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How SCDPM and MABS Manage Protection Group Goals?

3 Min. Read

In this article, we will share with you how SCDPM and MABS manage short-term retention goals for protection groups.

Introduction

System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) and Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) are enterprise-class Microsoft backup solutions that help protect many workloads. The configuration of this backup solution is based on Protection Groups. A protection group contains several data sources with the same configuration, such as backup duration (Short-term or Long-term) and retention goal.

DPM and MABS can store the backup on disk (disk-to-disk or D2D), on tape library (disk-to-tape or D2T), or to Microsoft Azure (disk-to-cloud or D2C). These supports can be mixed for high availability, so performing D2D2D backup, D2D2T, or D2D2C is possible. The best practice for backup is called the 3-2-1 strategy and says:

  • Have at least 3 total copies of your data.
  • 2 copies of which are local but on different mediums.
  • 1 copy (the third copy) stored offsite.

By default, DPM midnight checks all existing backups to see if any of those are outside the retention goal based on the number of days you specified when you created a protection group.

How do SCDPM and MABS Manage Retention Goals?

SCDPM and MABS manage retention goals by the days you set up when creating or modifying a protection group.

For example, you have a protection group (PG) set for 14 days of short-term retention. This doesn’t mean that DPM will start removing backups that are 14 days older; instead, it will look for 14 days’ worth of successful backups.

How SCDPM and MABS Manage Protection Group Goals? 1

To make it simple, let me explain it with the following example:

  1. You create a protection group (PG) for 10 days of retention.
  2. From day 1 to day 9, all daily backups run successfully.
  3. On day 10th, there is a backup failure. Due to the current retention goal (10 days), no backups were deleted.
  4. On day 11, the backup runs successfully. DPM checks all existing backups at midnight to see if they are outside the retention goal. It finds 10 backups created in distinct days; the protection group goal is 10 distinct days as those are within the limit. No backups will be removed.
  5. On day 12, the backup failed again. DPM checks all existing backups at midnight to see if they are outside the retention goal. It finds 10 backups created in distinct days; the PG goal is 10 distinct days as those are within the limit. No backups will be removed.
  6. On day 13, the backup ran successfully. Again, DPM checks all existing backups at midnight to see if they are outside the retention goal. It finds 11 backups created in distinct days, and the PG goal is 10 distinct days. During prune, the backup created on Day 1 will be removed.

With that said, the list below contains 18 backups. The explanation above would lead us to retain 14, but we have 4 extra backups. The reason is that DPM counts distinct days. So, if you have 10 backups created on the same day, those will count as a single distinct day.

How SCDPM and MABS Manage Protection Group Goals? 2

In the following screenshot, we highlighted 4 backups that had run on the same day. Thus, we now have 18 recovery points, not 14.

How SCDPM and MABS Manage Protection Group Goals? 3

Also, if there were days when the backup wasn’t completed successfully, that day’s backup will be missing, and that’s why you will see the oldest backup date being beyond the 14-day retention goal.

Again, DPM does NOT count backup as a calendar date to remove them but to distinguish successful backup days. Please note that the same concept also applies to Microsoft Azure Backup Server.

I hope the explanation above sheds light on how DPM and SCDPM manage the protection group goals.

Learn more

Do you want to learn more about System Center Data Protection Manager and how to create a hybrid-cloud backup solution? Make sure to check my recently published book here: Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Cookbook.

With this book (over 450 pages) on your side, you will master the world of backup with System Center Data Protection Manager and Microsoft Azure Backup Server deployment and management by learning tips, tricks, and best practices, especially regarding advanced-level tasks.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect with 20+ years of IT experience. As a Swiss Certified Information Security Manager (ISM), CCSP, CISM, MVP, and MCT, he excels in optimizing mission-critical enterprise systems. His extensive practical knowledge spans complex system design, network architecture, business continuity, and cloud security, establishing him as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in the field. Charbel frequently writes about Cloud, Cybersecurity, and IT Certifications.
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