Protecting Exchange data with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM)

Microsoft System Centre Data Protection Manager (DPM) is one of the suite of System Centre products to be released last year. DPM offers a new approach to backing up our Exchange data and introduces a number of new alternatives to traditional approaches to backup, particularly when used alongside Exchange Server 2007. Before you can understand […]

Microsoft System Centre Data Protection Manager (DPM) is one of the suite of System Centre products to be released last year. DPM offers a new approach to backing up our Exchange data and introduces a number of new alternatives to traditional approaches to backup, particularly when used alongside Exchange Server 2007. Before you can understand what these new approaches are it is useful to understand how DPM works when used to protect Exchange server data.

RTO's, RPO's and Retention Ranges: To understand how to configure DPM appropriately it is important to work towards three key pieces of information; a Recovery Point Objective (RPO), a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and a Retention Range. In other words how much data loss is acceptable to a point in time; for how long can I be without service and or data; and finally how long do I want to keep protected data. It might be necessary to work towards multiple RTO's and RPO's. For example an RTO for recovering from database corruption might be shorter than an RTO defining a time objective for recovering from site failure. Suffice to say it is important to understand what all our objectives are for data protection before we can begin to configure DPM. It is also worth noting here that it in some cases an RTO or RPO need not necessarily be met by DPM. It may be that the use of continuous replication or an extended 'deleted item retention' period is sufficient.

Once we have a set of RTO's and RPO's we need to understand how long to keep hold of this data. For most implementations it is likely that two retention ranges will need to be defined; one for the short term and another for longer term data retention. The most likely scenario is a short term retention range of say one week where DPM will retain Exchange data on disk. A longer term retention range might define a strategy for storing data to satisfy industry regulations governing long term data retention; 7 years for example. Longer term data retention might be to tape where the data is then moved offsite. Within DPM one or more Protection Schemes define our protection strategy and a Protection Group, in the context of Exchange protection, is one or more Storage Groups to which a particular protection scheme applies.

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Microsoft, System Center, DPM, Data Protection Manager, Exchange Server, Exchange Server 2007