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  • If anyone from the DPM product team reads this forum I thought they may be interested in the real-life experience of a small customer.

    I currently have three Windows 2003 servers running on consumer PC hardware bought from my local computer store.  The servers run Exchange, Sql/Server, a couple of very small web sites a bit of file sharing, domain controller, DNS , etc.  Backup is done by scripting NT backup and controlled with Job Scheduler. The results to an external USB drive.  The drive gets taken offsite once a week and replaced with another.  There is a Sql/Server job which puts its output on the same USB drive. On a 1TB drive I can store 3 weeks worth of backup doing a full backup once a week and differeentials each other day.

    As my business was growing I decided to upgrade to a single rack mounted, server grade system from a major international supplier.  On this hardware I am using Hyper-V to run each of my main applications (Exchange, SQL, file serve, DC) on a separate VM.  There are 9TB of attached storage.  Configuration has taken some time as I need to fit the migration to new hardware in around the rest of my job.

    I have discovered that ntBackup does not exist on Win2k8 and have started looking around for another solution.  I couldn't figure out how to get the builtin backup function to share one external USB drive amongst multiple (virtual) servers.  It seemed that SCDPM was the only Microsoft option for doing backup which involved taking the backup output off site (as an aside - what is the point of leaving the backup on site as the builtin tool seems to force you to do???).  I downloaded the trial of SCDPM and tried to figure out how it worked.

    First I tried using my brand new, shiny SQL/Server 2008 R2 virtual for the DB.  Oh no, you can't do that, it has to be Sql/Server 2008 SP2 or higher (seems like bad coding if it doesn't recognise 2008R2 as being as least as good as 2008SP2, what could DPM possible do that is so version specific?  Isn't it just storing some data?)  Ok, you win, take the installation option that installs a SQL/Server version on the DPM machine itself.  It seems that I shoudn't run DPM on one of my virttual machines and there is a strong recommendation that SCDPM run on a physical server by itself.  So I contacted my international hardware supplier and said I wanted a server to run DPM to go with the other server than ran my entire workload.    My salesperson, sorry, relationship manager didn't seem to know anything about what would be required.  She arranged for a telephone conference with a presales tech support person.  That person could talk about hardware but had no idea what sort of configuration DPM would work with.  I had questions like, "Does the DPM server connect directly to the disks that are used by the VMs?  Can I use external USB drives or does it have to be tape?  Will I be able to restore an individual database, file, email message?"  The tech support seemed to think a network connection was the way to go but when I asked how Sql/Server or Exchange would be backed up over this network connection he didn't have a clue 'I just do hardware'.  Next my relationship manager decided that a conference call in three days time with a Microsoft representative would be able to sort out what was required.

    I started to ask my questions of the MS rep but was interrupted with "I just do licensing, I can tell you what licenses you need.  DPM is not a spearate product you just need to license it"  WTF!!@!

    End of telephone conference.  Now my relationship manager wants to send a person with another fancy title to visit me to see what my requirements are.  But first she had to check the exact model of server I had bought from her company two months ago (there is a fairly high turnover of relationship managers - they don't seem to be able to maintain a long term relationship)  I didn't ask why it could possibly matter what server model it was in order to do backup.

    Does any of this strike people as absurd?  I have a totally Microsoft environment. I want to be able to protect myself against accidental deletion of files, email, databases, etc and also against a catastrophic fire.  The experts all seem to think I am talking in Martian about extremely complex, unusual things.

    I just want to do backup, why is it so hard?

    If sales of DPM are below expectations it may be that it is all to hard for people like me.  Not to mention the seeming absurdity that I only need a single server to handle the load of my entire company but I must have a second server just for backup.  I will probably try to script up some zipping of files, I seem to have Sql/Server backup functioning with my own scripts.  Don't know what is going to happen with Exchange.

