How To Use Systems Center 2012R2 Data Protection Manager (DPM)

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DPM Overview

The DPM server creates and maintains a replica, or copy, of the data that is on protected servers. The replicas are stored in the storage pool which consists of a set of disks on the DPM server.





The replica is synchronized, or updated, at regular intervals according to the settings that you configure. If a replica is identified as being inconsistent, DPM performs a consistency check, which is a block-by-block verification of the replica against the data source.

DPM works by creating a replica of the selected data sources (e.g Virtual Machine) and synchronizes the replica with any changes since the last synchronisation and creates recovery points on a recurring schedule.  The way we have setup our DPM servers is to backup the entire virtual machine once a day called an express full backup in the evening. The backup, backs up to disk and to tape on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly schedule. Any changes to the replica that have happened since the last synchronisation will be copied across and stored in the storage pool.

An express full backup is a type of synchronization in which the protection agent transfers a snapshot of all blocks that have changed since the previous express full backup (also since the most recent consistency check performed or the initial replica creation for the first express full backup) and updates the replica to include the changed blocks. The impact of an express full backup operation on performance and time is expected to be less than the impact of a full backup because DPM transfers only the blocks changed since the last express full backup

Data Protection Groups

In order to backup a virtual machine you will need to add it to a protection group.  Within the DPM console click on Protection and if it has any protection groups you will find them listed here.  A protection group is a collection of data sources that share the same protection configuration such as recovery goals defined by retention range, synchronization and recovery point schedules ( backup schedules).

Adding Virtual Machines to a Protection Group

Right click a protection group and select Modify protection group. This will launch a wizard which will allow you to add virtual machines to this protection group. Within the left pane window you will see the Hyper-V cluster. Expand the cluster and select the virtual machines you want to backup as per the following screenshot




Once you have selected which virtual machines you would like to backup, press the next button on all the screens leaving all the settings that have already been configured until you get to the Choose replica creation method.

This screen will default to starting off the backup job for this protection group. If you don’t intend on starting the backups off straight away, check the button for later and schedule the time as per the schedule of the backup job.

Then click next on the rest of the screens with all the options that have been set.


Create a New Data Protection Group

To create a new data protection group, click on the protection view and on the top left click on New which will bring up the welcome screen. Click next.

Select servers.



On the next screen select which virtual machines you want added as part of this protection group.



On the next screen give the group a name and check either sure short-term or long-term protection depending on how you want to do your backups. Disk or Tape.




On the next screen choose the retention range for the short-term protection, which will be how long to keep a backup on disk. Set this to 2 days and schedule the backup to be performed in the evening



On the next screen make sure Co-locate data in DPM storage pool and automatically grow the volumes is selected. Leave the disk space allocation for new members as its default as set by DPM






On the next screen for long-term goals which will be how long to store data to tape as follows. Click on customize



Set the recovery goals as follows on the customize screen:



After pressing ok this will return to the long-term goals screen and press on modify to modify the backup schedule:

Set your backup schedule as per your requirements:




Press ok and click next on the long term goals screen once you have set both recovery goals and backup schedule settings.

On the select library and tape details, Select your tape library and choose the drives allocated (2).

Select – Do not compress or encrypt data as per the screen below:




On the – choose replica creation method set the time when to perform the first replica, usually out of hours:



On the consistency check options, make sure – Run a consistency check if replica becomes inconsistent is checked:




On the summary screen press Create group to complete the creation.

Checking Backup Jobs for Success or Failed Jobs

To check the status of previous backup jobs, click on the Monitoring view and on this screen on the left pane you will see Alerts and Jobs. If you just want to view last nights failed jobs, click on Failed jobs for yesterday and today under default filters under Jobs as per the screen below.



If you select one of the failed jobs you will get a description of why the backup of the virtual machine failed to help with your diagnosis.

Under Alerts you will find critical/warning/information messages about DPM / Tape drive messages etc.

Running reports

There is a reporting feature under the reporting view that will allow you to generate a number of different reports. These jobs can also be scheduled to email you any type of report you like.


