Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

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by Steve Buchanan | May 2011 | Enterprise Articles Microsoft

Microsoft Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010 is a backup and recovery solution which provides continuous data protection for Windows application and file servers to seamlessly integrated disk, tape, and cloud.

This article by Steve Buchanan, author of Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010, aims to provide you with an overview as well as guidance on the day to day administration and management of DPM. We will cover important tasks that you need to know and understand to maintain your DPM server. Specifically, we will cover:

  • DPM structure
  • DPM Administrator Console
  • DPM general maintenance
  • DPM reporting
  • Managing DPM performance

 

Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010

Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010

A practical step-by-step guide to planning deployment, installation, configuration, and troubleshooting of Data Protection Manager 2010

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DPM structure

In this section we will look at the DPM file structure in order to have a better understanding of where DPM stores its components. We will also look at important processes that DPM runs and what they are used for. There will be some hints and tips that you should know about that will be useful when administering DPM.

DPM file locations

It is important to know not only how DPM operates, but also to know the structure that is underneath the application. Understanding the structure of where the DPM components are will help you with administering and troubleshooting DPM if the need arises. The following are some important locations:

  • The DPM database backups are stored in the following location. Also when you make backup shadow copies for the replicas these will be stored in this directory. You would make backup show copies of your replicas if you were archiving them using a third-party backup solution:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM\Volumes\ShadowCopy\Database Backups
  • The following directory is where DPM is installed:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\
  • The following directory contains PowerShell scripts that come with DPM. There are many scripts that can be used for performing common DPM tasks.
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM\bin
  • The following folder contains the database and files for SQL reporting services:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\SQL
  • The following directory contains the SQL DPM database. MDF and LDF files:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM\DPMDB
  • The following directory stores shadow copy volumes that are recovery points for a data source. These essentially are the changed blocks of VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) (Shadow Copy).
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM\Volumes\DiffArea
  • The following folder contains mounted replica volumes. Mounted replica volumes are essentially pointers for every protected data object that points to the partition in a DPM storage pool. Think of these mounted replica points as a map from DPM to the protected data on the hard drives where the actual protected data lives.
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM\Volumes\Replica

DPM processes

We are now going to explore DPM processes. The executable files for these are all located in C:\Program Files\Microsoft DPM\DPM\bin. You can view these processes in Windows Task Manager and they show up in Windows Services as well:

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

The following screenshot shows the DPM services as they appear in Windows Services:

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

We will look at what each of these processes are and what they do. We will also look at the processes that have an impact on the performance of your DPM server. The processes are as follows:

  • DPMAMService.exe: In Windows Services this is listed as the DPM AccessManager Service. This manages access to DPM.
  • DpmWriter.exe: This is a service as well, so you will see it on the services list. This service is used for archiving. It manages the backup shadow copies or replicas, backups of report databases, as well as DPM backups.
  • Msdpm.exe: The DPM service is the core component of DPM. The DPM service manages all core DPM operations, including replica creation, synchronization, and recovery point creation. This service implements and manages synchronization and shadow copy creation for protected file servers.
  • DPMLA.exe: This is the DPM Library Agent Service.
  • DPMRA.exe: This is the DPM Replication Agent. It helps to back up and recover file and application data to DPM.
  • Dpmac.exe: This is known as the DPM Agent Coordinator Service. This manages the installations, uninstallations, and upgrades of DPM protection agents on remote computers that you need to protect.

DPM processes that impact DPM performance

The Msdpm.exe, MsDpmProtectionAgent.exe, Microsoft$DPM$Acct.exe, and mmc.exe processes take a toll on DPM performance. mmc.exe is a standard Windows service. "MMC" stands for Microsoft Management Console application and is used to display various management plug-ins. Not all but a good amount of Microsoft server applications run in the MMC such as Exchange, ISA, IIS, System Center, and the Microsoft Server Manager. The DPM Administrator Console runs in an MMC as well. mmc.exe can cause high memory usage. The best way to ensure that this process does not overload your memory is to close the DPM Administrator Console when not using it.

MsDpmProtectionAgent.exe is the DPM Protection Agent service and affects both CPU and memory usage when DPM jobs and consistency checks are run. There is nothing you can do to get the usage down for this service. You just need to be aware of this and try not to schedule any other resource intensive applications such as antivirus scans at the same time as DPM jobs or consistency checks.