    (Moderator - feel free to delete this rant - I just needed to get it off my chest and there is not anywhere else to go if you are a small business trying to become a large business)


    Paul Linton
    Tuesday, March 1, 2011 5:02 AM

Answers

  • Brian

    Are you suggesting that I need one sever to run the entire workload of my business and then two more servers (to be maintained, patched, licensed, etc) just to back up one server?  I don't actually have a 50 mbs link between home and work.  I can get to 250kb/s on the upload side.

    Sorry, Mike but your response was kind of what my rant was about.  You are saying I can run it on one of my VMs but not on a VHD. I can't do item level restore and I need to have a tape drive with its own NIC.  That is a large list of restrictions which pushes the cost (both in dollars and in pain for restoring) way up.  I don't want a second installation of Sql/Server to patch and keep secure if I can avoid it.  Why would SP1 be supported but not R2, that sort of restriction makes me very suspicious about a product.

    By way of comparison - ntbackup.exe is free, allows item level restore, runs on any machine (vm or otherwise, with or without vhd), doesn't need an expensive tape drive to backup to (but can use one),  and doesn't require the installation of an old version of database software.  I'm sure that there must be some way of looking at DPM that shows it in a better light than ntbackup, but it is not obvious to me and it is certainly not obvious to the sales team of either Dell or Microsoft.


    Paul Linton

    Heck yea!! companies that do not have proper backup strategies can be ruined by data loss. Peace of mind is worth more than the costs to build 2 homemade servers to back up your data that you rely on every day to run your business. What will happen tomorrow if you arrived to your business and there was a fire truck dumping water on your building and your sever? How will that effect your business? What if you could bring back those vm’s that you run your whole company on in minutes not hours or days? You can’t do that with ntbackup.

     

    In my case its more likely i will bump a ladder on sprinkler head over my server rack than the building catching fire or a plane crashing into it and when I do bump that stupid misplaced sprinkler head I will have my trusty Secondary server to bring back all my data.

     

    Sure my DR site runs on a 50mbps Verizon Fios line with a cisco vpn linking it to my main office its nothing special but it works. You don’t need much bandwidth to run an offsite secondary server get a 512kbps DSL on either side and link it via a vpn.

     

    Look for as much as I complain about DPM it’s a lot better than changing 8 tapes everyday like I used to. It’s nice to know that I can recover my SQL database that my company relies on to run from a backup that is no older than 15 minutes. I see you as an older gentleman that has been set in his ways for a very long time and there is so much useful technology out there stop being so negative about it and give a try.

     

    Brian

    • Marked as answer by PaulLinton Thursday, March 3, 2011 1:13 AM
    Thursday, March 3, 2011 1:04 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

     

    I'm sorry to read about your initial experience with trying to use DPM 2010 for your backup solution.  We have an abundance of information on the web and technet to help you evaluate and plan a DPM deployment.  Many of the things you bumped into are covered in technet documentation. A little research and planning can go a long way to preventing missteps.  After reviewing the product documentation and associated links, let me know if you have any additional questions so you can successfully protect your servers with DPM.

     

    Download Data Protection Manager 2010 Documentation

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff833813.aspx

     

     

     

    DPM 2010 System Requirements

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff399554.aspx

     

    We have tested DPM 2010 running in a Hyper-V Virtual environment and it is fully supported considering the following limitations, requirements.


    1) The DPM storage pool disks cannot be .vhd's - they must be either iSCSI attached disks or Pass thru disks.

    The following 4 types of disk configuration are supported as DPM storage pool in a Virtual machine.

    A) Pass-through disk with host direct attached storage (DAS)
    B) Pass-through FC LUN which is attached to host.
    C) Pass-through iSCSI LUN which is attached to host.
    D) iSCSI LUN which is attached to VM directly.

    2) Item level restore for protected Virtual machines is not possible because that requires the Hyper-V role to be installed on the DPM server, but is not possible if Virtualized.
    3) Short or Long term backup to tape will be limited to using iSCSI attached tape libraries, and we recommend a separate NIC for that connection.

    Other than those limitations / restrictions, DPM runs fine in a VM.

