Update Rollup 3 For DPM 2012 SP1 Is Fixed

It was widely reported that UR3 for System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Data Protection Manager had problems.  This was yet another bad update from Microsoft, providing ample evidence that you should not download/approve MSFT updates until they are at least 1 month old; why should you be the sucker that tests for Microsoft?

A fixed version of UR3 for DPM 2012 SP1 was released.  Note that anyone who installed the original version of UR3 will need to deploy the documented workaround.

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System Center Data Protection Manager CSV Serialization Tool

I recently blogged about the big changes In WS2012 Cluster Shared Volume (CSV).  The biggest changes are related to backup:

  • Single coordinated VSS snapshot
  • No more redirected IO

In Windows Server 2008 R2 CSV backup, we tried to use a hardware VSS provider to reduce the impacts of redirected IO.  But as it turns out, the multiple-snapshot-per-backup process of the past could cause problems for the hardware VSS provider and the SAN snapshot functionality.  In extreme cases, those problems could even lead to a CSV LUN “disappearing”.

If you had these problems and couldn’t get a better hardware VSS provider then you would switch to using the system VSS provider (using the VSS functionality that is built into Windows Server and does not use SAN snapshot features).  You’d be forced to use the system VSS provider if your SAN did not have support or licensing for a hardware (physical SAN) or software (software SAN) VSS provider.

If you were using the system VSS provider to backup W2008 R2 CSV then Microsoft recommended you to do something called serialization of your CSV backup (see here for DPM 2010 instructions).  This process creates (using PowerShell) and uses an XML file that is read by DPM.  Nice and simple if you have one DPM server for every W2008 R2 Hyper-V cluster.  But what if you had lots of clusters backed up by a single DPM server?  It meant you had to manually merge the XML files, and that would be a nightmare in a cloud where there is nothing but change.

Microsoft has released the System Center Data Protection Manager CSV Serialization Tool to help you in this scenario.  This tool is intended to be used when backing up Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V clusters with one or more CSVs using DPM 2010 with QFE 3 and above or DPM 2012.

You do not need to use this tool with WS2012 CSV.

The downloads include the PS1 PowerShell script to create an XML file for each cluster and a tool to consolidate those XML files for DPM to use. 

Why release this tool?  Lots of people will have W2008 R2 clusters and won’t be in a position to upgrade them now or ever:

  • Change to production systems can be restricted, e.g. pharmaceuticals.
  • They might have licensed without Software Assurance and can’t upgrade their hosts until there is licensing budget.
  • They might build new clusters/hosts using WS2012 and have to leave existing VMs where they are until there is a suitable maintenance window.  For a public cloud, this could have to be scheduled well in advance.

This free tool will allow those sorts of environments to reduce DPM administrative effort.

Licensing DPM 2010

Two of the System Center products that are generally available have unusual licensing.  System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 is one of those 2 unusual ones.

Typically for an installation you will buy:

  • A server license: For example System Center Operations Manager, optionally with SQL Server – and don’t forget the Windows to run it on.
  • Management licenses: for each machine that will be managed by the management server(s)

DPM 2010 doesn’t follow that model.  Instead, you actually the the DPM server license free if you buy one or more management licenses.

Note that you still have to buy the Windows Server license that the DPM server will be installed on.  You also must buy a copy of SQL Server 2008 Standard/Enterprise/Datacenter (and install SP1). 

“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”.

DPM 2010 comes with a copy of SQL that doesn’t have a product key.  If you install this SQL you can put in a purchased product key, or you can leave it blank to use the evaluation license which will expire.

“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”.

