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Install DPM as an Azure virtual machine


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

You can install DPM 2012 R2 as a virtual machine running on an on-premises Hyper-V server. DPM on virtual machines. You run DPM setup as described in Install System Center 2012 R2 - DPM, but note the following:

  • DPM is supported on any Azure IaaS virtual machine of size A2 or higher.

  • DPM can protect the following workloads running as Azure virtual machines:

    Protected data source

    DPM 2012 R2

    DPM 2012 with SP1

    DPM 2012

    Protection and recovery

    Windows Server 2012 R2 – Datacenter/Standard




    Volumes, files, folders

    Windows Server 2012 – Datacenter/Standard




    Volumes, files, folders

    Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 – Enterprise/Standard




    Volumes, files, folders

    SQL Server 2012 with SP1, SQL Server 2012, 2008 R2, 2008





    SQL Server 2014 and SQL Server 2012 with SP2 is supported from DPM 2012 R2 with Update rollup 4 onwards.





    SharePoint 2013, 2010




    Farm, database, frontend web server

  • DPM can protect workloads that run across multiple Azure cloud services that have the same Azure virtual network and Azure subscription.

  • DPM running as an Azure virtual machine can’t protect on-premises data.

  • The number of disks that can be used for the target storage (DPM storage pool) is limited by the size of the virtual machine (maximum of 16). For more information about size limits, see Azure Virtual Machines.

  • You store data on Azure disks attached to the DPM virtual machine. Once attached to the virtual machine, the disks and the storage space are managed from within DPM. The amount of data you can back up depends on the number and size of disks attached to the DPM virtual machine. There is a maximum number of disks that can be attached to each Azure virtual machine (4 disks for A2 size, 8 disks for A3 size, and 16 disks for A4 size), and maximum size of each disk (1 TB). This determines the total backup storage pool available.

  • We recommend you retain data for one day on DPM-attached Azure disk, and store data older than one day in the Azure Backup service. This provides data store for a longer retention range, and allows you to protect a larger amount of data by offloading it to Azure Backup.

  • Azure Backup now provides a longer retention range for DPM data:

    • When you configure online backup settings for a protection group in DPM you can now specify up to a maximum retention range of 3360 days.

    • Note that in Azure Backup each backup is stored as a recovery point. The maximum limit of 120 recovery points is still in place, giving a maximum retention range of 120 days for a daily synchronization. However you can store data up to the 3360 days with a less granular backup policy, as summarized in this table.

      Synchronize every x weeks

      Maximum retention algorithm

      Maximum retention (days)


      120 x7 x1



      120 x 7 x2



      120 x 7 x 3



      120 x 7 x 4


    • You can also customize the backup range. For example you might want to backup monthly and retain the data for 5 years. The table shows some examples.

      Retention (years)

      Retention (days)

      Leap year correction

      Total retention (days)


      365 x 1




      365 x 5




      365 x 9



      After you’d figured out the retention range you put the value in Retention range in days in the Specify Online Protection Goals dialog.

    • You can backup your DPM server running as an Azure virtual machine with a secondary DPM virtual machine. They should be located in the same Azure virtual network, usually within the same geographical location. Note that if disaster occurs Azure Backup uses geographically-redundant storage (GRS) storage in the backend and asynchronously replicates data to a secondary region far from the primary. For pricing information see Pricing – Storage.

  • When you deploy DPM as an Azure virtual machine and you want to use a remote SQL Server for the DPM database, you can select an Azure virtual machine running SQL Server. You can’t use a remote on-premises SQL Server, and Azure SQL Databaseisn’t currently supported.

  • For more information see FAQ - Azure IaaS workload protection using Data Protection Manager.

  • You can select a size for the DPM virtual machine using the DPM Azure virtual machine size calculator. Worksheet.

  • When you set up the virtual machine create an instance in the Standard compute tier because the maximum IOPS per attached disk is higher in the Standard tier than in the Basic tier.

  • Use a separate storage account for the DPM virtual machine, because there are size and IOPS limits on a storage account that might impact the performance of the DPM virtual machine if shared with other running virtual machines.

  • The Azure Backup agent running on the DPM server needs temporary storage for its own use (a cache location), and for data restored from the cloud (local staging area). Note that each Azure virtual machine comes with some temporary disk storage. This is available to the user as the volume D:\. The local staging area needed by Azure Backup can be configured to reside in D:\, and the cache location can be placed on C:\. In this way, no space needs to be carved out from the data disks attached to the DPM virtual machine.

  • The DPM virtual machine and the protected workloads should be part of the same Azure virtual network.

  • The table summarizes the maximum number of protected workloads for each DPM virtual machine size. The information is based on internal performance and scale tests with canonical values for the workload size and churn. The actual workload size can be larger but should be accommodated by the disks attached to the DPM virtual machine.

    Virtual machine size

    Maximum number protected workloads

    Average workload size

    Average workload churn (daily)

    Sample workload



    100 GB

    Net 5% churn

    SQL Server, file server



    150 GB

    Net 10% churn



    200 GB

    Net 15% churn

  • If you want to scale your deployment you have the following options:

    • Option 1, Scale up: Increase the size of the DPM virtual machine from A2 to A3 to A4 and add more local storage.

    • Option 2, Offload data: Send older data to Azure Backup, and retain only the newest data on the storage attached to the DPM server.

    • Option 3, Scale out: Add more DPM servers to protect the workloads.

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