     

     

    DPM Server Software Prerequisites

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff399021.aspx

     

    Supported Versions of SQL Server 2008

    For the DPM database, DPM 2010 requires a dedicated instance of the 64-bit or 32-bit version of SQL Server 2008, Enterprise or Standard Edition, with Service Pack 1 (SP1). During setup, you can select either to have DPM Setup install SQL Server 2008 SP1 on the DPM server, or you can specify that DPM use a remote instance of SQL Server.

    If you decide to have DPM Setup install SQL Server 2008 SP1 on the DPM server, you are not required to provide a SQL Server 2008 license. But, if you decide to preinstall SQL Server 2008 on a remote computer or on the same computer where DPM 2010 will be installed, you must provide a SQL Server 2008 product key. You can preinstall SQL Server 2008 Standard or Enterprise Edition.

    If you do not have a licensed version of SQL Server 2008, you can install an evaluation version from the DPM 2010 DVD. To install the evaluation version, do not provide the product key when you are prompted by DPM Setup. However, you must buy a license for SQL Server if you want to continue to use it after the evaluation period.

     


    Regards, Mike J. [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Tuesday, March 1, 2011 6:06 PM
    Moderator
  • If anyone from the DPM product team reads this forum I thought they may be interested in the real-life experience of a small customer.

    I currently have three Windows 2003 servers running on consumer PC hardware bought from my local computer store.  The servers run Exchange, Sql/Server, a couple of very small web sites a bit of file sharing, domain controller, DNS , etc.  Backup is done by scripting NT backup and controlled with Job Scheduler. The results to an external USB drive.  The drive gets taken offsite once a week and replaced with another.  There is a Sql/Server job which puts its output on the same USB drive. On a 1TB drive I can store 3 weeks worth of backup doing a full backup once a week and differeentials each other day.

    As my business was growing I decided to upgrade to a single rack mounted, server grade system from a major international supplier.  On this hardware I am using Hyper-V to run each of my main applications (Exchange, SQL, file serve, DC) on a separate VM.  There are 9TB of attached storage.  Configuration has taken some time as I need to fit the migration to new hardware in around the rest of my job.

    I have discovered that ntBackup does not exist on Win2k8 and have started looking around for another solution.  I couldn't figure out how to get the builtin backup function to share one external USB drive amongst multiple (virtual) servers.  It seemed that SCDPM was the only Microsoft option for doing backup which involved taking the backup output off site (as an aside - what is the point of leaving the backup on site as the builtin tool seems to force you to do???).  I downloaded the trial of SCDPM and tried to figure out how it worked.

    First I tried using my brand new, shiny SQL/Server 2008 R2 virtual for the DB.  Oh no, you can't do that, it has to be Sql/Server 2008 SP2 or higher (seems like bad coding if it doesn't recognise 2008R2 as being as least as good as 2008SP2, what could DPM possible do that is so version specific?  Isn't it just storing some data?)  Ok, you win, take the installation option that installs a SQL/Server version on the DPM machine itself.  It seems that I shoudn't run DPM on one of my virttual machines and there is a strong recommendation that SCDPM run on a physical server by itself.  So I contacted my international hardware supplier and said I wanted a server to run DPM to go with the other server than ran my entire workload.    My salesperson, sorry, relationship manager didn't seem to know anything about what would be required.  She arranged for a telephone conference with a presales tech support person.  That person could talk about hardware but had no idea what sort of configuration DPM would work with.  I had questions like, "Does the DPM server connect directly to the disks that are used by the VMs?  Can I use external USB drives or does it have to be tape?  Will I be able to restore an individual database, file, email message?"  The tech support seemed to think a network connection was the way to go but when I asked how Sql/Server or Exchange would be backed up over this network connection he didn't have a clue 'I just do hardware'.  Next my relationship manager decided that a conference call in three days time with a Microsoft representative would be able to sort out what was required.

    I started to ask my questions of the MS rep but was interrupted with "I just do licensing, I can tell you what licenses you need.  DPM is not a spearate product you just need to license it"  WTF!!@!