There are a bunch of ways to purchase management licenses (agents) for DPM:

  • System Center Server Management Suite Standard: For bulk managing a server with more than one System System Center Server Management Suite Enterprise: For a small virtualisation host (max 4 VMs)
  • System Center Server Management Suite Datacenter: For a virtualisation host with more than 4 VMs max
  • System Center Client Management Suite: for bulk management of PCs
  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 Standard: For a server with basic backup (more later on this)
  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 Enterprise: For a server with advanced backup (more later on this)
  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 client management licenses: For backing up a PC

Most backup products have complex agent licensing:

  • Basic backup agent
  • Open file backup
  • SQL backup
  • Exchange backup
  • Direct to disk backup … and so on

DPM is much simpler in comparison.  There are two basic levels of agent for backing up a server: Standard and Advanced.  The following table describes how to choose between them:

Functionality or Workload

Required Server Management Licenses

Basic file backup and recovery management by instances of the server software of:

  • operating system components
  • utilities
  • service workloads running in the licensed OSE
  • these security workloads: Firewall, Proxy, Intrusion detection and prevention, Anti-virus management, Application security gateway, Content filtering (which includes URL filtering and Spam), Network forensics, Security information management, and Vulnerability assessment in order to safeguard the network and host.
  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 Standard Server Management License, or
  • System Center Server Management Suite Standard

In other words, a Standard management license is required to do basic file backup.

Backup and recovery, including basic file backup and recovery, by instances of the server software of:

  • the server system state
  • all operating system components
  • all utilities
  • all server workloads
  • any applications running in the licensed OSE
  • System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 Enterprise Server Management License, or
  • System Center Server Management Suite Enterprise, or
  • System Center Server Management Suite Datacenter

In other words, an Enterprise management license is required to backup system state and application workloads.


You can read more about this and licensing for all of  the Microsoft products in the Product Usage Rights (PUR) document.  Note that this stuff changes from time to time and the PUR is the only official source.

So lets look at 2 examples:

Example 1

I want to back up the following:

  • Files only from a file server
  • SQL database server
  • Domain controller and System State

I would need to buy a server to install DPM on.  This will require SQL Server Standard (or higher) and a copy of Windows Server.

For the file server (files only) backup I can get 1 Standard DPM ML (management license).  For the other 2 machines, I will need 1 Enterprise DPM ML each.  Buying DPM MLs entitles me to a DPM server license.  I can even do DPM2DPM4DR replication to a DPM server in another site and get a free DPM server license for that too.

Example 2

I have a virtualisation cluster (Hyper-V/VMware/Xen) with 30 VMs. There are 2 hosts, each has 2 CPUs.  I can buy 30 DPM MLs … but if my reseller is doing their homework (like we do!) we’ll have noticed that buying the System Center Management Suite Datacenter edition (1 per CPU, minimum 2 per host) might work out cheaper.  As a customer, I get management licenses for all System Center products for my hosts and all current and future VMs on the hosts … and for less than just buying backup licenses.  If I’m a consulting company selling the solution, I know that there’s more work and solutions in that licensing that I can provide to my customer at a later point.

And once again, we’ll need a DPM server … buy the hardware, buy/put Windows Server and SQL Server on it, and install the free DPM server license.

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More on Private Cloud Academy

I presented session 2 in the Private Cloud Academy series last Friday in Microsoft Ireland.  That event focused on SCVMM 2008 R2 with SP1, Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0, and Operations Manager 2007 R2 with PRO integration (with SCVMM).  It was a very demo driven session.  I had 25 slides but I probably only used half of them.  And as usual, there were lots of questions.

The next event was originally scheduled for March 18th but it has been rescheduled to March 25th.  Session 3 will focus on System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 and how you can use it in a virtualised environment.

I’ll start off with a high level view of backup and virtualisation.  For example, VM’s are usually “just” files making them easier to backup, restore, and replicate.  One of the biggest things people need to understand when backing up a Hyper-V cluster is how redirected I/O affects operations when using CSV.  And that means spending quite a bit of time on how a cluster should be designed.  That leads to backup strategy.

Once the theory is done we’ll get into the usual end-to-end demos.  I’ll be backing up VM’s on a CSV, backing up SQL workloads, and so on.  Then we move onto site-site replication of DPM, and maybe even automated restoration of VM’s in a secondary site.

