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Licensing of DPM vs Essentials Plus RRS feed

  • Question

  • We're looking at a DPM backup solution but, as usual, Microsoft licensing descriptions leave MUCH to be desired.  Here's our configuration:

    • Physical Server 1 (Windows 2008R2, Hyper-V)
      o Virtual Server SBS (Small Business Server)
      o Virtual Server TERMINAL (Windows server running Terminal services)
    • Physical Server 2 (Windows 2008R2, Hyper-V)
      o Virtual Server SQL2008 (Windows server running SQL 2008 services)

    From my understanding we would need DPM Enterprise ML for SBS (because of Exchange) and SQL2008.  The other server can use a DPM Standard ML.

    Part of what we are looking to achieve is to be able to have each Physical server act as a redundant server and have the ability to host the VMs that are on the other server in case of server failure (in other words, that one physical server is hosting all 3 VMs).  My understanding is that DPM will allow us to do that.  So my first question is if there are any recommendations or considerations that I should make in trying to achieve this type of continuance plan (for example, to have a good recent copy of the VM is it better to do the backup from within the VM or at the host and, if doing it at the host do we also need to purchase another DPM license to do this?)

    The second part of this query involves Essentials Plus which, to my understanding, includes both Essentials plus DPM.  Here is the wording of the licensing at http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/sce-plus-suites-pricing-licensing.aspx#Lic

    System Center Essentials Plus 2010 Server ML Suite includes the System Center Essentials 2010 Server ML and System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 Server ML. You may manage any workload and any number of OSEs on each licensed server device up to the System Center Essentials 2010 technical and Data Protection Manager 2010 software use rights limit of 50 server OSEs for each System Center Essentials Plus 2010 deployment. Note that this suite is licensed per device, meaning that one license is required for each physical device on which managed OSEs run. No additional license is required for each virtual machine (VM) added to the server device, subject to the software technical limit.

    If I understand that correctly, it sounds like we could purchase a single Essentials Plus Server ML for each Physical machine and it would include the rights for the Virtual Machines.  Is this correct?  Also, it's not clear whether the DPM 2010 Server ML is the Standard or Enterprise since it does not state that in the above verbage.

    I'd appreciate any feedback on backup strategy and clarification on the wonderful world of MS licensing!

    Cheers,
    Chris

     

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 8:25 PM

All replies

  • Hi

    This is how it works.

    Standard licenses is used for file, System State (and AD)

    Enterprice licenses are used for Exchange, SQL, Hyper-V...see it as workloads.

    In your case, if you buy two enterprice licenses and uses them on your Hyper-V hosts, you will be able to backup the virtual machines sinces the Enterprice licens will find the Hyper-V VSS on the host. This will give you the possibility to restore an Virtual Machine or VHD, you will also be able to preform a ILR on a virtual machine if you DPM server is physical (there are other ways around the problem if your DPM server is virtual). This means that you will be able to restore files (ONLY FILE-LEVEL) from within your virtual machines. NOTE, you will not be able to see Exchange, SQL etc.

    If you backing up your virtual machines with DPM you will have a great disaster recovery function for the Hyper-V enviroment. If you want to backup the SQL, SharePoint or Exchange workloads you must install an Enterprice angent within the virtual OS. Crystal clear?

    So, my recomendations is that you install DPM agnets on your Hyper-V hosts so you can backup ypou virtual enviroment. BUT if you have SQL, SHarePoint or Exchange production data that you want to protect you must install an agent on the virtual OS.

    The binaries is the same wheter it's a standard licensed workload or an Enterprice licenced workload.


    Best Regards

    Robert Hedblom

    MVP DPM


    Check out my DPM blog @ http://robertanddpm.blogspot.com

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 8:53 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the quick reply Robert.  That does answer my first question and fits with what my research had led me to understand.

