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Plan for data storage

Updated: November 1, 2013

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

Options for storing backups for workloads protected by Data Protection Manager (DPM) include the following:

  • Tape—All data and workloads protected by DPM can be backed up to tape for long term storage.

  • Disk—All data and workloads protected by DPM can be backed up to disk for short-term storage.

  • Windows Azure cloud using Windows Azure Backup—Files, SQL Server and Hyper-V workloads can be backed up to Windows Azure.

Use the following table to help you understand the types of protection, and data protected, by each type of DPM backup.


Details Disk-to-disk (D2D) Disk-to-tape (D2T) Disk-to-cloud

Short-term protection




Long-term protection




Offsite protection




Application protection support

Files, SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, Hyper-V, System State, Clients

Files, SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, Hyper-V, System State, Clients

Files, SQL Server, Hyper-V

Plan a storage solution

The following table compares the backup options to help you decide which storage solution to use:


Backup option Details Characteristics

Disk-to-tape backup (D2T)

Backup data from protected computers or workloads directly to tape

  • Used for long term storage.

  • Can be stored offsite which mitigates data loss in case of disaster. This solution is useful for specific types of data:

  • Backing up data directly to tape for long-term storage might be useful for the following types of data:

    • Data which must be kept in order to fulfil statutory obligations.

    • Critical data with no loss-tolerance. Backing up data directly to tape and moving those tapes off-premise ensures that the data is safe if disaster occurs on-site.

    • Data with a high recovery point objective (RPO). Data with a high RPO doesn’t need to be accessed and recovered within a short critical period in case of data failure.

    • Data that doesn’t change often and thus doesn’t require frequent backup.

  • Easy to increase storage capacity by adding more tapes.

  • Data recovery might be slow and cumbersome.

  • Tape backup might require manual interventions such as manual tape rotations.

  • Tape backup will require a compatible tape library. See Compatible Tape Libraries for System Center 2012 DPM.

  • Tape library or standalone tape drive must be physically attached to the DPM server. The tape library can be direct SCSI attached or SAN.

Disk-to-disk (D2D)

Backup data from protected computers or workloads to disk

  • Used for short-term storage. Backing up to disk alone does not provide a simple solution for long-term or offsite storage.

  • Quick method of data backup

  • Ability to have redundancy to handle failure using technologies such as RAID.

  • Less manual intervention, such as changing tapes. 

  • Backing up data to disk only is useful for the following types of informaiton:

    • Non-critical transitory data with medium-high loss tolerance.

    • Non-critical data that has a low RPO and thus needs to be recovered quickly.

  • Maximum retention for disk is 448 days.

Disk-to-disk-to-tape backup (D2D2T)

Disk-to-disk-to-tape backup (D2D2T)

  • Provides more flexibility than D2T backup because in the short-term you’ll back up your data to disk and in the longer-term to tape.

  • Useful for critical and important data with some loss-tolerance. Using this method there is a time period in which data is stored on disk and probably onsite. If disaster occurs before your data is moved to tapes offsite then data loss can occur.

  • Useful for data that has a short RPO in the short-term and a longer RPO as time goes on. For example, you might be working on a particular project and file data for that project is critical with a short RPO for the next three months. However after that period the RPO for that data gets longer.

Disk-to-tape backup (D2T) + Disk-to-disk backup (D2D) + Windows Azure Backup

Backup long-term data to tape and short-term data to disk and Windows Azure

  • This option provides a short-term storage solution both on and off-site, in addition to your long-term D2T storage.

  • It avoids the scenario where data on disk might be lost before being written to tape by storing it in the cloud.

  • Windows Azure Backup can only be used as storage for Hyper-V, SQL Server, and file server data protected by DPM.

  • Windows Azure Backup can only be used to backup data on servers installed with Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1, and running DPM in System Center 2012 SP1 or System Center 2012 R2.

  • As a short-term solution, Windows Azure Backup has a maximum retention period of 120 days with one synchronization per day. You can perform up to two synchronizations, but two synchronizations will reduce retention time to 60 days.

  • Windows Azure Backup can only be used as a short-term backup solution in conjunction with disk storage. You can’t configure DPM to back up to Windows Azure only.

See Also

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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