Looking to learn how to set up Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager? You’ve come to the right place. But before we show you how to set up DPM, we’d like to briefly go over the underlying concepts and terms associated with DPM to make sure we’re starting off on the same foot.
DPM Replicas and Synchronization and How They Provide Continuous Data Protection
There are a number of backup solutions that can handle your Microsoft Exchange data. But if you need a product that’s specifically designed for Exchange 2010 – especially if you’re running a DAG (Database Availability Group) – then Data Protection Manager (DPM) is one of the highly recommended options. DPM can already provide continuous data protection for Exchange, which is much better than what traditional backup tools can offer.
Traditional backup tools can restore data only up to the point when the last backup was made. With DPM, a protection group member (more about protection groups below) can be fully recovered from just about any recovery point, which is characteristic of continuous data protection. Much of this capability relies on DPM’s block level replication and synchronization feature.
(Instructional video below provides a walkthrough of the steps contained in this article.)
DPM block level replication and synchronization starts with the creation of an initial replica similar to what you have after a full backup. Then each time a block undergoes a change, that block is synchronized with the replica. Essentially, DPM can achieve the same outcome as a traditional full backup each time a synchronization is made but with the advantage of having much shorter backup windows.
Replicas can be created either manually or automatically. Manual creation is ideal if you have a slow network or if you have to create a replica of a large amount of data. Automatic creation, on the other hand, is best for fast networks or small amounts of data.
Data Protection Manager Can Provide Protection Beyond Exchange
DPM is not only built for MS Exchange. Actually, the System Center Data Protection Manager can support the following:
● Windows Server 2003 through 2008 R2
● Essential Business Server 2008
● Small Business Server 2008
● SQL Server 2000 through 2008 R2
● Exchange Server 2003 through 2010
● SharePoint Server 2003 through 2010
● Dynamics AX 2009
● SAP Running on SQL Server
A DPM Agent is a program that you need to deploy on each computer you want to protect. This includes both servers and workstations. It enables your DPM Server to browse the contents of those computers.
So if you have a DAG and you want to backup its member servers using DPM, then you need to deploy a DPM Agent on each DAG member. Deployment can be done either manually or through the admin console.
Your backup and recovery characteristics are usually influenced by factors such as your organization’s business requirements, network performance, and the kind of data you’re handling. If you have data sources having similar backup and recovery characteristics, you can put them together into what are known as Protection Groups.
All members of each Protection Group will share a common set of protection configurations. For instance, they will have the same back up targets (e.g. disk or tape), schedules, recovery point (a.k.a. snapshot) intervals, and so on. Typical members of a group include Exchange Server databases or mailboxes. You can put different servers having different databases into one group.
DPM Storage Pools
A DPM storage pool refers to the set of disks where information backed up from other computers is stored. Always remember never leave important data on disks you intend to use later on as storage pools. It wouldn’t matter how large the free space on those disks are. Once DPM starts writing on those storage pool disks, those previously stored data will be wiped out.
What kind of disks are supported?
DPM can support Direct Storage (SAS or SATA) or Networked block level storage (Fibre Channel or iSCSI). However, it cannot support FireWire disks. Also, although DPM can be installed on a virtual server, you cannot use VHD files (virtual hard disk files) in your storage pools. If you have to install it on a virtual server, then we suggest you go for a iSCSI disk.
Before you can install Data Protection Manager, you need to have the following in place:
Minimum requirements for the DPM Server
● Processor: 2.33 GHz quad core CPU
● RAM: 8 GB
● Pagefile size: 1.5x system RAM
● Available disk space for the installation: 3 GB
● .NET Framework 3.5 with SP1
● Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable
● PowerShell 2.0
● Windows Installer 4.5 or later
● Single Instance Store (SIS)
● Application Error Reporting
SQL Server Requirements and Pre-DPM Installation Configurations
In addition to those hardware and software requirements mentioned, you will also need either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of SQL Server. In particular, you need SQL Server 2008 SP1 or higher. As of the moment, there is no support yet for 2008 R2.
To achieve optimal performance and security, do not install SQL Server on a Domain Controller.
SQL Server can be installed either locally or remotely. A local installation means SQL Server will be placed in the same server as Data Protection Manager. Most admins prefer it this way because if you separate the two, you’ll end up with two single points of failure. Thus, if the SQL Server goes down, the entire system will suffer even if your DPM is still up and running.
