Things to consider when using Microsoft DPM and Veeam Backup & Replication

Veeam Backup & Replication is a very good software tool for protection of VMware virtual machines. It has many advanced features unique to Veeam Backup & Replication. However, it is lacking support for backup of physical servers and it is not able to do any tape handling. Veeam allows you to replicate data to another, off site, storage platform.

Not every customer will have a secondary, off site, storage platform. Especially the Small and Medium Business, one of the targets of Veeam Backup & Replication. To protect data by storing it offsite, tapes is an alternative.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 is a very nice backup tool. It has an easy to understand userinterface and does what is expected from a backup tool. When using DPM for storage of virtual  machine backup files created by Veeam, mind the following:

– DPM will need a domain controller to be able to function. If your primary datacenter is lost, and all the data is on tape, you will not have a domain controller available in the recovery site. You need to first build a new domain and join the DPM server to it. This can be a temporary domain, with a different name than the original domain which needs to be restored.

-DPM stores the metadata of it’s backup in a DPM database. Make sure this database is protected by another backup solution than DPM (backup to usb disk for instance). Otherwise in case of a disaster recovery you will need to re-catalog the tapes which can take some hours to complete.

-When creating a backup job in Veeam, several virtual machines can be selected at once by selection of a container or by adding individual vm’s. By this, in one job and at one schedule mutiple vm’s will be protected. Grouping VM’s in a single job has a great advantage: deduplication. Veeam has a whitepaper on deduplication which can be downloaded here. I’s is very efficient and will save you diskspace and tapes.

Mind however the backup job will only create a single backup file (.VBK) holding all the (deduplicated) data of the VM’s included the job. If you need to restore only  one or a  small number of virtual machines, and the backup data on disk is lost, you will need to restore the single .VBK from tape. This can take a long time.

So consider creating  separate backup jobs for virtual machines which needs to be restored with high priority during a disaster recovery.  Create a backup job for your domain controllers. Create a backup job for business critical servers etc. Mind however the more backup jobs, the more management and less efficient deduplication.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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