Features of Data Protection Manager

Published : April 8, 2005 | Updated : August 17, 2005

DPM enables an organization to create a two-tiered backup solution that combines the convenience and reliability of disk for short-term backup — where most recovery requests are concentrated — with the security of tape or other removable medium for long-term archiving. This two-tiered system helps to alleviate the problems associated with tape backup solutions, while still allowing for the maintenance of long-term off-site archives. Figure 1.1 shows a sample implementation of this two-tiered approach to backup.

Figure 1.1   The DPM server provides disk-based backup for rapid and reliable short-term data recovery

Protection and Recovery

By using DPM to provide disk-based short-term backups, you can improve the reliability and efficiency of your overall backup solution in the following ways:

  • Provide nearly continuous protection.  With legacy tape backup tools, backing up file servers to tape more than once each day generally is not feasible. For this reason, organizations traditionally have scheduled full backups once each week, with incremental backups performed daily. This schedule risks the permanent loss of any work that is performed between the nightly backups. DPM can back up data to the central DPM server every hour during the day. This can reduce potential data loss from one day to one hour. DPM also protects files that are open during the backup process, ensuring a complete, reliable backup of all protected data.

  • Improve the reliability of recoveries.  The reliability of data recovery with disk-based protection is significantly better than that of tape-based systems. With DPM, an administrator can quickly and easily confirm the success of a backup by simply browsing for the data on disk.

  • Simplify recovery operations.  Because DPM provides disk-based protection, recovering data is a simple matter of browsing through previous versions of shares or folders on the DPM server and copying selected versions directly to the protected file server.

  • Reduce the time required for recoveries.  A typical file recovery from tape takes hours and can be costly, and administrators in a medium-size data center can usually expect to perform 10 to 20 or more of these recoveries each month. DPM can perform this type of recovery in minutes, saving time for administrators and for information workers, who spend less time waiting for their files to be recovered.

  • Enable users to recover their own files.  Recovery and backup processes typically involve multiple administrators, which adds to the time spent in data management and to the total cost of ownership. DPM enables users to independently retrieve previous versions of their files using the familiar Windows® Explorer interface or any of the Microsoft® Office 2003 applications. This capability increases productivity and significantly lowers administrative costs.

Centralized Management

By using one or more DPM servers for short-term backup, you can centralize the management of data protection and recovery in the following ways:

  • Remove tapes from branch offices, and centralize backups at the data center.  The most common method for protecting the data on file servers in remote physical locations is for the branch office staff to back up data to removable media such as tape, and then transport the media to an offsite storage facility. DPM makes it feasible to back up the data from remote file servers to disk in the central data center, where the data can then be more efficiently and reliably backed up to tape by central IT staff. Because the DPM server in the data center provides short-term, disk-based recovery, branch offices gain rapid, reliable short-term recovery at a lower cost.

  • Centrally manage shadow copies and end-user recoveries.  By storing the shadow copies used for end-user recovery on the DPM server rather than on individual file servers, you can centralize the management of end-user recovery for multiple file servers.

  • Centrally monitor your DPM servers and protected file servers in MOM.  As part of your data management strategy, you can use the Microsoft® System Center Data Protection Manager 2006 Management Pack for Microsoft® Operations Manager 2005 (MOM) to centrally monitor data protection, state, health, and performance of multiple DPM servers, and the file servers that they protect, in MOM. From the MOM Operator console, an administrator can monitor DPM and network infrastructure simultaneously, analyzing issues with data protection in the context of other factors in system and network performance. The administrator also can monitor other mission-critical applications, such as Microsoft® SQL Server™. For information about downloading the DPM Management Pack, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=47215.

Flexible Backup Schedules

By integrating a DPM server with your existing backup/archive/restore solutions, you can gain flexibility in scheduling full tape backups and eliminate the need for incremental tape backups.

  • Eliminate the “backup window” for protected file servers.  Massive growth in storage capabilities has led to dramatic increases in the volume of data being stored and thus has increased the time required to back up the data on file servers. At the same time, organizations increasingly need to support operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, there is no good time to perform a backup. This trend is known as the “shrinking backup window.” By using DPM as your first-tier backup solution, you can back up your file servers from the DPM server without affecting performance on the file servers. This essentially eliminates the “backup window,” enabling you to schedule backups to tape at any time.

  • Replace incremental backups to tape with shadow copies on disk.  If your current backup procedure involves incremental backups to tapes that you do not either take offsite or store in a disaster-proof vault, you can use DPM to switch from incremental backups to tape to more reliable and cost-effective shadow copies on disk.

Ease of Use

To make the administrator’s job easier, DPM provides the following features:

  • Manage all data protection activities in a central location.  To simplify the management of data protection activities, DPM builds on Microsoft Management Console (MMC) functionality to provide a familiar, intuitive environment for performing configuration, management, and monitoring tasks. DPM Administrator Console organizes tasks into five easily accessible task areas: monitoring, protection, recovery, reporting, and management. Wizards guide the administrator through basic configuration tasks such as adding disks, installing agents, and creating protection groups. Search and browse features are provided in the recovery task area to assist in finding and recovering previous versions of files. All routine tasks such as synchronization and shadow copy creation can be scheduled and also performed manually. For more information about DPM Administrator Console, see the “Using the DPM Administrator Console” appendix in this guide.

  • View comprehensive information about alerts and job status.  DPM Administrator Console provides both an alerts view and a jobs view for monitoring data protection activity. The alerts view aggregates informational alerts and error conditions to provide a summary view of activity for the entire system. The jobs view provides the status and operational details for each scheduled, completed, running, canceled, or failed job.

  • Receive notifications and reports by e-mail. DPM notifications provide a convenient way to stay informed when critical, warning, and/or informational alerts are generated. You choose the severity of alert that you want to be notified about; for example, you can choose to only receive critical alerts. You can also choose to receive notifications of the status of recovery jobs, and have scheduled DPM reports delivered as e-mail attachments so that you can monitor data protection trends and analyze data protection statistics at your convenience.

  • Monitor and fine-tune protection by using DPM reporting.  DPM provides a comprehensive set of reports that an administrator can use to track the success of recovery, synchronization, and shadow copy jobs; analyze network traffic; review disk utilization; and monitor trends in data protection activity. Summary reports aggregate information for all protected file servers and protection groups. Detailed reports provide information about individual file servers or protection groups. An administrator can use these reports to fine-tune protection after the initial DPM deployment.