    The couple of other questions I had were:

    1. In a disk-based backup, how does the VM see the device attached to the physical host (since a VM cannot normally see those devices)? (EDIT: note that I asked a similar question under the DPM storage forum)
    2. Based on what you had proposed above for DPM, we would need 4 Enterprise licenses (host 1, host 2, SBS VM, SQL2008 VM) and 1 Standard license (Win2008 VM).  However, the wording of the Essentials Plus Suite states "Note that this suite is licensed per device, meaning that one license is required for each physical device on which managed OSEs run. No additional license is required for each virtual machine (VM) added to the server device".  This indicates that we would only need to purchase 1 Essential Plus Server ML for each of the physical hosts (costing roughly half as much as purchasing 5 DPM licenses).  Am I missing anything?

    Thanks,
    Chris

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:32 PM
  • I'm working on setting up a nearly identical solution (two physical servers, a few vm's per server, backing each other up).  My interpretation of the licensing is is that two Essentials Plus Suite's is all that is required, but I would like confirmation on that also.

    Did you find any advice elsewhere on the how best to set this up?  My only additional requirement is some type of offsite storage with another server or some other agent.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 4:22 PM
  • Mike - best of luck getting confirmation!  I tried calling Microsoft directly and the licensing "expert" I was speaking with first told me I only needed a single DPM license for a physical server and that included one or more VM's (which, if you look at http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/data-protection-manager/dpm-pricing-licensing.aspx the last paragraph does seem to indicate that this may be possible).  However, in classic Microsoft fashion they have made the licensing more complicated than the product itself and their own staff can't even tell you what to buy.  My question is, with such complex (and contradictory) licensing policies how can they encourage people to buy and use their product, let alone ensure that anyone is actually in full compliance?

    But I digress...

    In terms of how to best set this up - after spending hours researching this online I found very little that meets my configuration.  I am quite surprised by this because, given the proliferation of VMs I thought what I'm asking for would be quite standard by now.  In any case, I tried, yet again, to contact Microsoft.  After being transferred no less than 5 times I finally was able to speak to someone that would only answer questions if they opened a case to charge me for the service.  Interesting concept - to determine if this product meets my needs and the best practice for configuring it, I have to pay them first?!  I'm normally a pretty big proponent of Microsoft, but this type of BS has me looking in another directions for solutions.

    So, to sum things up:

    1. Licensing - I have yet to get a straight answer on licensing (including the question on the Essential's Plus), and even if I did get an answer from Microsoft on this I'm hesitant to "trust" the answer.

    2. Configuration - also no straight answer.

    3. Alternatives - I'm looking at Symantec Backup Exec and Arcserve.  According to DCIG guide for Virtual Server backup software (see free buyer's guide at http://www.dcig.com/free-dcig-downloads.html) Backup Exec ranks an "Excellent" scoring 86.  Microsoft DPM 2010 is ranked "Basic" at a score of 72.  The report gives a fair bit of detail which may help with your decision making.  Given the fact that I can't even get pre-sales support from Microsoft I feel like I'm left with little choice but to avoid a MS solution (MS - are you paying attention to this?!).  What I plan on doing at this point is downloading the trial version of Backup Exec and making sure it will meet my needs.  I'll try to remember to post an update here based on my results (give me 30 days).

    With regards to off-site storage, I assume you're referring to a permanent off-site storage (not simply taking backup tapes/disks off-site)?  I'm considering that as well, but haven't found a solution.

    Please keep me updated on your progress.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 4:52 PM
  • This is definitely an adventure.

    I have yet to find a guide to a super simple configuration we're describing.  All answers appear to be for big complex situations.

    It appears having the DC in VM can be very problematic -- although I don't know if that is true when there is only a single DC, like in our case.

    I'll checkout the backup link.  There appears to be huge difference in price between DPM and the Symantics solution because I think you need separate licenses for SQL and Exchange.  Maybe I need to look into their pricing more.

    Definitely, let's keep this thread going.

    Mike

    Thursday, April 21, 2011 6:23 PM
  • For Symantec the best approach for our needs was to have the Small Business Server "version/edition" of Backup Exec.  This will give you Exchange and SQL backup as part of the package.  We'd still have to buy another Windows agent to meet our licensing needs, but the pricing is less than ARCServer (also considering we had a version upgrade discount for Backup Exec).  I can't compare to DPM license costs since there's no answer on this yet!

    Chris

    Thursday, April 21, 2011 6:35 PM