Another advantage of installing SQL Server locally is that you don’t have to perform the actual SQL Server installation yourself. In the course of the DPM installation, SQL Server will be installed automatically. You’ll see this later on in this article when we walk you through the actual installation process.
During the installation of SQL Server, make sure the following components are included:
● Database Engine
● Reporting Services
● Management Tools
● SQL Client Connectivity SDK
Basically, when you’re in the process of selecting features for a SQL Server installation, select the checkboxes corresponding to each of the features mentioned earlier.
After installing SQL Server, you still have to configure some of its settings before proceeding to the actual DPM installation.
To begin, go to Start > All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2008 > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Configuration Manager.
Once inside the SQL Server Configuration Manager, expand the SQL Server Network Configuration node and select the Protocols for MSSQLServer. Make sure that Named Pipes is Enabled.
Next, you have to install the DPM support files on SQL Server. Navigate to the location of your DPM installation files. For example, if you have an installation disk on drive D:, go to Start > Computer > D:, then explore the disk (right-click the disk then select Open).
Note: Don’t run the installation yet. If the installer’s splash screen appears, just click Exit.
Find the SQLPrepInstaller folder. Inside that folder, you’ll find the SQLPrepInstaller files, SQLPrepInstaller_x64 and SQLPrepInstaller_x86. Execute the SQLPrepInstaller file that that corresponds to the flavor of SQL Server you installed earlier.
Finally, navigate to the Services window (Start > Administrative Tools > Services) and open the SQL Server Agent service. You may have to scroll down to find it.
Make sure the Startup type is set to Automatic.
After all that, restart the SQL Server service. We also recommend that you reboot your computer before starting the DPM installation.
Installing Data Protection Manager
Navigate again to the DPM installation disk. This time, when the splash screen appears, click Install Data Protection Manager.
Go through the License Terms and Conditions in the succeeding screen and click the checkbox to affirm. After you click the OK button, a small window with a progress bar appears. The Setup program will then perform some preliminary tasks in preparation for the DPM installation. Once that’s done, you’ll come face to face with the welcome screen of the Data Protection Manager Setup Wizard. Just click Next.
The wizard will then check if you’ve met all the prerequisites. If all goes well, click the Next button.
In the Product Registration window, enter a User name and the name of your Company, then click Next.
Next up is the Installation Settings window.
The DPM Program Files section is where you can specify where you want to place the DPM program files. Leave it unchanged if you want to accept the default location.
In the SQL server settings section, you’ll be asked to choose between these two options:
● Use the dedicated MSDPM2010 instance of SQL Server, or
● Use an existing instance of SQL Server 2008
In our case, we are choosing the first option because, if you recall, we’re going for a local installation of SQL Server on the same server as the DPM server. So in effect, this will automatically install SQL Server as well. On the other hand, if you’re opting for a remote installation of SQL Server, then you should select the second option and enter the necessary information for that remote server.
The third section contains the space requirements for the installation as well as the space you have available. Naturally, you’ll want the values on the right column to be greater than the values on the left.
Click Next when you’re ready to proceed.
In the Security Settings window, you’ll be asked to enter a password for a couple of restricted local user accounts. Just enter a strong password twice (the second, to confirm) and click Next.
You’ll then be asked whether you want to use Microsoft Update. Select you’re preferred option and click Next when you’re done choosing.
After that, you’ll also be asked whether you want to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program. Again, select whichever option you prefer and click Next.
For the final step, the wizard will show you a summary of the configurations you set earlier. Click Install if everything looks fine.
Installation may take some time, so you might want grab a cup of coffee and let the DPM Setup Wizard take it from here.
Once the wizard reports that the Data Protection Manager installation completed successfully, you can then breathe a sigh of relief and click the Close button.
After closing all open windows, you’ll find a couple of icons on the desktop. Open the one named Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2010. You’ll then see the user interface of the DPM 2010 Administrator Console as shown below.
Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager (DPM) is an excellent tool that will efficiently and reliably backup several servers in addition to Exchange, which it was primarily designed for.
Additionally, DPM will provide continuous data protection which is better than what can be provided by most traditional backup systems. Hopefully this article has been helpful in teaching you how to set up DPM to be used to its fullest potential.
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