Replacing Microsoft DPM

Phandalyon

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Jun 12, 2001
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Well, DPM is driving me absolutely nuts.

For those who have not heard of it, the software is Microsoft Data Protection Manager. It is a great concept, but I am spending about 60% of my time babysitting it and I am fed up. Let me explain in detail.

I have 3 servers, one is an SBS server which does all of our number crunching. It has 5 drive arrays that get backed up.

1 2x750GB RAID1 for My Docs
1 2x750GB RAID1 for Misc Shares
1 2x500GB RAID1 for System and Sharepoint
1 2x250GB RAID1 for Exchange
1 2x250GB RAID1 for SQL Server

This gives a potential of 2.5TB that needs to be backed up on that server. That particular server is a Dual Xeon with 4GB RAM running SBS 2003. Decent enough for our needs.

The second server is our webserver. It has <100GB total potential space that needs to be backed up. It is an old gateway server. PIII or something with 1GB RAM running windows 2000 server.

The third server is running Windows Server 2003 Standard and is set up just to run DPM. It has a 160GB mirrored system array and 4x1TB drives for the DPM storage. So we have a total of 4TB to back up 2.6TB of potential data.

Currently all of the drives on the SBS server are <50% full. Most are less than 25%.

The problem I am running into is that the DPM file agent on mainserver is constantly just disappearing from the DPM server and the backups are not getting done.

DPM is supposed to monitor for file changes every hour and make the necessary backups. It worked for us perfectly for the first 6 months or so we had it up and running. Since then we have had to expand the storage needs on the SBS server and it has ceased working properly. Out of 14 official backups that DPM is supposed to do in a week I will usually get 2-3 that work. Every weekend the backup fails and I end up needing to spend the entire week getting all of the backups working again only for them to break the next weekend.

Microsoft has suggested that I am overwhelming the backup system and that I should consider adding a second DPM server to the mix. The problem I have with that is the server never hits above 16% CPU activity, never has more than 50% of its RAM in use, and the drive activity monitor shows fairly light to moderate drive usage. I don't see any signs of this computer being overworked.

To make a really long story short, I think that DPM is a failed software and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions about a replacement.

Ideally I would like it to work on the same concept. A single server managing the backups of the other two servers and bineg able to manage restores and create offsite backups for me to take home. I currently have 2x 1TB external drives that I rotate out and take home once a week.

We intend to upgrade to SBS 2008 x64 when it becomes available, so I will need to be able to back that up. At that time we also intend to replace the webserver and get a Server 2008 machine. We are currently running DPM 2006 and have thought about upgrading to 2007 when we make the move (DPM 2006 will not back up Windows 2000 at all). A lot of people have run into these same issues with DPM 2007 though and I am just not sure that the upgrade will solve anything for us.

Another more general question is what type of backup solution would you use in my situation. DPM would be great if it worked, but it just doesn't.
 

SmithyJones

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That's quite a bit of storage to backup, have you considered breaking into the low end of the SAN market?

There's a bunch of storage systems out there that'll do all of that type of thing internally, then you just do a scheduled dump to tape. Off the top of my head, check out some of the low end EMC products, or there's a new low end product from NetApp called StoreVault. Add in some Symantec NetBackup, and your baby sitting days are likely over.
 

Sniper|3d-R|

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omg, I've been testing DPM 2007 at work for several weeks. I had enough and told my manager how much of a pain in the ass the application was just to setup, and then all the other stupid things about it.

We are going to be implementing backup exec very soon. I've been creating all the custom reports and crap my managers wanted... I've spent months and months testing backup software, and I've found backup exec to be one of the better ones out there!

I deal with ghost images daily that are 2GB- 50GB, and SAN servers that are between 4-10TB. I've had to setup and configure an intel Mckay Creek, and Mt adams systems for my backups.. Lots and lots fo fun.. good luck! :)

Other software I have tried is, emc retrospect... omg brain fart.. I will have to look at my notes at work, and post back with more suggestions tomorrow.
 

MorfiusX

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omg, I've been testing DPM 2007 at work for several weeks. I had enough and told my manager how much of a pain in the ass the application was just to setup, and then all the other stupid things about it.

We are going to be implementing backup exec very soon. I've been creating all the custom reports and crap my managers wanted... I've spent months and months testing backup software, and I've found backup exec to be one of the better ones out there!

