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  • Question


  • I have 5 questions about DPM 2010.

    1. when a protection groups storage pool has auto grown enabled and it comes time for it to auto grow, how does DPM handle that. Does it create another partition (dynamic volume) or does it relocate data on the storage pool disks and expand existing partitions? If it creates another partition is there any concern about fragmentation if it auto grows several times over time? Why can't DPM just back up to a folder as opposed to 2 (or more) dedicated partitions per object backed up.

    2. I have an external SQL server servicing DPM. It is backed up by DPM. What if this SQL server fails. Will DPM still function and what would be my recovery path if not. Should I be backing up the DPM databases outside of DPM for restoral to an alternate SQL server in an emergency? How do you tell DPM its databases have moved to another server?

    3. Similar to the SQL server being external, what about a certificate server? I have an external certificate server. It is backed up by DPM. I encrypt data on my tapes and use a certificate from that server to protect it. Assume that server fails. How would I gain access to the encrypted data on the tapes to restore the server? What would the recovery path be? Should this server also be backed up to an alternate backup location/product since DPM is dependent upon it?

    4. Why are the tape management functions so weak? I can't mark a tape as free or erase it unless I stop protection of the protection group... really? I could understand maybe several warnings, like hey you're about to blow away your long term storage, but having to stop protection of the entire group to erase a single tape is just silly. By forcing me to stop protection I could lose a lot more then just the single tape I want to erase. Also what is with the complex formulas with data co-location on tape?

    Upper bound: furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - (furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - current date) * ExpiryToleranceRange
    Lower Bound: furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape + (furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - current date) * ExpiryToleranceRange.

    Really? I have an idea for a huge improvement; how about you let the admin choose the number of days that a backup job on tape will expire after, and overwrite after that time frame! Combine that with letting the admin choose which tapes the jobs go to - or combining jobs on tapes with the same expiration date! Simple! Similar to what Backup Exec / Veritas have been doing for... I don't know... like 15 years now.

    5. Why can't auto tape quick inventory or full inventory jobs be scheduled in the GUI? I rotate my tapes weekly and having to manually run an inventory job just to get the tape library to report the bar codes to DPM is a pain. I think Backup Exec / Veritas version 1.0 used to let you do that! i know this can probably be scripted and scheduled to run as a weekly task - but again this is much more difficult then it should be. Put it in the GUI. If I loved the command prompt so much I would be running Linux or Unix. The one love everyone has for Windows and MS products in general is a fully functional GUI. Don't take that from us! From a cost standpoint those other CLI only solutions are a lot cheaper and may start to garner more attention with every feature you strip from the GUI and put into power shell only.

    I don't mean to sound too blunt. But it is frustrating to see a product with such potential fall short on some of the simplest of issues.


    • Edited by ZackinMA Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:15 PM
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 3:07 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    Please see inline comments:

    Q1. when a protection groups storage pool has auto grown enabled and it comes time for it to auto grow, how does DPM handle that. Does it create another partition (dynamic volume) or does it relocate data on the storage pool disks and expand existing partitions? If it creates another partition is there any concern about fragmentation if it auto grows several times over time? Why can't DPM just back up to a folder as opposed to 2 (or more) dedicated partitions per object backed up.

    A1.  DPM calls into the virtual disk service to expand the existing replica or recovery point volume, the VDS service does the expansion, so you end up with a new "subdisk" for the original volume.   Yes, that may lead to "volume" fragmentation, but to avoid that you should use the storage calculators to plan your initial storage needs to avoid excess autogrow activity.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/dpm/archive/2010/09/02/new-dpm2010-storage-calculator-links-sep-2010.aspx
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff399599.aspx

    DPM uses volume shadow copies for recovery points, and to maintain shadow copies we require two seperate volumes.

    Q2. I have an external SQL server servicing DPM. It is backed up by DPM. What if this SQL server fails. Will DPM still function and what would be my recovery path if not. Should I be backing up the DPM databases outside of DPM for restoral to an alternate SQL server in an emergency? How do you tell DPM its databases have moved to another server?

    A2.  No - DPM will fail since it cannot access it's SQL Database.  If you backup the DPMDB to tape, you can import the tape on another DPM server and restore from there.  If you loose the entire SQL server machine, then you can recovery by un-installing DPM - retain relicas, re-install DPM and select alternate SQL Server, then once re-installed, run DPMSYNC to import the original DPMDB and continue protection.

