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Protecting virtual machines with SMB storage

Updated: November 1, 2013

Applies To: System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager, System Center 2012 SP1 - Data Protection Manager

Windows Server 2012 supports the use of Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 for remote storage that allows Hyper-V to store configuration files, virtual hard disks as VHD and VHDX files, and snapshots on remote SMB file shares. SMB support provides the following benefits for System Center 2012 System Center 2012 – Data Protection Manager (DPM) backup:

  • More efficient express full backups

  • Continued protection after live migration of virtual machines and SMB storage

  • Backup support for a single SMB file server or for a cluster of file servers

Configure DPM backup for virtual machines using SMB storage

Note the following before you start:

  • Turn on auto-mount on the server that is running Hyper-V to enable virtual machine protection.

  • Disable TCP Chimney Offload.

  • Ensure that all Hyper-V machine$ accounts have full permissions on the specific remote SMB file shares.

  • Ensure that the file path for all virtual machine components during recovery to alternate location is less than 260 characters. If not, recovery might succeed, but Hyper-V cannot mount the virtual machine.

  • The following scenarios are not supported:

    • Deployments where some components of the virtual machine are on local volumes and some components are on remote volumes.

    • An IPv4 or IPv6 address for storage location file server.

    • Recovery of a virtual machine to a computer that uses remote SMB shares.

Then complete the following steps:

Step 1: Deploy DPM protection agents

The DPM protection agent is software that you install on a computer that you want to protect with DPM. For servers and clusters that use SMB 3.0 storage, you must deploy the DPM protection agent as follows. For more information, see Installing and Configuring Protection Agents.

  • On the server that is running Hyper-V in a cluster, deploy the DPM protection agent on each node.

  • On the remote SMB file server, if SMB is deployed in a cluster, install the DPM protection agent on all SMB file server cluster nodes.

DPM protection agents can be installed as follows:

  • Using the DPM console—The DPM console automatically detects a list of available computers in the same domain as the DPM server, so that you can select the computer on which you want to install the DPM protection agent. The use of this method enables you to install DPM protection agents on these computers synchronously. This method can be used for computers that belong to the DPM server domain and do not have a firewall that blocks the installation of the DPM protection agent. For more information, see Installing Protection Agents on Computers Outside of a Firewall. Note that you must have domain credentials that have local administrative rights for all computers on which you want to deploy the DPM protection agent.

  • Manual installation—This method can be used to install the DPM protection agent on computers that are not domain members or that do not belong to the same domain as the DPM server. It can also be used if a firewall blocks automatic deployment of the DPM protection agent from the DPM console. For more information, see Installing Protection Agents Manually.

Step 2: Add a custom cluster resource type

If you are using non-Microsoft SMB storage, DPM does not discover the cluster automatically. You must add a setting to enable the DPM server to recognize the cluster as follows:

  1. To open the Registry Editor, at the command prompt, type regedit.

  2. Navigate to Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\Agent\Cluster.

  3. Set value PhysicalDiskResourceType to the type of non-Microsoft cluster disk service. The value type is REG_SZ.

Step 3: Enable the File Server VSS Agent service

Enable the service on each SMB server as follows:

  1. In the Server Manager Dashboard, click Add roles and features.

  2. On the Before you begin page, click Next.

  3. On the Select installation type page, select Role-based or feature-based installation.

  4. On the Select destination server page, select the SMB server on which you want to add the service.

  5. On the Select server roles page, expand File and Storage Services, File Services. Select File Service, and then select File Server VSS Agent Service.

  6. On the Select features page, click Next.

  7. In Confirm installation selection, verify the service is listed, and then click Install.

Step 4: Create protection groups

After the DPM protection agent is deployed, you protect virtual machines by creating protection groups and add servers that are running Hyper-V to those groups. This process enables the backup and restore operation of the servers that are running Hyper-V, and the virtual machines that are running on them. The configuration settings for a protection group specify backup and recovery settings for all servers that are running Hyper-V in the group. They include:

  • The choice to perform backups by using tape or disk

  • The duration to retain backups on disk

  • The recovery point settings to use

  • The storage pool settings to assign to the protection group

  • The choice to collocate data in the storage pool

  • The choice to automatically increase the size of the volumes

  • The choice to perform initial replication of virtual machines that are located on servers that are running Hyper-V in the group over the network or manually offline

  • The choice of how consistency checks should be performed

Depending on the number of virtual machines that you want to protect and depending on the backup policies for the different virtual machines, you should create virtual machines by using the New Protection Wizard from the DPM user interface (UI) and keep the virtual machines that have the same backup policy in the same group. You should create smaller groups of 50-100 virtual machines per protection group, but this is not a restriction. Use collocation while you create the protection groups to optimize the replica volume and avoid reaching the maximum number of volumes that are supported in a Windows Server.

For more information, see Creating Protection Groups.

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for System Center 2012.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012. For instructions and examples, see Search the System Center 2012 Documentation Library.
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