I deal with ghost images daily that are 2GB- 50GB, and SAN servers that are between 4-10TB. I've had to setup and configure an intel Mckay Creek, and Mt adams systems for my backups.. Lots and lots fo fun.. good luck! :)

Other software I have tried is, emc retrospect... omg brain fart.. I will have to look at my notes at work, and post back with more suggestions tomorrow.

For that much data, have you looked at Tivoli? TSM is one of my favorites to use. It can be a pain to set up, but on a daily basis, it does what it is supposed to without error. If you are an all Windows shop, then it might not be as viable. I would definitely suggest checking it out.
 

SmithyJones

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Might want to look at NetBackup from Symantec instead of backup exec.. a bit more potent, but still fairly easy to set up once you get past the slight learning curve.
 

Phandalyon

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Thanks for the suggestions guys. After a couple of days with no replies I thought this was quite dead. I will definitely grab a copy of Backup Exec and a couple of the others to test. I have had some suggestions that upgrading the RAM might help those DPM issues and the server has started locking up recently under heavy load. I have 4GB of RAM and a new PSU on order to try to resolve the issues I have been having.

I will let you guys know what I come up with.

DPM is a great concept. 2006 is incredibly easy to set up and use. I have heard horror stories about 2007 though. Unfortunately it seems that in the end they both might just be crap.
 

Sniper|3d-R|

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For that much data, have you looked at Tivoli? TSM is one of my favorites to use. It can be a pain to set up, but on a daily basis, it does what it is supposed to without error. If you are an all Windows shop, then it might not be as viable. I would definitely suggest checking it out.

Good deal, I will have to look into that. Don't know why I didn't in the first place? hah thanks! ;)
 
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About your RAID setup.. What sort of host bus is it plugged into? 32-bit PCI? 64-bit PCI? PCIe of some kind?

I'm curious as to the grade of your server hardware. Thinking perhaps the process is dying because the bus is getting hammered with more I/O than the grade of equipment likes.
 

Phandalyon

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About your RAID setup.. What sort of host bus is it plugged into? 32-bit PCI? 64-bit PCI? PCIe of some kind?

I'm curious as to the grade of your server hardware. Thinking perhaps the process is dying because the bus is getting hammered with more I/O than the grade of equipment likes.

I will have to check on that. I am 99% sure that it is a PCI-X Highpoint Rocketraid 2220 found here:

http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA/rr2220.htm

The server is too old to have any PCIe slots unfortunately. It may just need an all-around upgrade in the near future. As mentioned before, I do have a new PSU ordered to replace the ~400W original in the system and I have 4GB RAM ordered to replace the 1.5 that is in it now. Hopefully it will help.
 
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That RAID controller could be your issue. If it's software driven, it will load up the bus with traffic as data is passed to the CPU and back to the controller.

If your CPU usage really is less than 25%, and you aren't using much of your physical RAM, the only other thing I could think of blaming is bus saturation. Really strange things happen to programs that are waiting on resources that never come available.
 

Phandalyon

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That RAID controller could be your issue. If it's software driven, it will load up the bus with traffic as data is passed to the CPU and back to the controller.

If your CPU usage really is less than 25%, and you aren't using much of your physical RAM, the only other thing I could think of blaming is bus saturation. Really strange things happen to programs that are waiting on resources that never come available.

That is a great suggestion. I will see what the upgrades I have ordered achieve. If they are not doing the job I will look into the RAID card. Is there any way to actually test the performance of the card? I thought this was a hardware driven card, but looking at it now I don't think it is. I will do some more digging.
 

Phandalyon

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OK, RAM upgrade and new PSU are installed. We will give it a few days to see if that resolves the DPM issues.
 

dzhenry

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Interesting thread. I've never re-installed a program as often as I have DPM2007 over the past 6 months. But I like some of it's features.
Anyway, it was running well on a highpoint 2210 (the 4-port version of the 2220) until I ran out of sata ports and replaced the 2210 with 2220. Now dpm is a no-go. I cannot create protection groups or replication points or complete any other disk-related activity in dpm. I have re-installed everything (I'm pretty fast at this now) with no change. At first, the 2220 seemed to be able to read the disks written by the 2210 but I didn't test it fully.
I would like to know if your testing is successful.
Today I will be replacing the new 2220 with the original 2210 to see if it comes back up. Both controllers have current bios and drivers.
thanks alot
Doug
 
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