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DPM 2010 Long Term Goals/Tape Protection Overview RRS feed

  • Question

  • DPM 2010 Long Term Goals/Tape Protection Overview

    We are migrating from Ultrabac v9 to DPM 2010.

    Current Backup Scenario
    Currently we backup three types of data (disregarding disk imaging/BMR) to disk: SQL, Exchange & File Shares. We do Incremental/Differential nightly backups and append them to the Full weekly backup (run the previous Friday evening). On a Thursday evening (our 'end of week' for backups, when the last Incremental of the week runs to be ready for sending offsite on Friday morning), we copy the disk based backups for that week onto tape. We are able to copy all backup types onto one set of tapes. These backups are then referred to as our Disk & Taped based backups 'Week A' (for example).
    We keep the disk/tape based backups for a rotating eight week period. Disk based storage 'devices' are labelled as 'Week A' thru 'Week H' & the corresponding Tapes are 'pooled' and physically labelled as 'Week A' thru 'Week H'.
    We have prospectively calendar'd each week so that we always know what bunch of tapes are due in/out. We have agreed this same, simple schedule with our Offsite Data Management company. We both know that on Friday 29th July the tapes for Week G will be ready for collection to go offsite and when they come to collect they should bring back onsite the tapes for Week H.

    Tape Consumption
    Once a quarter we permanently archive a second copy of the tapes offsite. So we expend 16 tapes a year doing this. Otherwise we rotate 32 tapes (4 tapes x 8 weeks) - replacing them only as required.

    Limitations
    We don't have enough full-time personnel and so my job is to minimise the day-to-day administration and costs. Tape costs are low and (being under-staffed) we know that all we have to do each Friday morning is collect the Week X tapes from the library to go offsite and load in the Week Y tapes to the library, ready for the following week.

    Considerations
    As an historical institution, we need to keep a copy of data for posterity. We want near-zero complication to ensure that correct backups go offsite, without any significant thought on the part of the person (re)moving the tapes. Finally, we want to be able to recover data that might have been created 6 weeks ago, deleted three weeks ago and only noticed as missing today.
    The existing backup scenario was trying to facilitate these considerations. I need (or rather 'want') to safely keep backups of data for eight weeks; I need to permanently archive a copy of data once a quarter; I need to know which tapes are meant to be coming in/going out (without having to refer to a weekly report).

    DPM 2010
    ...and then I got a look at DPM 2010. I have a nervous feeling that this is not the way DPM is intended to work at all.
    Overall, DPM 2010 makes sense and the disk based backup routine is excellent. It is a requirement for supporting our new HyperV Cluster implementation, for which it works a treat and we will soon be using a replica of DPM 2010 at a second site for Disaster Recovery.

    Issue
    ...but I have hit a big snag in trying to fulfill our own requirements. I wanted to try and recreate the same or similar Tape scenario in DPM that we were using in our previous software such that we could hit the same goals of minimal administration, quarterly archiving, minimal costs and the ability to recover data for a number of weeks (eight if possible).

    So far:
    I have been unable to specify the digital labelling of tapes as Week A or whatever
    I cannot find any option to pool tapes
    I cannot copy multiple backup types to one tape (so 125GB of SQL data cannot be combined with the 95GB of Exchange data on a 400/800GB Tape unless I enable co-location... but co-location won't permit you to specify what goes onto which tape or even set of tapes)
    I am unsure how I might make a second tape-based replica of data for permanent archiving at offsite storage

    My impression is that DPM 2010 gives you an up-to-date set of snapshots of data for (in this case) 60 days on disk. It then replicates the 'current' version onto tape. It decides for itself which tapes it will use and just grabs the next available 'blank' tape. A tape, when full (in co-location mode) or completed (when one backup has been loaded onto it), is then flagged for offsite collection. I must run a report to determine what tapes are ready to go offsite and - each week - notify the Data Management company of the individual tapes that I need returned, having run another report determining the expired data offsite that I would like to retrieve for recycling/overwriting.

    Question
    I am worried that I cannot do my tape based tasks with DPM. What I have had no luck in finding out for myself (and I hope someone here can tell me) is: what is the overall Microsoft intention of how you should be backing up? In other words, do Microsoft disagree with the method I am using (a simple eight weekly rotation) and have a better way of doing it? I don't mind how it's done so long as I can hit my goals as outlined above. Any references to the 'philiosophy' of Long Term backup in DPM 2010 would be appreciated - the TechNet information I have found so far is very limited.
    Saturday, July 16, 2011 11:00 AM

Answers

  • Thanks for that... from what I've read over the last few days, this seems true. As you say, unless co-location is enabled, each PG requires it's own tape (set).

    So far I have found out the following...

    There is no way to specify which tape is selected for backup - DPM just uses next available tape (from the highest number slot as you mentioned).