  • Disk utilization: Gives a report on disk space used by disk based backups
  • Recovery: Gives a report of any restores that have been performed
  • Recovery Point Status: Gives a report of the status of your backups to see which days you can perform a recovery/restore of your protected data.
  • Status: Gives a report on the status of all recovery points for a specified time, lists recovery jobs and shows success and failed jobs.
  • Tape Management: Provides details for managing tape rotation. This report lists all libraries that are below the free media threshold.
  • Tape Utilization: Provides trends in tape utilization to assist in capacity planning and making decisions about allocating additional tapes

Performing Restores / Recovery

To perform a restore of a virtual machine or a file, go to the Recovery view.



In the left pane under Browse, you will see the list of virtual machines that are currently backed up. Simply browse to the virtual machine that you want to perform the restore from.

You can either restore the entire virtual machine or just a specific file within the virtual machine

Perform a complete restore of a Virtual Machine

To restore an entire virtual machine simply select the VM and on the calendar select the day to restore a recovery point. Or if you right click the VM and select show all recovery points, it will display the recovery points you can restore from:



Then press Recover.


There are 4 options you can select on how you want to perform your recovery:

• Recover to original instance. This overwrites the current virtual machine and replaces with this backup version.
• Recover as a virtual machine to any host
• Copy to a network folder
• Copy to take



Choose your option and press next.

Recover a file/folder from backup

To recover a file from backup, within the Recovery view, simply browse to the virtual machine and drill down to the file or folder that you want to restore.  From the calendar choose the date/time from when you want to restore from.



Once you have selected the date from when to perform the restore, right click the file and press recover. The recovery option will be to copy to a network folder. Select a share on the network to restore to so you can then manually copy the file back to the original location. You can only restore a file to a server that has the DPM agent on, which will be one of the hyper-v hosts. Create a share on a Hyper-v host and restore to that share.




Once selected follow the options and complete the restore.

Adding disks to the storage pool

If you need to add more storage space to the storage pool that is used for the short-term backup (disk backups) you will need to do the following:

When you have added a new disk to the server, open up Disk Management, right click on the disk and choose Online, then right click it again and choose Convert to Dynamic Disk, because DPM works only with dynamic disks. If your disk is basic, you will not be able to add it in DPM





Now open up the DPM 2012 console, go to Management, click on the Disks link, then hit the Add button




From the Available Disks list select the disk you want to add (if you have more than one) in DPM and hit Add and Ok





Now you can see the disk in DPM, ready to store backups.



Adding a Tape Library/Tape Drive to DPM

If you have a new server setup and need to add a tape library/tape drive to the server. First attached the device to the server and get it recognised by windows, installing drivers etc

Open up DPM and under Management click on Libraries link, and then hit the Rescan button.





After the scan process is finished you should be able to see your tapes in the DPM console





Using SCOM (Centralised DPM Console) to monitor alerts

There is a SCOM management pack for DPM that has been setup within SCOM.  This is also referred to the centralised DPM console.

SCOM can be used to:

  • Monitor backup job alerts related to disk backups, tape backups and Azure backups
  • View alerts related to disk space on the storage pool on the DPM server
  • View alerts related to the tape library and the backup tapes
  • View state views on disks, DPM servers, protected servers, protection groups, tape drives, tape libraries
  • View the health on data sources
  • Perform a number of action tasks using the right hand column
  • View alerts based on workloads – Hyper v, SQL, Exchange, Sharepoint

The management pack is called System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager under the Monitoring tab:


Infrastructure consultant from London. 16 years experience working in IT. Areas of expertise are Active Directory, Systems Center 2012R2 Suite (SCOM, SCORCH, SCCM, SCVMM, SCDPM, SCSM) Private Cloud, Vmware, Hyper-V.
  • Tony Van-Dúnem

    thank you Andrew for this help..

  • Patrick

    Thanks for this awesome blog post.

    I have a question regarding incremental backups.

    I want to backup my VMs every 15 minutes. But I can´t select the synchronization frequency when I have selected VMs from my Hyper-V cluster in the protection group wizard.

    Only when I install the agent on a specific VM I can choose the synchronization frequency.
    And I´m not sure if the synchronization frequency is the same as a recovery point.

    I don´t know which is the right way to backup Hyper-V VMs several times a day 🙁 .

    Any help is appreciated :).