    See: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff634215.aspx

     

    Q3. Similar to the SQL server being external, what about a certificate server? I have an external certificate server. It is backed up by DPM. I encrypt data on my tapes and use a certificate from that server to protect it. Assume that server fails. How would I gain access to the encrypted data on the tapes to restore the server? What would the recovery path be? Should this server also be backed up to an alternate backup location/product since DPM is dependent upon it?

    A3.  The certificate you created on the certificate server is IMPORTED into the DPM Server, so if the certificate server itself fails, that will not have any impact on existing excrypted tape or ability to encrypt new tapes.  As a best practice, you should export the certificate including the private key and store it offsite in case disaster occurs and you loose both certificate server and DPM server. 

    Q4. Why are the tape management functions so weak? I can't mark a tape as free or erase it unless I stop protection of the protection group... really? I could understand maybe several warnings, like hey you're about to blow away your long term storage, but having to stop protection of the entire group to erase a single tape is just silly. By forcing me to stop protection I could lose a lot more then just the single tape I want to erase. Also what is with the complex formulas with data co-location on tape?

    Upper bound: furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - (furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - current date) * ExpiryToleranceRange
    Lower Bound: furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape + (furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - current date) * ExpiryToleranceRange.

    Really? I have an idea for a huge improvement; how about you let the admin choose the number of days that a backup job on tape will expire after, and overwrite after that time frame! Combine that with letting the admin choose which tapes the jobs go to - or combining jobs on tapes with the same expiration date! Simple! Similar to what Backup Exec / Veritas have been doing for... I don't know... like 15 years now.

    A4.  You can run the following powershell script to manually expire all RP's and erase a tape.
               http://blogs.technet.com/dpm/archive/2007/09/04/cli-script-force-mark-tape-as-free.aspx

            DPM 2012 gives you GUI options to better control how long to use a tape and also more granular co-location options - these enhancements will bring DPM to be on par with other backup products.  DPM 2012 is not in beta. 

     

    Q5. Why can't auto tape quick inventory or full inventory jobs be scheduled in the GUI? I rotate my tapes weekly and having to manually run an inventory job just to get the tape library to report the bar codes to DPM is a pain. I think Backup Exec / Veritas version 1.0 used to let you do that! i know this can probably be scripted and scheduled to run as a weekly task - but again this is much more difficult then it should be. Put it in the GUI. If I loved the command prompt so much I would be running Linux or Unix. The one love everyone has for Windows and MS products in general is a fully functional GUI. Don't take that from us! From a cost standpoint those other CLI only solutions are a lot cheaper and may start to garner more attention with every feature you strip from the GUI and put into power shell only.

    A5.  This capability (to schedule inventory) is available using this powershell utility: http://blogs.technet.com/b/dpm/archive/2010/07/09/the-search-for-dpm-tape-utilities-stops-here.aspx

     


    Regards, Mike J. [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 6:00 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    Please see inline comments:

    Q1. when a protection groups storage pool has auto grown enabled and it comes time for it to auto grow, how does DPM handle that. Does it create another partition (dynamic volume) or does it relocate data on the storage pool disks and expand existing partitions? If it creates another partition is there any concern about fragmentation if it auto grows several times over time? Why can't DPM just back up to a folder as opposed to 2 (or more) dedicated partitions per object backed up.

    A1.  DPM calls into the virtual disk service to expand the existing replica or recovery point volume, the VDS service does the expansion, so you end up with a new "subdisk" for the original volume.   Yes, that may lead to "volume" fragmentation, but to avoid that you should use the storage calculators to plan your initial storage needs to avoid excess autogrow activity.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/dpm/archive/2010/09/02/new-dpm2010-storage-calculator-links-sep-2010.aspx
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff399599.aspx

    DPM uses volume shadow copies for recovery points, and to maintain shadow copies we require two seperate volumes.

    Q2. I have an external SQL server servicing DPM. It is backed up by DPM. What if this SQL server fails. Will DPM still function and what would be my recovery path if not. Should I be backing up the DPM databases outside of DPM for restoral to an alternate SQL server in an emergency? How do you tell DPM its databases have moved to another server?

    A2.  No - DPM will fail since it cannot access it's SQL Database.  If you backup the DPMDB to tape, you can import the tape on another DPM server and restore from there.  If you loose the entire SQL server machine, then you can recovery by un-installing DPM - retain relicas, re-install DPM and select alternate SQL Server, then once re-installed, run DPMSYNC to import the original DPMDB and continue protection.