    End of telephone conference.  Now my relationship manager wants to send a person with another fancy title to visit me to see what my requirements are.  But first she had to check the exact model of server I had bought from her company two months ago (there is a fairly high turnover of relationship managers - they don't seem to be able to maintain a long term relationship)  I didn't ask why it could possibly matter what server model it was in order to do backup.

    Does any of this strike people as absurd?  I have a totally Microsoft environment. I want to be able to protect myself against accidental deletion of files, email, databases, etc and also against a catastrophic fire.  The experts all seem to think I am talking in Martian about extremely complex, unusual things.

    I just want to do backup, why is it so hard?

    If sales of DPM are below expectations it may be that it is all to hard for people like me.  Not to mention the seeming absurdity that I only need a single server to handle the load of my entire company but I must have a second server just for backup.  I will probably try to script up some zipping of files, I seem to have Sql/Server backup functioning with my own scripts.  Don't know what is going to happen with Exchange.

    (Moderator - feel free to delete this rant - I just needed to get it off my chest and there is not anywhere else to go if you are a small business trying to become a large business)


    Paul Linton

    One word "WOW" That was a painful post to read. Look!! You don’t need the best of the best hardware to get a DPM setup going. You are complicating a very uncomplicated software!! Since you are no stranger to home built computers build two computers each with a big raid container and install DPM on both of them. Place one at your office and place one at home and bam you have a complete solution. You do not need to run the DPM database on a separate SQL server “LEAVE IT ON THE DPM SERVER ITS OK” backup the primary DPM SQL database on the secondary server and backup the secondary on the primary. Build the two systems and look within DPM and figure out what licenses you are using so you can call your rep to order those licenses. BUY SOFTWARE ASSURANCE” or flat out pirate the software since you will get very limited support from the crew of this forum or Microsoft in general. (FYI- I have SA and am fully licensed Microsoft )

     

    With all my ranting (Moderator - feel free to delete this rant) DPM is a good simple product even in a large storage solution like mine.

     

    My Setup:

    Primary : DELL Poweredge DP500/2950 with 2 MD 1000's 50tb storage.

    50mbps link between sites

    Secondary:  DELL Poweredge DP500/2950 with 1 MD 1000's 25tb storage.

    • Proposed as answer by Brian James Wednesday, March 2, 2011 12:57 PM
    • Edited by Brian James Wednesday, March 2, 2011 12:59 PM oops
    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 12:56 PM
  • Brian

    Are you suggesting that I need one sever to run the entire workload of my business and then two more servers (to be maintained, patched, licensed, etc) just to back up one server?  I don't actually have a 50 mbs link between home and work.  I can get to 250kb/s on the upload side.

    Sorry, Mike but your response was kind of what my rant was about.  You are saying I can run it on one of my VMs but not on a VHD. I can't do item level restore and I need to have a tape drive with its own NIC.  That is a large list of restrictions which pushes the cost (both in dollars and in pain for restoring) way up.  I don't want a second installation of Sql/Server to patch and keep secure if I can avoid it.  Why would SP1 be supported but not R2, that sort of restriction makes me very suspicious about a product.

    By way of comparison - ntbackup.exe is free, allows item level restore, runs on any machine (vm or otherwise, with or without vhd), doesn't need an expensive tape drive to backup to (but can use one),  and doesn't require the installation of an old version of database software.  I'm sure that there must be some way of looking at DPM that shows it in a better light than ntbackup, but it is not obvious to me and it is certainly not obvious to the sales team of either Dell or Microsoft.