If time permits, I’ll go on to talk about DR design possibilities, seeing as it is a related subject.

Sound interesting?  If so, go ahead and register if you can make it to Dublin (Ireland) on the day.

How to Backup Hyper-V with DPM 2010

There is a chapter in my book (by my co-author) on it so I won’t dwell too much time on this subject.  Microsoft released a brochure for Data Protection Manager 2010 and how to use it to backup Hyper-V.  Here’s the readers digest version:

  • You can install an agent in the VM, like you would with a physical box.  That’s a good idea for selective backup of things like SharePoint, SQL, Exchange, etc, where you want to do granular backup/recovery of applications.
  • You should backup at the storage level.  Don’t think of it as the host level.
  • For non-clustered hosts, you install an agent on the host and it backs up at the storage level using VSS.
  • For a cluster, you use a storage VSS provider (choose your storage wisely) and it backs up the CSV(s) using VSS … that triggers VSS in the VM’s and the VSS writers in the VM’s guest operating system for a nice clean backup.
  • It’s best to install DPM 2010 on a physical box.  This means you can enable the Hyper-V role.  This reveals DLLs that allow DPM to access the contents of a protected VHD and perform item level recovery from it.
  • Only use passthrough disks for DPM storage if you install it on a VM.

System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 Documentation

Some documentation has been published by Microsoft for DPM 2010:

Wonder why I post this stuff?  Because I can find it more easily on my blog than I can on the net.  I really do use my blog as my personal notebook.

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Data Protection Manager 2010 Webcast

I joined this late due to a phone conference.

This is a System Center Influencers briefing on Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010.

The Aims

  • Single supported solution for Microsoft workloads
  • Single agent, no workload licensing
  • Enterprise scalability in the 2010 release

New Workload Additions

  • Cluster Shared Volume
  • Exchange 2010
  • SharePoint 2010

It supports OS’s going back to XP SP2.


  • Self-service end user restore from Explorer or Office
  • Self-service DBA restrore from within SQL
  • Auto protection of new databases
  • Protect 1000’s of databases per DPM server
  • Recover 2005 DB’s to SQL 2008
  • Auto protection of new content databases in SharePoint farms
  • Protect the farm, restore the document
  • Optimizations for the new and many Exchange architectures


  • CSV support
  • Item level recovery from within a VHD
  • Alternate host recovery

Client Protection

  • 1000 clients per DPM server
  • “User data only”.  Don’t protect the entire machine.
  • Uses VSS in Vista and Windows 7
  • Policy allows you to protect specific folders, so there’s no end user set up.
  • User can restore from local VSS while offline, or DPM while online.
  • While offline, the PC continues to make VSS copies and will sync them to DPM when it is online again.
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Automatically Protect New VM’s on DPM 2010 and On Secondary Server

Microsoft has published some scripts via a blog to accomplish two things when backing up VM’s at the host level:

  1. Detect when new VM’s are created and back them up.
  2. Also replicate those backups to a secondary DPM server when using DPM2DPM4DR
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Data Protection Manager 2010 Release Candidate

Microsoft released the RC (pre-RTM) of System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010, Microsoft’s backup solution.  As I mentioned last week, DPM 2010 includes lots of new features to simplify backups using Microsoft’s solution.  That would be the one criticism of the MS solution; 3rd party solutions seem to make it easier for the admin.

The thing that Hyper-V administrators will be eager to get their hands on when it RTM’s is the ability to backup VM’s at the host level when the VM’s are stored on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV).

There is a MS webcast video on DPM 2010 here.  You can download the release candidate from Connect.

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DPM 2010 Storage Sizing Beta

Microsoft has released a beta for sizing storage requirements for System Center Data Protection Manager 2010.  It’s 3 Excel spread sheets. 

“These DRAFT storage calculators are for use with those planning DPM 2010 (beta) deployments – with specific calculators for Hyper-V, SharePoint and Exchange environments”

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