    See: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff634215.aspx

     

    Q3. Similar to the SQL server being external, what about a certificate server? I have an external certificate server. It is backed up by DPM. I encrypt data on my tapes and use a certificate from that server to protect it. Assume that server fails. How would I gain access to the encrypted data on the tapes to restore the server? What would the recovery path be? Should this server also be backed up to an alternate backup location/product since DPM is dependent upon it?

    A3.  The certificate you created on the certificate server is IMPORTED into the DPM Server, so if the certificate server itself fails, that will not have any impact on existing excrypted tape or ability to encrypt new tapes.  As a best practice, you should export the certificate including the private key and store it offsite in case disaster occurs and you loose both certificate server and DPM server. 

    Q4. Why are the tape management functions so weak? I can't mark a tape as free or erase it unless I stop protection of the protection group... really? I could understand maybe several warnings, like hey you're about to blow away your long term storage, but having to stop protection of the entire group to erase a single tape is just silly. By forcing me to stop protection I could lose a lot more then just the single tape I want to erase. Also what is with the complex formulas with data co-location on tape?

    Upper bound: furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - (furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - current date) * ExpiryToleranceRange
    Lower Bound: furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape + (furthest expiry date among all the datasets on the tape - current date) * ExpiryToleranceRange.

    Really? I have an idea for a huge improvement; how about you let the admin choose the number of days that a backup job on tape will expire after, and overwrite after that time frame! Combine that with letting the admin choose which tapes the jobs go to - or combining jobs on tapes with the same expiration date! Simple! Similar to what Backup Exec / Veritas have been doing for... I don't know... like 15 years now.

    A4.  You can run the following powershell script to manually expire all RP's and erase a tape.
               http://blogs.technet.com/dpm/archive/2007/09/04/cli-script-force-mark-tape-as-free.aspx

            DPM 2012 gives you GUI options to better control how long to use a tape and also more granular co-location options - these enhancements will bring DPM to be on par with other backup products.  DPM 2012 is not in beta. 

     

    Q5. Why can't auto tape quick inventory or full inventory jobs be scheduled in the GUI? I rotate my tapes weekly and having to manually run an inventory job just to get the tape library to report the bar codes to DPM is a pain. I think Backup Exec / Veritas version 1.0 used to let you do that! i know this can probably be scripted and scheduled to run as a weekly task - but again this is much more difficult then it should be. Put it in the GUI. If I loved the command prompt so much I would be running Linux or Unix. The one love everyone has for Windows and MS products in general is a fully functional GUI. Don't take that from us! From a cost standpoint those other CLI only solutions are a lot cheaper and may start to garner more attention with every feature you strip from the GUI and put into power shell only.

    A5.  This capability (to schedule inventory) is available using this powershell utility: http://blogs.technet.com/b/dpm/archive/2010/07/09/the-search-for-dpm-tape-utilities-stops-here.aspx

     


    Regards, Mike J. [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 6:00 PM
    Moderator
  • I knew someone out there would have the answers. I am glad to hear DPM 2012 will address some of the shortcomings in DPM 2010. My only hope is that an in place upgrade isn't too difficult.

    Having said everything above I really do like the product. I find it incredibly simple to use, intuitive, and and cost effective. In the simplicity of the design though some elements of control have been lost, particularly on the tape management side. i'm looking forward to improvements in future versions! Really. A couple of tweaks and improvements and you've got a real winner.

    Now - one more onion. Lets talk bare metal restore (which isn't really a bare metal restore)! With Acronis I can restore from an Intel to a AMD, or go back and forth between virtual machines and physical servers. When will DPM have that ability?

    And I guess the answer to Question 2 is that I better have another backup of the SQL server that hosts DPM databases. If that server fails - DPM goes down - which means I can't get at the SQL server's backups within DPM and I have no recovery. YIKES! That is scarey! I know multiple DPM servers would be a nice solution but that isn't always financially feasible. Maybe I should have opted for the SQL install (included license for DPM use only) as part of DPM instead. I may uninstall and reinstall down the road and opt for this solution.
    • Edited by ZackinMA Tuesday, October 4, 2011 7:41 PM
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 7:22 PM
  • Hi,

    DPM is only the scheduler and depository of the Windows server backup and output file - The BMR restore restrictions are imposed by the Windows group and the restore is done by Windows RE environment, DPM has no role in the restore process once the BMR files are restored to a network location.

    For 2. - Even if you are doing Disk to Disk backup of DPMDB, should the DPM server fail, you can still copy the "latest" DPMDB out of the replica volume directly using explorer assuming the disks in the storage pool did not get damaged or compromised. 


    Regards, Mike J. [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Tuesday, October 4, 2011 10:05 PM
    Moderator