How To Add Virtual Tape Library (VTL) To System Center Data Protection Manager Using HP StoreOnce #DPM #HPE #StoreOnce

Introduction

System Center Data Protection Manger 2012 R2 is an enterprise backup and restore software for Microsoft environments that is delivered as part of Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 suite.

Using DPM, data can be backed up to tape, disk, or to Azure cloud. DPM supports the following backup options:
• Disk-to-tape (D2T)—back up directly from the disk of a protected computer directly to tape.
• Disk-to-disk (D2D)—back up from the disk of a protected computer to another hard disk for short-term storage.
• Disk-to-disk (D2D2C) plus cloud—back up from the disk of a protected computer to another hard disk and to Microsoft Azure for short-term and long-term storage.
• Disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T)—back up from the disk or a protected computer to another

However, Microsoft also released the free Microsoft Azure Backup Server last year (MABS). The real story here is that MABS is:

• The latest version of DPM that does not require any licensing to be purchased.
• It supports Hyper-V, Windows servers and desktops, SQL Server, SharePoint, and Exchange.
• It’s completely free.
• It is designed for Disk-to-disk-to-cloud (D2D2C).

HP StoreOnce Key Features

HP StoreOnce appliances provide a unique combination of features, including industry-leading performance (up to 139 TB/hr backup), high-availability, and high capacity making HP StoreOnce appliances the leading enterprise deduplication systems.

The following are key advantages of using DPM to backup data to a HP StoreOnce VTL:
Improve backup speeds: Backing up multiple targets simultaneously to HP StoreOnce can significantly improve backup speed. There may be a small decrease in deduplication ratios when backing up multiple targets simultaneously to the same HP StoreOnce target.
Increase storage utilization: One of the benefits of HP StoreOnce is the ability to deliver a high deduplication ratio. Deduplication is a technology with which the storage device omits the redundant data and stores only the unique data with appropriate pointers. With deduplication enabled, the HP StoreOnce appliance can store more backup data on less storage as compared to traditional backup storage devices or devices without deduplication.
Increase availability of server resources: A weekly full and daily incremental backup schedule uses less server and HP StoreOnce compute and bandwidth resources during backup than a daily full backup schedule. It reduces the amount of end-to-end data and decreases the time required to run daily backups. HP StoreOnce appliance data deduplication will further reduce the end-to-end data size.
Secure backup data: Enabling encryption at rest for the VTLs performs encryption on the data before it is written to the disk to protect the data from forensic attack.

The good news is HP StoreOnce backup works with both (DPM and Azure Backup Server).

Presenting HP StoreOnce To DPM

As for presenting HP StoreOnce backup to DPM, it is very straightforward by following those steps:

1- Create a Virtual Tape Library (VTL) inside the StoreOnce.

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2- Connect to the VTL by using Fiber channel (FC) or through iSCSI port, both options are doable to use with DPM. I am using iSCSI in my environment.

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3- Open Device Manager on the DPM Server to confirm the Tape drives are showing successfully.

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As you can see Windows Server 2012 R2 did not recognize the Tape drives. The Medium Changer devices is showing Unknown Medium Changer and there is a question mark under Other devices as well.

4- Run Windows Update on the DPM Server and install the Important and Optional updates for Hewlett-Packard as shown in the following screenshot:

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After the updates are installed, check again Device Manager. The Medium Changer devices and the Tape drives are showing correctly now.

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5- Open DPM management console and do a Library Rescan.

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6- When the DPM Rescan is completed, the VTL libraries will show in the console as the following:

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7- Before we start creating protection groups and start using DPM for tape backups, we need to mark the tape library as free (Empty).

Open DPM management console, select the Tape Slot and mark it as Cleaning Tape. If you don’t do this, you will see the following Warning message:

[The number of free tapes in the <LibraryType> <Library> is less than or equals the threshold value of<ThresholdValue>. You must add tape to the library and mark it as free in order to prevent future backups from failing.]

In my case, I have 96 Tapes available. Select all and click Mark as cleaning tape.

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When the Tape slots are marked as cleaned, click Refresh and you will see the Tape slots are Empty now and ready to be used.

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Create New Protection Group

1- Open DPM management console, Select Protection workspace and click New.

As you noticed, I selected Tape for Short-Term protection, because I am not using Disk (block level storage). There is a drawback here with Tape for Short-Term protection. In my case, DPM will send only full backups each and every time to a tape/VTL. However, by using block level storage (disk), DPM 2012/R2 uses Change Block Tracking technology, which will transfer only changed blocks. This won’t just improve backup performance—it will also lower the overall load on the server.image

2- Click Next, then select the retention range for short-term goals (maximum 3 months). The Backup mode is only full backup as I mentioned above.

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3- Click Next, then select the retention range for long-term goals (maximum 99 years Smile). You can specify the Backup schedule (Monthly/Yearly).

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4- Click Next, Select the library details and then choose the tape options for data transfer (Compress data/Encrypt data/Do not compress or encrypt data) for short and long-term protection.

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5- Click Next, review the summary and click Create Group.

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Configuring settings for Hardware VSS providers

If you are using a hardware VSS provider for backing up Hyper-V virtual machines in a cluster using CSV storage, you can back up multiple virtual machines from the same CSV/node in the cluster. In my case, I am using HP 3PAR, you need to install the hardware snapshot provider on each Hyper-V cluster node of the protected Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) cluster which is recommended for optimal performance.

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To specify the number of concurrent backups that can run from a node, do the following:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (regedit) on the DPM Server.
  2. Navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\2.0\Configuration\MaxAllowedParallelBackups
  3. Set the following values:
    • Value: Microsoft Hyper-V
    • Data: 3
    • Type: DWORD
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This will enable a maximum of three backups to run concurrently on each node. For optimal performance, Microsoft recommend that you do not use a value greater than 3.

Conclusion

DPM 2012 R2 is a highly capable backup application for Microsoft-centric environments. Deploying HP StoreOnce appliances as the backup storage for DPM provides a comprehensive and efficient data protection solution for Windows desktops, Windows file servers, SQL Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint, and Hyper-V.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,
-Charbel

About Charbel Nemnom 288 Articles
Charbel Nemnom is a Microsoft Cloud Consultant and Technical Evangelist, totally fan of the latest's IT platform solutions, accomplished hands-on technical professional with over 15 years of broad IT Infrastructure experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize performance of mission-critical enterprise systems. Excellent communicator adept at identifying business needs and bridging the gap between functional groups and technology to foster targeted and innovative IT project development. Well respected by peers through demonstrating passion for technology and performance improvement. Extensive practical knowledge of complex systems builds, network design and virtualization.

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