Setting up DPM in Azure

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There are three ways to set up and use DPM in Azure:

 Download the System Center binaries to a new Azure IaaS VM and install DPM.

 Use the DPM evaluation virtual hard disk (VHD) as the image for a new Azure IaaS VM.

 Upload the VHD to Azure from an existing DPM VM on-premises, and use the uploaded VHD as the image for a new Azure IaaS VM.

These three options have varying degrees of simplicity and utility, depending on how comfortable you are with using DPM. For example, existing users of DPM might find it easier to configure everything on-premises and just upload the preconfigured VHD to Azure for use. The evaluation VHD is ideal for users trying out DPM who want to get started quickly. This chapter covers the first option in greater detail, that is, a full installation of DPM after downloading the System Center binaries.

Source of Information : Microsoft System Center

SharePoint backup process

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DPM coordinates the backup across multiple servers in the farm to back up data. After backup is done, DPM queries the SharePoint object model and gets all the information about the site and items from the SharePoint server. SharePoint protection uses the SharePoint VSS writer to protect the entire farm. SharePoint VSS writer is a referential writer, and DPM uses the SharePoint VSS writer to obtain the SharePoint topology, such as the SharePoint content databases and the configuration database that are part of the SharePoint farm. With this information, the SQL Server configuration and content databases are backed up.

As far as SQL Server backup is concerned, it uses exactly the same workflow as backing up SQL Server databases as discussed in the previous section. The data movement for the SQL Server databases happen from the SQL Server machine to the DPM replica server directly, and the SharePoint front-end server and the VSS writer are not involved. Each content database is backed up independently since there is no referential integrity or consistency requirements across the database in a SharePoint farm.

For example, assume the SharePoint farm contains contentDB1, contentDB2, and configDB on SQL1 instance and contentDB3 and contentDB4 on SQL2 instance. SQL1 instance databases contentDB1.mdf, contentDB1.ldf, contentDB2.mdf, contentDB2.ldf, and configDB.mdf are backed up directly from SQL Server SQL1 machine, whereas contentDB3.mdf, contentDB3.ldf, contentDB4.mdf, and contentDB4.ldf are backed up directly from the SQL Server SQL2 machine. It is critical to note that although SQL backup is taken by the SQL VSS writer, transaction log backup is done as part of SharePoint SQL server backup.

SharePoint supports partial backup. Since SharePoint farms can be large, failure to back up
a single database in the farm doesn’t result in complete farm backup failure. Backups for one or more databases can fail, but a recovery point is created with all other databases. Similarly,
when a new content database is added, its initial replica is seeded to the DPM replica server
through a nightly job. To immediately add a content database to the protection group, you
can add it manually.

Source of Information : Microsoft System Center

SharePoint protection

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At a high level, SharePoint consists of front-end web servers, a SharePoint configuration database, and SharePoint content databases. The main goal of protecting a SharePoint farm is to protect the content that is stored in the SQL Server content database, as well as the configuration of the SharePoint farm so that the SharePoint farm can be recovered in the event of a disaster, data loss, or corruption.

To protect a SharePoint farm, complete the following steps:

1.Install the DPM agent on the front-end servers and on each of the SQL Serverinstances that back the SharePoint farm. If the SQL Server instance is configured inAlwaysOn configuration, install the DPM agents on each of the servers that span theavailability group.

2.Configure the front-end server for SharePoint protection using theConfigureSharePoint cmdlet:
ConfigureSharePoint [-EnableSharePointProtection] [-EnableSPSearchProtection] [-ResolveAllSQLAliases] [-SetTempPath ]

3.Use the DPM console to create a new protection group and select the member serveras the front-end web server to be configured for protection.

Source of Information : Microsoft System Center

SQL Server backup process

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Similar to Hyper-V VM backup, DPM leverages VSS technology to take application-consistent snapshots of SQL Server. The VSS file specification provides a list of all the .mdf, .ndf, and .ldf files that are associated for a given database that is enabled for backup. DPM maintains a bitmap file filter that tracks the blocks of SQL Server database files that are changed. For each synchronization event, SQL Server is quiesced, a volume snapshot is taken, and a stable point in time of .mdf, .ndf, and .ldf files are copied to the replica server. With DPM file filters and the change bitmap, only delta changes between the current synchronization and previous synchronization are copied to the DPM replica. With express full technology, customers can essentially do a full back up every day efficiently, both in terms of data transfer as well as storage on the replica server.

