System Centre Data Protection Manager 2007 (DPM) is Microsoft’s enterprise backup solution. Here is a short overview of the key features and a couple of gotcha’s.
DPM supports backup of Microsoft Operating Systems including Windows 2003 or greater and Windows XP. It supports backups for a wide range of Microsoft applications including Sharepoint, Exchange and SQL.
Disk to Disk to Tape
DPM is a disk to disk to tape backup solution. The DPM server can take snap shots of protected servers throughout the day and store those snap shots on DAS or SAN storage (note that it does not support USB drives). Snapshots can then be backed up to tape. This is an effective way of removing backup window issues and is probably the biggest selling point of this type of solution. It also allows recovery up to the last snapshot, reducing the size of any data lost should a major failure occur during the day.
The recommended amount of disk space for snapshots is 1.5 times the size of the data being protected. This should be taken into account when selecting hardware to run on.
Take a careful look at the supported tape drive list on the DPM 2007 homepage too.
Service Packs and Hotfixes.
Service Pack 1 for DPM 2007 is a major improvement and must be installed if you want to get a good result from this product. A post service pack 1 roll up package is also available and fixes many issues too.
Agents need to be redeployed following the updates, so it is best to install and patch DPM before deploying agents. Servers with agents need to be rebooted before the agent will communicate.
If you choose to backup the System State of a server, DPM uses Windows Backup to dump the system state to the local C: drive of the protected server. The catch here is that you can run out of C: drive space and that is not good. This can be changed by editing an XML file on the protected server.
Tape backups run 7 days a week, can only be scheduled on the hour and you can’t eject the tape from DPM. These 3 issues are in my opinion limit the ability for DPM to be used as a purely tape backup solution. Having a run now option would useful be useful.
DPM 2007 can’t backup the server it is installed on. This should be taken into account when choosing a server to deploy DPM on.
Finally remember that DPM is a Microsoft backup solution and doesn’t include agents for non-Microsoft Operating Systems or products. If you want to backup Oracle, Notes or Linux you will need a second backup solution.
DPM 2007 homepage