When I last visited the topic of Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager, it was during the beta period for version 1. Although I really liked the concept DPMv1 wasn’t really a useful product, especially for me. File server protection is important for some people, but not so much for my work, and the complete lack of built-in integration with tape management meant that I was just delaying the tape problem, not removing it.
Well, now DPM v2 beta 1 is out — and wow, has this product suddenly become a LOT more compelling:
- Support for protecting and restoring Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 storage groups. Since only the modified ESE database pages are synchronized, you no longer need a backup window on your production mail servers. Exchange admins can pull recovered storage group, database, or mailbox data back into their organization.
- Support for protecting and restoring SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005. Again, since only the modified database pages are synchronized, DBAs stop having to worry about backup and restore. And they can recover database snapshots alongside the live database, as DPM gives the option of recovery with a rename — all in one simple step!
- Support for protecting and restoring SharePoint Server 2.0 and 3.0. I’m not exactly sure how this works yet, but I’ll be finding out.
- Support for protecting clustered SQL Server and Exchange configurations.
- Support for long-term tape protection within DPM. DPM now natively handles tape operations as part of a comprehensive storage policy for your protected data, meaning that it will automatically take replicas and snapshots from short-term disk storage and move them to tape when specified. When you recover protected data, you can usually recover it directly to tape if you desire.
The Exchange integration particularly intrigues me. I’ve got several questions on how it integrates with Exchange 2007, particularly with CCR and LCR; what are the advantages of using DPM + CCR/LCR instead of one or the other? And how does DPM integrate with the Recovery Storage Group? Are there any other goodies or gotchas lurking? As I find out, I’ll let you know.