers: Windows Server 2003-2008R2. Yes, DPM 2010 won’t support your Windows Servers 2000(Hope you don’t have any in your shop), Small Business Server 2008. For Win Server 2003, HotFix KB940349 is Mandatory. For Win Server 2008R2 you’ve to enable Windows Backup Service manually(Basically adding a new feature from your Server Manager)

Application Servers:

SQL Server 2000 through 2008R2. Note: SQL 2000 should be running on minimum SP4 and SQL 2005 RTM is not supported as well.(VSS – Volume Shadow Service) must be enabled.

Exchange Server 2003 through 2010.

MOSS(Sharepoint Server) 2003 through 2010.

Other General Considerations to be considered:

It won’t support FAT!! Only NTFS Disks are supported. If you are considering using System State Backup/BMR(Bare Metal Recovery), you should have additional 20 GB of free space available.

Note: It’s always better to have latest Service Pack/Hotfix Installed on your Servers for avoiding any potential Issues.

Once you Install DPM on any Server, It will automatically create a SQL Instance for it’s own. You can choose Local Server(on DPM) or a remote Server. I prefer Local Server and Keeping DPM SQL Instance dedicated for those Databases. Don’t create your Application Databases on DPM SQL Server!

One Interesting Point with DPM 2010 is, It will Backup your SQL Server 2008R2 Servers, but actual DPM SQL Instance should be on SQL Server 2008. In other words, the DPM Databases cannot be hosted on SQL Server 2008R2 and Agent Service should be set to Automatic(Clustering your DPM SQL Server is not Supported, but you can backup Clustered SQL Servers)…Hope Am not confusing you 🙂

Epitome – I’m really glad that I got an opportunity to explore this awesome tool in recent days. Thanks to the person(Shh..It’s a secret ;)) who made me to think about this tool! As any other tool, You’ve to remember few GOTCHAS…before rolling out this guy into production. Let’s see those in future posts…

Hope this in informative…Cheers!