Mspdpm.exe is a service that runs synchronization and shadow copy creations as stated previously. Like MsDpmProtectionAgent.exe, Mspdpm.exe also affects CPU and memory usage when running synchronizations and shadow copies. Like MsDpmProtectionAgent.exe there is nothing you can do to the Mspdpm. exe service to reduce memory and CPU usage. Just make sure to keep the system clear of resource intensive applications when the Mspdpm.exe is running jobs. If you are running a local SQL instance for your DPM deployment you will notice a Microsoft$DPM$Acct.exe process. The SQL Server and SQL Agent services use a Microsoft$DPM$Acct account. This normally runs on a high level. This service reserves part of your system's memory for cache. If the system memory goes low, the Microsoft$DPM$Acct.exe process will let go of the memory cache it has reserved.

Important DPM terms

In this section you will learn some important terms used commonly in DPM. You will need to understand these terms as you begin to administer DPM on a regular basis. You can read the full list of terms at this site:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb795543.aspx

We group the terms in a way that each group relates to an area of DPM. The following are some important terms:

  • Bare metal recovery: This is a restore technique that allows one to restore a complete system onto bare metal, without any requirements, to the previous hardware. This allows restoring to dissimilar hardware.
  • Change journal: A feature that tracks changes to NTFS (New Technology File System) volumes, including additions, deletions, and modifications. The change journal exists on the volume as a sparse file. Sparse files are used to make disk space usage more efficient in NTFS. A sparse file allocates disk space only when it is needed. This allows files to be created even when there is insufficient space on a hard drive. These files contain zeroes instead of disk blocks.
  • Consistency check: The process by which DPM checks for and corrects inconsistencies between a protected data source and its replica. A consistency check is only performed when normal mechanisms for recording changes to protected data, and for applying those changes to replicas, have been interrupted.
  • Express full backup: A synchronization operation in which the protection agent transfers a snapshot of all the blocks that have changed since the previous express full backup (or initial replica creation, for the first express full backup).
  • Shadow copy: A point-in-time copy of files and folders that is stored on the DPM server. Shadow copies are sometimes referred to as snapshots.
  • Shadow copy client software: Client software that enables an end-user to independently recover data by retrieving a shadow copy.
  • Replica: A complete copy of the protected data on a single volume, database, or storage group. Each member of a protection group is associated with a replica on the DPM server.
  • Replica creation: The process by which a full copy of data sources, selected for inclusion in a protection group, is transferred to the DPM storage pool. The replica can be created over the network from data on the protected computer or from a tape backup system. Replica creation is an initialization process that is performed for each data source when the data source is added to a protection group.
  • Replica volume: A volume on the DPM server that contains the replica for a protected data source.
  • Custom volume: A volume that is not in the DPM storage pool and is specified to store the replica and recovery points for a protection group member.
  • Dismount: To remove a removable tape or disc from a drive.
  • DPM Alerts log: A log that stores DPM alerts as Windows events so that the alerts can be displayed in Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).
  • DPMDB.mdf: The filename of the DPM database, the SQL Server database that stores DPM settings and configuration information.
  • DPMDBReaders group: A group, created during DPM installation, that contains all accounts that have read-only access to the DPM database. The DPMReport account is a member of this group.
  • DPMReport account: The account that the Web and NT services of SQL Server Reporting Services use to access the DPM database. This account is created when an administrator configures DPM reporting.
  • MICROSOFT$DPM$: The name that the DPM setup assigns to the SQL Server instance used by DPM.
  • Microsoft$DPMWriter$ account: The low-privilege account under which DPM runs the DPM Writer service. This account is created during the DPM installation.
  • MSDPMTrustedMachines group: A group that contains the domain accounts for computers that are authorized to communicate with the DPM server. DPM uses this group to ensure that only computers that have the DPM protection agent installed from a specific DPM server can respond to calls from that server.
  • Protection configuration: The collection of settings that is common to a protection group; specifically, the protection group name, disk allocations, replica creation method, and on-the-wire compression.
  • Protection group: A collection of data sources that share the same protection configuration.
  • Protection group member: A data source within a protection group.
  • Protected computer: A computer that contains data sources that are protection group members.
  • Synchronization: The process by which DPM transfers changes from the protected computer to the DPM server, and applies the changes to the replica of the protected volume.
  • Recovery goals: The retention range, data loss tolerance, and frequency of recovery points for protected data.
  • Recovery collection: The aggregate of all recovery jobs associated with a single recovery operation.
  • Recovery point: The date and time of a previous version of a data source that is available for recovery from media that is managed by DPM.
  • Report database: The SQL Server database that stores DPM reporting information (ReportServer.mdf).
  • ReportServer.mdf: In DPM, the filename for the report database—a SQL Server database that stores reporting information.
  • Retention range: Duration of time for which the data should be available for recovery.
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DPM Administrator Console