    DPM will also

    • decide for itself (select) the tapes that will be used in the backup
    • therefore, there are no tape pools in DPM - not part of the Microsoft backup design/plan.
    • create the weekly and archival backups based on the Long Term Goals that are set in the Protection Group's settings. In this case I will need two sets of goals, A} weekly with an eight weeks lifespan and B} every three months (quarterly) forever offsite (there actually isn't an option for forever).
    • flag a tape as Ready To Go Offsite (so I am supposed to remove it and send it offsite)
    • remind me that a tape is due back in when it's lifespan expires (so I have to email the offsite people and tell them)

    This means that your backups are done the Microsoft way or the highway - you don't get to choose the backup method. At the time that a tape goes offsite, it must be loaded into the correct cassette case that is labelled to return in 8 weeks. To determine the tape that we put in the case we must review the library and first determine where DPM put the backup. This means that every week we will refer to the DPM console to figure out which tapes go into which box. We are going to have to either eject the tapes one by one or write down the slots they are in and then eject the magazine and ensure that we pluck out the correct tapes and put them in the correct boxes.

    The cases to be returned onsite (from offsite after 8 weeks) must contain the correct tape. Otherwise, you need to specify the label of the tape with the delivery people which means sharing the information on that week's records to help them know what tapes for for what week.

    I have to say, DPM is much more convoluted and less flexible than I had expected. The system we had in place before seemed to work fine and we always new the tapes going in and out. Simples. Now, instead of us being in-charge of the tapes, DPM is. We will now need to consult with DPM and the Offsite collection/delivery people in advance of each delivery/collection.

    It seems more of a pain than before but, like I said, maybe I'm missing something. The biggest apaprent issue for me, after all is said and done, is the lack of tape pools - the random re-allocation of tapes to different tasks. It might turn out that this isn't a big deal after all... we'll see.

    It's time to bite the bullet and start the offsite tape creation and see how we get on. I won't be using Co-Location for the moment so I know what tapes are doing what exactly.

    Steve

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:00 PM

All replies

  • Hello Steve,

    if co-location is enabled, only PGs with the Same Retention Time will write to the same Tape. I Think this should be the "Tape Management" in DPM. In my Case he starts to write at the Tapes locatet at the highest Slot number.

    I Hope i can answer one of your Questions with that.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 12:41 PM
  • Thanks for that... from what I've read over the last few days, this seems true. As you say, unless co-location is enabled, each PG requires it's own tape (set).

    So far I have found out the following...

    There is no way to specify which tape is selected for backup - DPM just uses next available tape (from the highest number slot as you mentioned).

    DPM will also

    • decide for itself (select) the tapes that will be used in the backup
    • therefore, there are no tape pools in DPM - not part of the Microsoft backup design/plan.
    • create the weekly and archival backups based on the Long Term Goals that are set in the Protection Group's settings. In this case I will need two sets of goals, A} weekly with an eight weeks lifespan and B} every three months (quarterly) forever offsite (there actually isn't an option for forever).
    • flag a tape as Ready To Go Offsite (so I am supposed to remove it and send it offsite)
    • remind me that a tape is due back in when it's lifespan expires (so I have to email the offsite people and tell them)

    This means that your backups are done the Microsoft way or the highway - you don't get to choose the backup method. At the time that a tape goes offsite, it must be loaded into the correct cassette case that is labelled to return in 8 weeks. To determine the tape that we put in the case we must review the library and first determine where DPM put the backup. This means that every week we will refer to the DPM console to figure out which tapes go into which box. We are going to have to either eject the tapes one by one or write down the slots they are in and then eject the magazine and ensure that we pluck out the correct tapes and put them in the correct boxes.

    The cases to be returned onsite (from offsite after 8 weeks) must contain the correct tape. Otherwise, you need to specify the label of the tape with the delivery people which means sharing the information on that week's records to help them know what tapes for for what week.

    I have to say, DPM is much more convoluted and less flexible than I had expected. The system we had in place before seemed to work fine and we always new the tapes going in and out. Simples. Now, instead of us being in-charge of the tapes, DPM is. We will now need to consult with DPM and the Offsite collection/delivery people in advance of each delivery/collection.

    It seems more of a pain than before but, like I said, maybe I'm missing something. The biggest apaprent issue for me, after all is said and done, is the lack of tape pools - the random re-allocation of tapes to different tasks. It might turn out that this isn't a big deal after all... we'll see.

    It's time to bite the bullet and start the offsite tape creation and see how we get on. I won't be using Co-Location for the moment so I know what tapes are doing what exactly.

    Steve

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:00 PM
  • Hello Steve,

    in our case we dont have so much Problems with the lack of tape Pools, because our environment isnt too large. From what ive seen till now, the new Version of DPM dont got Tape Pool support too...

    But we still need the Option to set the Tape Retention Range to 13 Days, instead of 2 weeks.

     

    Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:35 AM
  • DPM 2012 will have co-location groups so you can group PG's together even with different retention goals.

    housekeeping - closing old post.  Open a new post if you still have a need.




    Regards, Mike J. [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Thursday, November 24, 2011 3:59 PM
    Moderator