In addition, to express full backup, DPM ships a transaction log to the DPM replica storage, thereby minimizing data loss up to 15 minutes. While express full backup is efficient in terms of data transfer and storage on the replica, it is expensive on the disk IOPS since storage snapshots are maintained on the production server while the backup data is being copied. Transaction log backup, alternatively, is lightweight and enables up to a 15-minute recovery point objective (RPO).


Self-service recovery of SQL Server databases
DPM can be configured to enable self-service recovery for a group of users. The first step is to configure a DPM role using the Configure Self Service Recovery option in the Protection view in the DPM console. The list of users that are allowed to perform self-service recovery are added to the role from Active Directory. The specific set of databases that are allowed for self-service recovery are added to the DPM role. The target recovery SQL Server instances are added to the DPM role.

When this option is configured, the end users can install the Self-Service Recovery Tool (SSRT) from System Center 2012 on their client computers and perform SQL Server database restore without the intervention of the backup administrator.

Source of Information : Microsoft System Center

SQL Server protection

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DPM enables protection of SQL Server in various configurations. Typical SQL server configurations include standalone SQL Server, SQL Server deployed in a clustered environment with Windows Server Failover Clustering as well as SQL Server deployed as an AlwaysOn availability group. With the latest update rollup, DPM 2012 R2 also supports SQL Server 2014 along with all other major versions of SQL Server, such as SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2008, on all major Windows Server versions. In earlier versions of SQL Server, such as SQL Server 2008 where SQL AlwaysOn technology is not available, DPM enables protection of SQL Server in a database mirroring configuration. In a mirroring configuration, protection of the principal database is available, although not on the mirrored database. DPM doesn’t support SQL Server backup when it has database files stored on a remote SMB file share or Windows scale-out file server. DPM also doesn’t support databases whose data is stored on Windows Azure blob storage.

SQL Server can be deployed in a physical machine or inside a VM. The DPM agent must be installed on the SQL Server machine. If SQL Server is configured in a clustered mode or as a SQL AlwaysOn cluster, the DPM agent needs to be installed on all the nodes that are failover targets for the SQL Server instance. If cluster members are added, DPM needs to be installed on the newly added cluster nodes as well.

In SQL Server AlwaysOn deployments, DPM honors Preferred Replica, Replica Only, Any Replica, and Primary preferences set by the SQL Server administrator (see Figure 3-3). However, for Preferred Replica, DPM always backs up only from the replica node. When Availability Group is selected for protection, all databases that are added to the availability group are automatically backed up.

In a SQL Server deployment, a user can enable auto protection of all databases within the SQL Server instance. This enables managing backup in a dynamic environment where databases are added or deleted from a SQL Server instance without requiring backup administrator intervention. In an auto protection mode, there is no mechanism to turn off backup of subset of databases, for example, a master or model database. Also, with auto protection, it is important to manage the size of the replica storage pool so that it doesn’t run out of space.

During the restore process, an administrator can take one of the following actions:
 Recover the entire database to the original SQL Server instance
 Recover the database and rename it
 Recover to an alternate database instance
 Copy the database backup files to a restore folder in a network share

Source of Information : Microsoft System Center

Exchange Server protection

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With Exchange Server, customers enjoy 14 days of backup with database availability groups. However, DPM provides an excellent way to retain data for an even longer period of time. DPM enables protection to tape or to Azure for long-term backup archiving.

DPM 2012 R2 and DPM 2012 SP1 support backup of Exchange Server 2013, Exchange Server 2010, and Exchange Server 2007. With Exchange Server 2013, DPM supports backup of not only servers running Exchange but also databases configured in a database availability group (DAG). Each node of a DAG can be backed up individually with the same DPM server or with a different DPM server.

With Exchange recovery, DPM can recover a single mailbox. The mailbox database is recovered to a recovery database, and then the individual mailbox is recovered. An entire Exchange database or the entire Exchange server can be recovered if it is protected with bare metal backup.

Source of Information : Microsoft System Center

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