In this section you will learn about the DPM Administrator Console, its layout, task areas, and functions in them. The DPM administrator interface gives you one place to access all DPM areas and functions. The DPM Administrator Console is the central tool that is used to manage the application. Knowing the DPM Administrator Console will assist you down the road when administering DPM.

(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge it.)

Menu

The menu bar is an important part of the DPM Console and contains the following menus: File, Action, View, and Help. Now let's look at each of these four menus.

File

The File menu is similar to the one you would see in your standard MMC interface. The File menu contains Options and Exit. Selecting Options will allow you to run a disk clean-up of stored console changes. Selecting Exit from the File menu is one way of closing the DPM Console.

Action

The items in the Action option on the menu bar can also be found on the right-hand side in the Actions Pane. Tasks such as configuring notifications, and Auto Discovery, as well as other tasks such as end-user recovery can all be found under Options item and are system wide. The Help item gives you a help file for DPM and MMC itself.

View

The View menu has a link to the DPM community website (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff399133.aspx) and gives you another way to get to the task areas.

Help

Here you will find help on DPM and on the MMC itself. You will also find a link to Microsoft's Tech Center website. The About Microsoft Data Protection Manager does not contain this version.

Navigation

The Navigation section contains five task areas. These areas are Monitoring, Protection, Recovery, Reporting, and Management. Let's break each area down in more detail so you can better understand what their functions are.

Monitoring

The Monitoring task area contains two tabs: Alerts and Jobs.

Alerts

The Alerts tab shows informational alerts, warnings, and errors. You have the option to show inactive or active alerts and you can group these messages in several ways by severity, protection groups, or computers. You can also choose to get notifications via e-mail when certain types of alerts occur. There are four types of alert levels. They are: Current problems (critical alerts), Potential problems (warning alerts), Important activity (informational alerts), and Recommended actions.

On the Alerts tab you have the option to manually mark an alert as inactive. You can do this by right-clicking on the alert and choosing Inactivate alert. Doing this will make the alert inactive and mark the protected object as OK. Marking an alert as inactive is a bad practice and should not be done unless absolutely necessary. This will make the error or warning go away without actually fixing the problem. By default when you fix an error or warning, the alert will automatically become inactive and the protection object will be marked as OK.

Jobs

The Jobs task area contains all the information on your DPM jobs. This includes jobs that are currently in progress, failed jobs, scheduled jobs that will run in the future, and past jobs that were successful or failed. Within the jobs tab you can also see what jobs are running or scheduled for protected computer(s), protection group(s), how long past jobs ran for, and resources that were used for the job. On the jobs tab you can right-click on any running or scheduled job and chose cancel to stop the job from running. If a job fails and you want to know why it failed, you can click on that job and in the Details screen you will see more information about why this job failed. You can also filter the list of jobs that are displayed. You can filter on these various options: job status, job, protection group, or computer.

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Protection

This area is used to manage your protection groups. Protection groups are protected computers that are grouped together. This area gives you a view of all your protection groups at once. You can expand each protection group to see its protection members. You use this area to create protection groups, rename them, adjust protection group schedules, and adjust disk allocation sizes.

You can also run manual synchronizations and consistency checks from here. This is helpful if a protection member becomes inconsistent.

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Recovery

The Recovery area is the place you go to get your data back. You have two options here:

  • The first one is to browse through based on protection groups and the day and time you want to recover from. You can drill down to the folder and file level.
  • The second option you have is to search for data you want to recover. This comes in handy if a user wants some data back and he or she knows the name of the data but not what server it was on. This option enables you to search for the data without knowing the server it was on. You have several parameters you can set to help narrow down your searches. You will see in the following image the parameters you are able to set:

    Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Reporting

The Reporting task area is pretty straightforward. You use this area to manage Reporting Services settings, generate schedules, and view your DPM reports. We will cover how to do report tasks later in this article.

NOTE: Once you start protecting data it still takes up to at least 24 hours before you can get reports from DPM that contain data. DPM needs time to populate data for the reports.

