Back up and restore VMM servers


This version of Data Protection Manager (DPM) has reached the end of support. We recommend you to upgrade to DPM 2022.

System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) can back up the SQL Server instances that are being used as the System Center Virtual Machines Manager (VMM) database in a couple of ways:

  • You can do a regular SQL Server backup.

  • You can back up the SQL Server database using the VMM Express Writer component that appears under the VMM server in the DPM console. The main advantage to this method is that you don't need to set up any special permissions on the SQL Server.

DPM can back up the VMM database using the VMM Express Writer component when VMM is running on System Center 2012 onwards as a physical/virtual machine in the following deployment scenarios:

  • A standalone VMM host + standalone SQL Server (default and named, local and remote)

  • A standalone VMM host + clustered SQL Server (default and named, remote)

  • A clustered VMM host + standalone SQL Server (default and named, local and remote)

  • A clustered VMM host + clustered SQL Server (default and named, remote)

Prerequisites and limitations

Before setting up a DPM backup for VMM using VMM Express Writer, remember the following:

  • DPM only backs up the DPM SQL Server database. It doesn't back up all configuration files in the VMM library.

  • DPM supports initial replication and express full backups for VMM machines. Incremental backup isn't supported.

  • DPM can't back up the VMM database if you specified a static IP address for the SQL Server when you set up VMM. DPM also can't back up if you specified "localhost" for the database.

  • If you're using Distributed Key Management (DKM) encryption (key stored in AD), then DPM won't back up the key. You'll need to protect that as part of your AD backup. If the key is stored locally, it's backed up as part of the database.

  • In case of a failover, DPM will continue backing up when the VMM node comes back online. This allows you to perform scheduled failovers without losing protection. But if the node is lost, you've to configure the backup for the new one.

  • DPM supports recovery to the original location for VMM hosts. Recovery to an alternate location isn't supported.

Before you start

Back up VMM

  1. Select Protection > Actions > Create Protection Group to open the Create New Protection Group wizard in the DPM console.

  2. In Select protection group type, select Clients. You only select clients if you want to back up data on a Windows computer running a Windows client operating system. For all other workloads, select server. Learn more in Deploy protection groups.

  3. In Select Group Members, expand the VMM machine and select VMM Express Writer.

  4. In Select data protection method, specify how you want to handle short- and long-term backup. Short-term backup is always to disk first, with the option of backing up from the disk to the Azure cloud with Azure backup (for short- or long-term). As an alternative to long-term backup to the cloud, you can also configure long-term backup to a standalone tape device or tape library connected to the DPM server.

  5. In Select short-term goals, specify how you want to back up to short-term storage on disk. In Retention range, specify how long you want to keep the data on disk. In Synchronization frequency, specify how often you want to run an incremental backup to disk. If you don't want to set a backup interval, you can check just before a recovery point so that DPM will run an express full backup just before each recovery point is scheduled.

  6. If you want to store data on tape for long-term storage, in Specify long-term goals, indicate how long you want to keep tape data (1-99 years). In Frequency of backup, specify how often backups to tape should run. The frequency is based on the retention range you've specified:

    • When the retention range is 1-99 years, you can select backups to occur daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly.

    • When the retention range is 1-11 months, you can select backups to occur daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

    • When the retention range is 1-4 weeks, you can select backups to occur daily or weekly.

    On a standalone tape drive, for a single protection group, DPM uses the same tape for daily backups until there's insufficient space on the tape. You can also co-locate data from different protection groups on tape.

    On the Select Tape and Library Details page, specify the tape/library to use and whether data should be compressed and encrypted on tape.

  7. In Review disk allocation page, review the storage pool disk space allocated for the protection group. Data size shows the size of the data you want to back up, and Disk space shows the space that DPM recommends for the protection group. Select Automatically grow the volumes to automatically increase size when more disk space is required for backing up data.

  8. In Choose replica creation method, select how you want to handle the initial full data replication. If you select to replicate over the network, we recommend you choose an off-peak time. For large amounts of data or less than optimal network conditions, consider replicating the data offline using removable media.

  9. In Choose consistency check options, select how you want to automate consistency checks. You can enable a check to run only when replica data becomes inconsistent or according to a schedule. If you don't want to configure automatic consistency checking, you can run a manual check at any time by right-clicking the protection group in the Protection area of the DPM console, and selecting Perform Consistency Check.

  10. If you've selected to back up to the cloud with Azure Backup, on the Specify online protection data page, ensure to select the workloads that you want to back up to Azure.

  11. In Specify online backup schedule, specify how often incremental backups to Azure should occur. You can schedule backups to run every day/week/month/year and the time/date at which they should run. Backups can occur up to twice a day. Each time a backup runs, a data recovery point is created in Azure from the copy of the backed-up data stored on the DPM disk.

  12. In Specify online retention policy, specify how the recovery points created from the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly backups are retained in Azure.

  13. In Choose online replication, specify how the initial full replication of data will occur. You can replicate over the network or do an offline backup (offline seeding). Offline backup uses the Azure Import feature. Read more.

  14. On the Summary page, review your settings. After you select Create Group, initial replication of the data occurs. When it finishes, the protection group status will show as OK on the Status page. Backup then takes place in line with the protection group settings.