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Data storage overview

Updated: August 13, 2014

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

System Center 2012 – Data Protection Manager (DPM) can back up protected workload data to disk, tape, or to Microsoft Azure.


Storage type Backup scenarios Characteristics


Disk-to-disk-to-tape backup (D2D2T)—Normally you back up data for short-term storage to disk and then from this disk to long-term storage on tape

Disk-to-tape (D2T)—You can backup data for short-term storage to tape for some workloads

  • Tape provides a long-term offsite storage option for all data protected by DPM.

  • Tape can be used as a short-term storage option for some workloads—file data (volumes, shares, folders), system state, SQL Server, Hyper-V, and Exchange databases not configured on a DAG.

  • DPM doesn’t support incremental backup to tape for workload data (Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint, Hyper-V). Only file data (volumes, shares, folders) can be backed up incrementally. If you choose to do short-term backup for these workloads to tape, only full backups will be run.

  • Backup to tape has a number of characteristics:

    • It’s useful for data which must be kept in order to fulfil statutory obligations.

    • Data recovery might be slow. It’s useful for 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.

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

    • Short-term backup to tape might be useful for data that doesn’t change often and thus doesn’t require frequent backup.

  • Long-term storage capacity can be increased by adding more tapes

  • Tape backup requires a compatible tape library. Compatible Tape Libraries for System Center 2012 DPM.

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

  • To prepare for long-term storage see Plan for tape-based backups.


Disk-to-Disk-to-tape (D2D2T)—Backup data from protected computers or workloads to disk for short-term storage and then to tape for long-term storage.

Disk-to-Disk-to-tape (D2D2T) + Azure—Backup data from protected computers or workloads to disk and Azure for short-term storage and then to tape for long-term storage.

  • Disks provide short-term storage for all DPM-protected data.

  • Disk storage doesn’t provide a solution for long-term or offsite storage.

  • Disks provide a quick method of data backup and recovery. It’s useful for data that has a low RPO and thus needs to be recovered quickly.

  • Disks can provide redundancy using disk technologies such as RAID.

  • Disk backup requires less manual intervention than tape.

  • Maximum disk retention is 448 days.

  • Disk backup has no impact on running workloads.

  • To prepare for short-term storage see Plan for disk-based backups.

Windows Azure Backup

D2D2T + Azure—You can use Azure for short-term backup, together with disk

  • Azure can be used for short-term storage only in conjunction with disk storage. It provides an opportunity to hold short-term backups offsite.

  • Azure provides an offsite solution for short-term storage.

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

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

  • Maximum storage retention period for DPM data in Azure is 120 days (with one synchronization per day). You can do up to two synchronizations (reduces retention time to 60 days).

  • To prepare for Azure Site Recovery see Configure Azure storage.

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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