Management

The Management area is where you manage storage pools, tape libraries, and your protection agents. This is where you can add or remove protection agents, disks to your storage pool, and tapes or tape libraries.

You have three tabs in Management. These three tabs are Agents, Disks, and Libraries. Under the Agents tab you can install and remove agents on computers that you want to protect. On the Agents tab you can also see a list of computers that you are currently protecting. On this Agents tab you will also notice that you can see what type and how many DPM licenses you currently have. Note that this information is only as accurate as the person entering the license information:

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

On the Disks tab you can add and remove disks from your DPM storage pool. You can also see what disks are currently added and how much of the disks are used up. When you click on a disk in the display pane, more information is shown in the Details pane about the disk such as state of health and what data is being protected on a particular disk. This is very helpful when trying to figure out what data is on what disk in your DPM storage pool.

(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge it.)

The Libraries tab is similar to the Disk tab in what it shows you and what you can do, except this is for tapes. This allows you to see tape libraries or single tape units. It lets you see what tapes are available and allows you to rescan the tapes. You can also clean drives and disable them by right-clicking on one of them.

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Keep an eye on the options on the Action pane on the right side of the window when in the Libraries tab. There are many options for managing your tape library or tape unit.

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Display pane

The display pane shows you information that pertains to the task area you are currently in. For example, if you are in the Protection area you will see protection groups and the data you can restore from. If you are in the Reporting area you will see the different reports that you can work with. Each task area may look different in the display pane. For example, the Recovery tab will only have two tabs while the Management tab will have several tabs to choose from in the display pane.

The following image shows the Recovery tab:

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

This image shows the Management tab:

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Details pane

The Details pane ties into the display pane. When you select an item in the display pane, details about the selected object will show up in the details pane. For example, if you were in the Protection area and selected a protection group in the display pane, detailed information such as the status, properties and other important information will show in the Details pane.

Information icon

When you click on the information icon you will get a popup that gives you the product ID, DPM version, the SQL instance that the DPM database is on, as well as a link to Microsoft Software License Terms and to the System Center Data Protection Manager Community website.

Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Actions pane

The Action pane gives you certain tasks you can do that relate to the current task area you have selected. For example, if you were in the Reporting area you will notice on the Actions pane you have the options to select View or Schedule. This will change with every task area. Basically it is another way of doing things with the task areas in DPM.

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DPM general maintenance

There are many things that will come up when maintaining a DPM server. We will cover some best practices in regards to maintenance.

Restarting the DPM server

When the time comes for you to restart your DPM server, you should check a few things first to make sure you don't cause any issues with DPM. You should check the monitoring task area in DPM for jobs that are running and take note of scheduled jobs.

You don't want to restart the DPM server if a scheduled job is about to kick off during the restart time. If there is a shadow copy creation or replica creation job that is scheduled to start you will want to postpone your restart until after these jobs finish. If a restart happens during the shadow copy creation or replica creation you will need to perform manual tasks to correct these jobs. You will need to run a synchronization with a consistency check for the replica creation and run a synchronization and create a shadow copy for the create shadow copies job. The best practice is to not restart your DPM server often and if you need to, be sure no DPM related tasks are running or scheduled.

Running antivirus on a DPM server

Disable the antivirus software real-time monitoring of csc.exe and dpmra.exe on your DPM server. Additionally the antivirus to add is the antivirus software scanning of the \XSD and \Temp\MTA directories should also be disabled. Doing this will prevent file conflicts between DPM and antivirus programs.

The last thing to remember when it comes to antivirus software on your DPM server, is to always set your antivirus software to delete infected files rather than cleaning or quarantining them. Deleting infected files will ensure that DPM does not throw errors for corrupted data.

Disk Defragmenter and Check Disk

Do not run Disk Defragmenter on any disks that are members of a DPM storage pool. Defragmenting a disk in a DPM storage pool could cause shadow copies to be lost. You would not want to run Check Disk either. Running Check Disk on DPM recovery point and replica volumes will cause the volumes to dismount and cause loss of recovery points. Also Disk Cleanup is not available to disks or volumes in DPM storage pools. DPM typically does its own management of disks and there are some manual operations you can perform to clean up your DPM disks. The manual tasks are done via PowerShell.

