Extending the scope of its System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), Microsoft unveils version 2.0 (beta) with near-continuous, to-disk backup capabilities for SharePoint and SQL Server. This expands on DPM's previous ability to backup file and application servers.DPM 2006 is a Microsoft server app that aims to optimize disk-based and tape-based backup and restore. The DPM server routinely synchronizes with your production servers, capturing only the changes. This replication occurs at the byte level. So instead of replicating an entire file when a change occurs, DPM replicates only the bytes that actually change within each file. According to Tech Net magazine, a test by the Microsoft DPM group demonstrated that DPM could protect a branch office with 300GB of data to back up every day through a single nightly synchronization session that lasted only 10 minutes. The backup window of course depends on the level of data churn on each server and the network throughput available, but the approach is a wise one and should certainly outperform an alternative which makes full nightly copies. But before we get over heated here, its important to note one thing. DPM is a very Microsoft-centric solution and will not work for everyone. It requires Active Directory, one or more MS domain controllers, directly attached disk storage (using something like Microsoft Storage Server), etc. It is really designed to handle two scenarios: 1) data center or central office backups, and 2) remote or branch office backups. For those who's operations are built-out this way, it can be an exceptionally economical approach to backups. Unfortunately, for those of you that have not gone hook line and sinker for an MS infrastructure, DPM will probably not even be an option. Data Protection Manager Features Continuous Data Protection DPM captures data changes as they occur in real-time and synchronizes every 15 minutes to ensure Windows data and user productivity are protected—unlike other legacy methods that backup data only once a day—so that business critical data can be protected at all times. Lossless Restores for Applications By integrating a point-in-time database restore with the existing application logs, DPM delivers lossless recovery of Microsoft Exchange, SQL (2000 and 2005), and SharePoint (WSS 2.0 and WSS 3.0) servers without the need for constant replication or synchronization. Application Integration for Exchange Server, SQL Server, and SharePoint DPM offers integrated support for E12 CCR and LCR clusters, shorter SQL backup windows without the need for compression, and integrated Farm, DB, and site-level restores for SharePoint. DPM also provides one touch application restores so there's no need to pre stage recovered data and then utilize other application-specific UI's. Rapid Recovery Backing up data to disk provides the fastest way to recover data that's been lost due to user error or software and hardware corruption. With DPM, recovering information is as simple as browsing a share and copying directly from the DPM platform to the production server within seconds. By restoring data from disk, DPM enables customers to recover data in minutes, versus the hours it takes to recover from tape. Reliable Recovery DPM leverages disk-based backup to provide the highest level of reliability versus traditional—and often unpredictable—tape backup methods. All of the various failure points for tape backup, including corrupt indexes, broken media, misplaced cartridges, and human error are all avoided by relying on disk storage as the primary restoration medium, while still leveraging tape for long-term archival storage. Seamless Disk and Tape Integration DPM transparently leverages both disk and tape mediums to enable fast, multiple points-in-time-per-day restores from disk, while ensuring long term retention and off site portability with disk. Unified Protection Policies Across Data Types DPM allows protection to be configured across heterogeneous applications and file-sharing platforms with a single policy. This allows you to manage logical groupings of data from a single UI—delivering Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and File data mixed, within a single policy, to any combination of disk and tape protection. SLA-driven Backup Process Protection policies are based on intent and SLAs, creating a layer of abstraction that insulates the user from the often confusing process of scheduling individual backup jobs in order to meet an overall SLA. Patented Block Filter With an efficient disk infrastructure and reduced network traffic, DPM's volume filter changes how backups are achieved and maintained: — The volume of full backups is reduced by as much as 90 percent, saving disk space and reducing backup time from hours to minutes. — Express full backups and an enhanced network throttling mechanism allows for more granular management of bandwidth. Data Protection Manager Server Requirements DPM is designed to run on a dedicated, single-purpose server. The server must not be a domain controller or application server, and must not double as the host for the DPM Management Pack. The DPM server must have at least two disks installed: one that is dedicated to the system and DPM installation files, and one that is dedicated to the storage pool. The DPM server must be running Windows Server 2003 (Standard or Enterprise Edition) with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later installed.