    Paul Linton
    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 11:16 PM
  •  

    <snip>
    Sorry, Mike but your response was kind of what my rant was about.  You are saying I can run it on one of my VMs but not on a VHD. I can't do item level restore and I need to have a tape drive with its own NIC.  That is a large list of restrictions which pushes the cost (both in dollars and in pain for restoring) way up.  I don't want a second installation of Sql/Server to patch and keep secure if I can avoid it.  Why would SP1 be supported but not R2, that sort of restriction makes me very suspicious about a product.
    >snip<

    If Running DPM in a virtual machine, then only the disks added to the DPM storage cannot be .vhd - if you are doing disk to tape backup only, then that does not apply. Item level restore only applies to protected virtual machines where we can restore individual files from the protected guests .vhd without having to restore the whole vhd. Ntbackup has no such feature. The 2nd nic is a best practice recommendation if using an iSCSI attached tape library, not a requirement.   SQL 2008 R2 was not yet released while developing DPM 2010, so we could not fully test before we released. Since we do version checking during DPM setup, it's hard to add support after we RTM.

     


    Regards, Mike J. [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Thursday, March 3, 2011 12:50 AM
    Moderator
  • Brian

    Are you suggesting that I need one sever to run the entire workload of my business and then two more servers (to be maintained, patched, licensed, etc) just to back up one server?  I don't actually have a 50 mbs link between home and work.  I can get to 250kb/s on the upload side.

    Sorry, Mike but your response was kind of what my rant was about.  You are saying I can run it on one of my VMs but not on a VHD. I can't do item level restore and I need to have a tape drive with its own NIC.  That is a large list of restrictions which pushes the cost (both in dollars and in pain for restoring) way up.  I don't want a second installation of Sql/Server to patch and keep secure if I can avoid it.  Why would SP1 be supported but not R2, that sort of restriction makes me very suspicious about a product.

    By way of comparison - ntbackup.exe is free, allows item level restore, runs on any machine (vm or otherwise, with or without vhd), doesn't need an expensive tape drive to backup to (but can use one),  and doesn't require the installation of an old version of database software.  I'm sure that there must be some way of looking at DPM that shows it in a better light than ntbackup, but it is not obvious to me and it is certainly not obvious to the sales team of either Dell or Microsoft.


    Paul Linton

    Heck yea!! companies that do not have proper backup strategies can be ruined by data loss. Peace of mind is worth more than the costs to build 2 homemade servers to back up your data that you rely on every day to run your business. What will happen tomorrow if you arrived to your business and there was a fire truck dumping water on your building and your sever? How will that effect your business? What if you could bring back those vm’s that you run your whole company on in minutes not hours or days? You can’t do that with ntbackup.

     

    In my case its more likely i will bump a ladder on sprinkler head over my server rack than the building catching fire or a plane crashing into it and when I do bump that stupid misplaced sprinkler head I will have my trusty Secondary server to bring back all my data.

     

    Sure my DR site runs on a 50mbps Verizon Fios line with a cisco vpn linking it to my main office its nothing special but it works. You don’t need much bandwidth to run an offsite secondary server get a 512kbps DSL on either side and link it via a vpn.

     

    Look for as much as I complain about DPM it’s a lot better than changing 8 tapes everyday like I used to. It’s nice to know that I can recover my SQL database that my company relies on to run from a backup that is no older than 15 minutes. I see you as an older gentleman that has been set in his ways for a very long time and there is so much useful technology out there stop being so negative about it and give a try.

     

    Brian

    • Marked as answer by PaulLinton Thursday, March 3, 2011 1:13 AM
    Thursday, March 3, 2011 1:04 AM
  • Brian,

    I really appreciate your 'from the trenches' responses.  I will probably have a go at the configuration you suggest.

    But ... never, ever, ever has anyone, at any time or at an place or in any forum accused me of being a 'gentleman'. More of a 'Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light', kind of older sob.

    Thanks again


    Paul Linton
    Thursday, March 3, 2011 1:13 AM
  • Brian,

    I really appreciate your 'from the trenches' responses.  I will probably have a go at the configuration you suggest.

    But ... never, ever, ever has anyone, at any time or at an place or in any forum accused me of being a 'gentleman'. More of a 'Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light', kind of older sob.

    Thanks again


    Paul Linton

    I am a no BS type of guy and give it to people straight up as i see it. Let me know if you need any help....

    From the trenches :-)

    Brian

    Thursday, March 3, 2011 1:27 AM