Windows update on a DPM server

As we know in system administration, it is important to keep our servers patched and updated. The same is true for your DPM server. The best practice is to use Windows updates for your DPM updates. These updates will be applied along with your standard server OS updates. This will save you time applying the DPM updates at the same time. There is one exception to receiving all your updates for DPM through Windows updates. The exception is when you need to install full DPM service packs. DPM service packs should typically be downloaded and installed separately. These typically contain several patches and fixes. You will want to fully understand the effects this may have on your DPM server.

Moving DPM to a different SQL instance

It is always the best practice to decide on where you are going to store the DPM database before your DPM installation. You need to choose between using a local or remote SQL instance. However the need may arise to move your DPM database to another SQL instance. Moving the DPM SQL database is possible. You need to use the DpmSync tool to perform this task. The following steps show how to move a DPM database to a different SQL instance:

  1. First, stop the DPM to ensure no DPM jobs are running. You can ensure this by stopping the DPM service (Msdpm.exe) on your DPM server.
  2. Perform a standard SQL back up of the DPM database through SQL Management studio. You want a full backup and should end up with a .bak file when done.
  3. Uninstall the DPM application and choose retain data during the uninstallation process.
  4. Restart your DPM server.
  5. Install DPM again and choose the SQL instance you want to install the DPM database on. Remember if you are moving away from a remote SQL instance to a local SQL instance, SQL server will be installed on the DPM server.
  6. When the installation is finished, stop the DPM again by stopping the DPM service (Msdpm.exe).
  7. Now you need to use the DpmSync tool to restore the DPM database that you backed up. You also need to synchronize the DPM database backup after it is restored.
  8. Run this command to restore the DPM database:

    DpmSync -RestoreDb -DbLocYOURBACKUPPATH:\DPMDB.bak.

  9. Run this command to synchronize the DPM database:

    DpmSync -RestoreDb -DbLoc location -INSTANCENAME SEVERNAME\
    INSTANCENAME

Removing and replacing a disk in the storage pool

To replace a disk in a DPM storage pool you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Locate the disks/volumes that contain the replicas.
  2. Remove the protected data from the DPM.
  3. Now go to the Management task area and then select the Disks tab.
  4. Chose the disk you need to remove, right-click on this and select Remove.

    Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

  5. Remove the physical disk and install the new physical disk.
  6. Once the new disk is installed go back to DPM Management and add the new disk to your storage pool.

    NOTE: Neither moving a DPM to a new domain nor renaming a DPM server should ever be done; this is not supported by Microsoft.

DPM reporting

Reporting is important when it comes to back ups. It is useful to know how your backup environment is doing because back ups are critical to business continuity. We are going to look at DPM reporting in this section.

Monitoring with reports and alert notifications

The purpose of DPM reporting is to provide backup administrators with a way to pull reports on a DPM server. This helps an administrator know the health of their DPM environment.

DPM has both new and historical reporting. New reports are current reports that you can pull on the fly. Historical reports are reports that are scheduled to run at a later time. DPM reports are generated by SQL Reporting Services. SQL Reporting Services is also the tool that collects the data for the reports. This is why SQL reporting is required as a part of the DPM installation. There are several types of DPM reports that you can view to gain an understanding of what's going on with your DPM environment.

The following is a list of the DPM report types and what they are used for:

  • Disk utilization report: This provides an overview of your disk capacity, allocation, and usage of disk space in the DPM storage pool.
  • Recovery report: This report type contains the history of all recoveries that were initiated by an administrator. This displays the time it has taken for restores to complete and the average size of the recoveries over a period of time.
  • Recovery point status report: This is the report you would use to see if you are meeting your backup SLAs. This report is generated on the currently selected data sources.
  • Status report: The status report basically gives you an overview of your backup and overall recovery health for the entire system. It gives you the total number of successes and failures for all recovery points for a specified period. It also gives you the status of disk-based and tape-based recovery points.
  • Tape management report: This report is for tape libraries only. This will assist you in tape rotation. It lets you know which libraries are below the free tape threshold.
  • Tape utilization report: This report will give you an overview of your tape utilization. The idea is to use this report to help in planning for capacity and growth. This report can help when making decisions about adding more tapes or not and when this is needed.

