Data Protection Manager 2007 RC is finally out. I have been waiting for this already for some time. Just some days ago, we had a serious problem with our current backup solution, Symantec Backup Exec. We didn't renew our service contract with Symantec because I am seriously considering moving to DPM 2007.

I tested the predecessor DPM 2006 thoroughly and interviewed Microsoft' product manager, also because I wrote a review for the German magazine iX. It was one of the first affordable CDP solutions and I already hoped at that time that we could give up our old fashioned archive-bit-based backup solution. Even though I liked DPM 2006 as such, we couldn't make this move because backups of the Windows system state, Exchange, and SQL Server were not supported. Symantec's Continuous Protection Server (CPS) which was integrated later in Backup Exec 10d and Backup Exec 11d was better, but I don't like this mixture of conventional and CDP backup.

So I appreciate it that Microsoft has come out with a new version in just two years containing all the features we need. I reviewed DPM 2007 Beta 1 some time ago. Although a couple of important features such as brick-level backups for Exchange mailboxes and online backups of Virtual Server VMs were not working yet, I started to like Microsoft's new backup software. New in this release is document-level restore for SharePoint and bare metal recovery.

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I am quite curious now to try the final and I also want to check how reliable it is. Another thing I didn't test yet is how well it supports backups to tape libraries. I only made backups to a single tape drive with the beta which worked quite well. But working with a tape library is something different. I am going to blog about my tests soon. You might want to check out DPM's Technet site meanwhile.

19 Comments
  1. Leonardo 15 years ago

    I found Backup Exec to be too finicky, coupled with a defective tape library, made my task of configuring/maintaining backups a living nightmare for a couple of days.
    I still like the proggy, and I’m well aware of the necessary complexity of server software, I just have a bad taste in my mouth.

  2. Victor 15 years ago

    Yes Backup Exec is unecesarrly over complicated, but at least let you back up server outside a Domain… MS DPM 2007 does not!

  3. Michael Pietroforte 15 years ago

    Lenardo, we have been using Backup Exec since the time it was still owned by Seagate. Believe me, we had more than just one nightmare with this software. I tested several other solutions, but I never found something better. DPM is the first candidate that seems to have a chance.

    Victor, you’re right. This is one major disadvantages of DPM. It is typical for Microsoft to rely completely on AD. It can be knock-down if you have to backup stand alone servers. However, you could run them under Virtual Server and then backup the whole VM using DPM. This is how we plan to do it with our Linux boxes.

  4. Leonardo 15 years ago

    Michael: You’re dead-on with your comment on “Nothing better around”… Retrospect is the only other one I’ve handled and kinda liked.

  5. Hugh 15 years ago

    Has anyone used ShadowProtect, it seems to be quite good.

  6. Michael Pietroforte 15 years ago

    Leonardo, I also tried Retrospect and I really liked the software. I was about to replace Backup Exec with Retrospect, but the admin responsible for backups didn’t like the software. He was afraid that it might not work together with our Dell tape library. We had so many problems with this library and so we didn’t want to risk adding some more with a relatively unknown software.

  7. Testing it Out 15 years ago

    I’ve been trying for two days to get the DPM 2007 to work. Every time I install DPM, it crashes and sends a HUGE report to Microsoft. I’ve tried uninstalling/reinstalling SQL Server, thinking maybe something was corrupted there, but no luck. 🙁 I may try to do it again from a clean server, but what a pain…

  8. Mark 15 years ago

    It’s been a few months now. Anyone have more input about their DPM experience? I’m using Arcserve r11.5 but I’m considering DPM for CDP of our Ex2k7, SQL2k5, and Sharepoint systems.

    Mark

  9. Testing it Out 15 years ago

    I finally gave up on DPM. When it couldn’t back up a laptop I had sitting on my desk and the demo version of Backup Exec easily did it, I realized that DPM is not in the same league as Backup Exec and I wasn’t willing to be Steve Ballmer’s guinea pig.

  10. Michael Pietroforte 15 years ago

    Testing it Out, why wouldn’t DPM work with a laptop?

    Mark, I’ve played with it a little recently. I tried to backup virtual machines under Virtual Server 2005. So far, I have no complaints about DPM 2007. I will probably run more detailed tests soon. As things stand now, we will probably move from Backup Exec to DPM.

  11. Testing it Out 15 years ago

    I don’t remember the specifics, but basically DPM didn’t work because of access rights – I had to open up all rights on the client computer for DPM to work.

    Backup Exec pushed out installer software, then installed their client without me needing to reset access rights.

    Something that basic made me realize DPM wasn’t ready for a production environment.

  12. Michael Pietroforte 15 years ago

    It sounds as if your agent didn’t have the correct privileges. So my bet is that this was a configuration problem. However, I don’t want to say that DPM 2007 doesn’t have bugs.

  13. Charles 14 years ago

    trying to solve a problem with running Backup exec and DPM, DPM had just been installed and we would like to keep owe Backup tape as with DPM, DPM is set the run 2 hourly from 9:30pm and B/tape commences at 10:00 pm, the B/tape runs a full backup and the DPM runs a incremental

    the problem is as the back tape is running I will not complete the backup on one of the mail stores because the DPM starts to run, so would it better for me to set the B/tape to incremental as well?

  14. Michael Pietroforte 14 years ago

    Charles, why don’t use DPM 2007 for tape backups? I somehow doubt that it makes sense to support two backup solutions.

  15. Mark 14 years ago

    The reason not to use the tape support included in DPM is because it is miserable. For instance, these issues come to mind:

    -The gui will tell you you’ve got a tape in with a certain label when no tape is inserted at all, even after rebooting the server. Don’t bother looking for a refresh button, there isn’t one.
    -You can not run pre/post job scripts.
    -You can’t even eject a tape.
    -You can’t use the same tape to capture multiple protection groups.
    -You can’t schedule the backups to exclude certain days, like weekends and holidays when in my case, there is no tape in the drive.
    -You will go mad with the number of alert emails in your inbox b/c DPM wont use the tape in the drive, claiming it belongs to another protection group. Not to worry, there’s a cryptic and sometimes functional powershell script on the DPM blog site to the rescue that will occasionally mark the tape as Free so you can use it (Force-FreeTape.ps1). Too bad you can’t call the script before the job, or depend on it to actually work.

    Run away from DPM tape backup.

    Anyone asks me I recommend DPM *only* as a side-show; a nice way to get multiple D2D backups during the day. Do NOT retire or disable your primary tape backup. DPM is just not there yet.

    Mark

  16. Jeremy 14 years ago

    Mark obviously hasn’t used the new rollup package that allows multiple protection groups with the same recovery range to go onto the same tape…I have been using this successfully for a week.

    Also haven’t had any issues with tapes not showing up correctly.

    Try the rollup package…you’ll never go back

  17. Mark 14 years ago

    Jeremy

    Does the rollup address any of the other issues I list? If you have the URL of the rollup I’d very much like to check it out. I would be ecstatic to be proven wrong about it as it is a pain to continue running Arcserve for tape support.

    For as much as I’ve interacted with MS on Google about these issues it’s too bad they never said anything to me about a rollup.

    Mark

  18. Trance Roberson 14 years ago

    Has anyone found a fix for the “The tape belongs to another DPM”. Accourding to one site its a fix in progress.

  19. Mike Ward 13 years ago

    A crude but simple way to fix the “The tape belongs to another DPM” is to build a second arbitration server with a tape drive or library. Any tapes put into that server will show up as (Imported). You can then erase the tape from there and it should be usable it the original environment.

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