Deploying Data Protection Manager 2007 (Part 3)

by Anderson Patricio [Published on 12 Dec. 2007 / Last Updated on 12 Dec. 2007]

How to create protection groups in DPM 2007.

If you missed the previous parts in this article series please read:

In the previous articles we saw how to install DPM 2007, create basic items such as installing agents, configuring disks, and getting used to the DPM 2007 Administrator Console. In this article we are going to protect a Windows File Server to demonstrate how to create a Protection Group in DPM 2007.

First of all, let's see which Microsoft products are protected by DPM 2007 and after that let's create a Protection Group.

What does DPM protect?

DPM protects several Microsoft products. Table 01 lists the products that can be protected and which items within the products that can be restored.

Microsoft Products

Item(s) that can be protected

Recoverable Items

Exchange Server 2003 with SP2

Exchange Server 2007

Storage group

Storage group, Database, or Mailbox

SQL Server 2000 with SP4
SQL Server 2005 with SP1 or higher

Database

Database

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

Farm

Farm, Database, Site, File or list

Windows Server 2003

Windows Storage Server 2003

Volume, Share and Folders

Volume, share, Folder or File

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1

Virtual Server host or Virtual Server machines

Virtual Server host or Virtual Server machines

Protected servers running Windows 2003 and XP

System state

System state

Windows XP with SP2

Windows Vista

File data

File data

Table 01

DPM also protects a cluster environment of those applications (File Server, Exchange and SQL). To restore entire machines DPM has an additional tool called DPM System Recovery Tool that allows a bare metal recovery of the protected servers; this tool does not come with the DPM 2007 DVD but can be found on a separate disk.

Creating a Protection Group

All DPM Protection is based in the Protection Group; the protection group defines retention range, how often synchronization will occur, how many recovery points will be available, where the protection will be kept, etc. Understanding how to create a Protection Group and its options is crucial in order to protect a network using DPM.

When creating a Protection Group we do not have to know where the application's files are located in the file system. If we select an SQL or Exchange database, DPM will gather information from the product and it will automatically find where the files are. In order to create a Protection Group to protect two shared folders follow these steps:

  1. Open the Data Protection Manager 2007 Console.
  2. Click on the Protection task area.
  3. In Toolbox Actions, click on Create Protection Group:
  4. Welcome to the New Protection Group Wizard page; there is an introductory text about the process that will be used by DPM to protect the selected computers, click on Next.
  5. In the Select Group Member page, we can see all the servers that have been installed with the DPM Agent. We can choose several items at the same time. In the Figure below we are able to protect some items such as Exchange Server Cluster, Shares, Volumes, System State and SQL as well. DPM is application aware, this means that we do not need to specify the path of Exchange and SQL database and log files, just select the component (SQL databases or Exchange Databases).

    In this tutorial we are going to check two shares (Share01 and Share02) and they will show up in the Select members area (Figure 01).


    Figure 01: Selecting some items among the servers with the DPM Agent installed

    We still have two options in the Selected members frame that are: Excluded Folders and Excluded file types.

    Excluded File types: We can exclude file extensions, which will then not be protected. To do that we just need to click on the Exclude Files: link and type in the extensions required, as shown in Figure 02.


    Figure 02: Excluding the extensions .mp3 and .tmp files to be protected

    Exclude Folders: When a directory with several subdirectories is selected, we can unselect the subdirectories that do not need to be protected. This option will show all subdirectories that are unchecked. In the example below the Inetpub folder was selected and the subdirectory AdminScripts was unchecked. (Figure 03)


    Figure 03: All directories that are not protected

  6. In the Select Data Protection Method page we can define the Protection Group name and we can define which method we are going to use in this protection group: Disk (short-term protection), Tape (long-term protection) or both. Only the available options will be displayed, in our article a tape library is not installed, so the Tape protection option is disabled. (Figure 04)


    Figure 04: Defining the Protection Group name and the method that will be utilized

  7. In the Specify Short-Term Goals page, we will define the Disk Based protection plan for the data and servers already selected. The options that we can define are how many days of retention, synchronization frequency and how often a recovery point will be created. At this point it is important to understand what the Synchronization Process and Recovery Point are for.

    Synchronization process

    DPM maintains a replica of the synchronized protected server data. All the information is stored in the DPM Storage Pool or in a custom volume. The synchronization process depends on the data that we are working with, as follows:
    • File data: the DPM agent uses a volume filter and the Operating system change journal to track which files have been changed, created or deleted since the last synchronization job.
    • Application data: the DPM Agent uses the VSS Application writer to identify which disk blocks have changed. Those changes will be applied to the DPM replica. If the application supports incremental backups a recovery point will be created for each synchronization (Exchange and SQL).

    To summarize, all changes made in the Protected Servers will be transferred to DPM Server in order to keep the replica updated on a regular basis.

    Recovery points

    A recovery point is a point-in-time version of the data protected by the DPM Server. We use recovery points to recover data. For file servers the recovery points allow the Administrator and users to recover data, for applications (such as Exchange and SQL) we are able to restore the data from recovery points and synchronize as well.

    In Figure 05 we can see how often a file recovery will occur, the retention range for the data and how often the data will be synchronized.


    Figure 05: Specifying short-term goals

    By clicking on the Modify button, we can define at which time and days we will be creating recovery points. We have to plan the number of recovery points carefully. If we have a higher number of recovery points per day it will decrease the retention range because we cannot have more than 64 recovery points for file data. PS: This 64 limit is not applied for applications. We have to run a recovery point at least once a week.

  8. Review Disk Allocation page. We can define space for Replica and Recovery Volumes, a graphical view of the current status of the Storage Pool will be shown (Figure 06). We can click on the Modify button to change the volume sizes; DPM uses the current volume information of the protected server to calculate the proper size.
    Important: We cannot shrink the size of a Disk Poll after definition; we must recreate the Protection Group, on other hand we can increase the current size without playing with the Protection Group.


    Figure 06: Defining the disk space allocation for the new Protection Group

    Nowadays, there is a storage calculator for Exchange (Data Protection Manager 2007 Storage Calculator) but in the future a spreadsheet wil be available for the another products (SQL, SharePoint, Virtual Server, etc).

  9. In the Choose Replica Creation Method page we can define how and when the initial replica of the selected data will be created. The initial replica can be done manually, immediately or at a scheduled time. (Figure 07)


    Figure 07: Defining when the initial replica will be executed

  10. Summary page. A list with all the defined settings will be shown in this page. The information should fit with the company requirements. In Figure 08 we can easily see that the protected shared folders will be kept for 5 days, data synchronization will occur every 30 minutes, and we will be able to recover the data 3 times in a day. To create the Protection Group with the defined settings click on Create Group.


    Figure 08: Summary of the information that will be used to create the Protection Group

  11. Status page. A final page showing the tasks performed to create the Protection Group will appear, just click on Close.

Now, we can open the Disk Administrator and we will see two new volumes in the DPM Storage Pool disks, those disks will be responsible for keeping the data of those shared folders in the Protection Group.

Examining the Protection task area

After creating the Protection Group we can view information about the selected Protection Group in the Details Pane. We can also tinker with the Protection Group through the Actions Toolbox where we can modify the disk allocation, perform consistent checks and create recovery points, as shown in Figure 09.


Figure 09: Additional information and the current status of the Protection Group

Conclusion

In this article we demonstrate how to create a protection group in DPM 2007. In the next and final article of this series we will be doing a restore of the shared folders which we protected in this article.

If you missed the previous parts in this article series please read:

Featured Links