Displaying reports in DPM

All DPM reports can be displayed in Internet Explorer. You can then print the report from Internet Explorer. Here is how you open up a report:

NOTE: In your environment a need may arise for custom DPM reports that contain data that you cannot get from the default reports in DPM. You can create custom reports in DPM using SQL Reporting Services and the DPM data directly from the SQL database. I have detailed out this process step-by-step on my blog. You can view the article here:
http://www.buchatech.com/2011/01/building-customreports- in-dpm/

  1. Go to the DPM Administrator Console and click on Reporting. This will bring you to the reporting area.
  2. Either double-click, or right-click and select View on the report you want to see.
  3. A window will popup on the new report tab. Here you can group by protected computers or protection groups. You then have the option to select a unit of time (Week, Month, Quarter, or Year). The last option you have is to select the time period for the report under the content field.

    Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

  4. Click on OK and your report will be generated and displayed in Internet Explorer.

    Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

Notice when you selected to view the report it had an option to select a historical report by clicking on the History tab.

On this tab only DPM reports that have been scheduled will be displayed.

Now let's look at how to schedule a report and generate a report notification in DPM. To schedule reports follow these steps:

  1. From the DPM Administrator Console click on Reporting. This will bring you to the reporting area.
  2. Right-click on the type of report you want to schedule and select Schedule from the listed options.
  3. Now, set your Schedule, Report parameters, and the amount of copies DPM is to retain.

    NOTE: You can only retain up to 18 copies of a scheduled report. These retained reports can be accessed at a later time.

    Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

  4. Once you are done, click on the E-mail tab. This is where you set the recipients you want to be e-mailed every time the report is generated.
  5. You can choose the report format that will be e-mailed to you to be in HTML, PDF, or Excel. Click on OK when you are done to set the schedule.

Managing DPM performance

Here we are going to walk through the different things you can modify to improve the performance of DPM and also things to look out for that could degrade DPM performance.

The pagefile on DPM

The pagefile is important for DPM and the servers it protects. If the pagefile is set up incorrectly it can have a bad effect in your DPM deployment.

On the DPM server you want to set the system pagefile size to 1.5 times the amount of RAM in the server. You then want to increase the pagefile size to 0.2% the size of your recovery volumes combined. If your DPM has 2 GB of RAM you will set the pagefile size to 3.5 GB. That meets the 1.5 times rule. To meet the increase 0.2% rule on a recovery volume total 4 TB size combination, your pagefile would need to be increased by another 8 GB. Make sure you have enough hard drive space on your main drives hard drive. On your protected servers you will want to set their pagefile sizes to two times the amount of RAM in the server. DPM needs this to properly back them up.

To set your pagefile size follow these steps:

  1. From the windows Run box or command prompt, type SystemPropertiesAdvanced.exe, and you will be directed to the Advanced System Settings on the Advanced tab.
  2. Go ahead and click on the Settings button under the Performance section. Here is where you can set your Windows pagefile.

DPM performance monitors

You can use the built in Windows performance monitor for monitoring you're DPM server, or you can use the DPM management pack in System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to monitor DPM. SCOM is another product in the System Center suite of products and is the perfect tool to use for monitoring DPM servers. SCOM monitors the health status of DPM. It will alert the backup administrator if there is any health alerts. The alerts also provide potential fixes to problems. Although DPM does have its own monitoring and reporting mechanisms, these are on a per DPM server basis, whereas using SCOM provides central monitoring solution.

To enable monitoring of DPM in SCOM, the DPM management pack is required, and this can be obtained at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details. aspx?FamilyID=32077d99-618f-43d0-843d-4ba4f8019f84&displaylang=en. Once this management pack is imported into SCOM and an agent has been deployed to the DPM servers, all the DPM servers will be discovered. SCOM will automatically start monitoring the DPM servers after they have been discovered. However, a number of DPM monitors rely on events being published to the DPM Alerts log on the DPM servers. This is not enabled by default, but can easily be switched on within the DPM Administrator Console by following the steps below:

  1. Open the DPM Administrator Console and select Management.
  2. From the Actions menu, select Options.
  3. Select the Alert Publishing tab and click on Publish Active Alerts.

    Overview of Data Protection Manager 2010

With the management pack imported in SCOM and alerts published in DPM, monitoring in SCOM is now enabled.

The DPM management pack provides monitoring of the DPM server, the storage, the tape library, and all of the data sources being protected. Using the state views provided, it is easy to view the current state of all DPM servers and the current state of all data sources being protected. The following figure shows the datasource state view:

(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge it.)

Contained in this datasource state view are all the datasource objects from all the DPM servers being monitored. The state of each datasource is determined by a number of monitors that run against each object. There are over 31 monitors that run for each object to make sure that the protection being provided by DPM is accurately reflected in SCOM. There are also state views for the DPM server, DPM Disk State, Tape Drive State, and Protected Computer.

Also included in the management pack are a number of alert views. These views are useful as they will display alerts for all monitored DPM servers. To further assist with managing DPM servers from SCOM, there are a number of tasks that can be performed. These include the following:

  • Creating a recovery point
  • Running a consistency check
  • Running Synchronization
  • Starting the DPM Service
  • Stopping the DPM Service
  • Pinging the DPM server

These tasks can be used to assist in both troubleshooting and resolving a DPM issue without the need to connect to a DPM server. All these tasks are very useful if you are managing more than one DPM server.

There are no reports included with the DPM management pack; however the Generic Report Library provided with SCOM can be used to produce reports based on the state data being collected. Every datasource is represented as a monitored object in SCOM, and every monitored object has a state. This means that a generic availability report can be run against these objects to provide a report on how successful DPM protection has been. This is extremely useful if there is more than one DPM server as a separate report does not need to be run at each DPM server. The following figure shows an example of an availability report for DPM datasources:

(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge it.)

The DPM management pack may also be configured for SLA-based or Ticket System-based monitoring. Re-configuring this management pack for these is not covered in this article; however more information is available at:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/jonathanalmquist/archive/2010/10/21/dataprotection-manager-2010-management-pack-just-released-things-youneed- to-know.aspx

Performance counters

There are several performance counters you can monitor using the standard Windows Performance Monitor. This comes with every version of Windows. To open the Windows Performance tool:

  1. Click on Start.
  2. Go to Administrative Tools.
  3. Next click on Performance.

For information on how to create and monitor objects go to: http://go.microsoft. com/fwlink/?LinkId=47881. The objects you will want to monitor on your DPM server(s) are as follows.

Processor usage

If your processor usage stays above 95% for long periods of time this means your processor is overworked and there is some issue.

Some potential issues could be that DPM jobs are synchronizing at the same time and they are processor intensive. Make sure you DPM processor is equipped to handle the workloads. Compression on the wire for DPM has been enabled on protection members. This improves network performance but can increase processor usage.

Disk queue length

If you have more than 80 requests for long periods of time this is typically over six minutes. A potential cause is again that multiple DPM jobs running can cause high disk usage. Be sure the disks you are using in DPM can handle the current workloads.

Memory usage

If your available memory is low—less than 50 MB—this is a big problem. Potential issues could be that other applications on the DPM server are using large amounts of memory, or multiple DPM jobs are running that use large amounts of memory. Make sure you meet the 4 GB minimum DPM memory requirements. Remember it is recommended that you have at least 8 GB of RAM for your DPM server. The full list of hardware requirements can be found here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff399280.aspx

Ways to improve performance

Make sure you meet DPM hardware requirements for memory, processor, and hard drive types. It is recommended to go above the DPM requirements when choosing hardware. Also do not run unnecessary applications on your DPM server. Remember that DPM is to be run on a stand-alone server and should not have other Windows server roles running on it. Another way you can improve performance of your DPM server is to make changes to the DPM server workload. You can additionally change the synchronization and consistency checks so that they occur during off-peak hours and the start times are staggered so they do not start at the same time. Configure network bandwidth throttling of your protection groups. Enable on-the-wire compression. If you are running a local SQL instance move the DPM database to a remote SQL instance.

Summary

This article covered topics related to administration and management of DPM. By now you should have understood the DPM file structure, the processes involved and how they affect DPM performance. The DPM Administrator Console is the central tool that is used to manage applications. DPM has both new and historical reporting. It helps you monitor the system with reports and alert notifications. You can use the built-in Windows performance monitor to monitor your DPM server, or even use the DPM management pack in System Center Operations Manager to monitor DPM.


Further resources related to this subject:


About the Author :


Steve Buchanan

Steve Buchanan is an information technology professional with over 11 years of experience in systems administration of server and desktop environments. For many years Steve has worked with backup solutions and disaster recovery. Steve has an Associate of Arts degree as a Network Support Specialist and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology. Steve holds the following certifications: A +, Linux +, MCSA, MCTS: (Hyper-V, SharePoint 2007, Exchange 2007, Vista).
Steve currently is an IT Manager. Steve enjoys sharing his adventures and ideas about system administration through his blog at http://www.buchatech.com. Steve is happily married and is a proud father of three boys.

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