How do I protect Exchange 2010 DAGs with DPM 2010?

Author by Nathan Lasnoski

We've found that Data Protection Manager is a great tool for backing up Exchange 2010, though I've certainly come across some questions regarding how to protect different elements of the Exchange infrastructure.  A key question is "how do I protect Exchange 2010 DAGs"?  This is an interesting question, as it brings up several key decisions: How many copies of the Exchange 2010 data do I need protected in DPM? Exchange 2010 includes a capability called Database Availability Groups.  This replication capability has replaced the previous CCR and SCR technologies with a single, unified solution.  In the case of DAGs, multiple servers can maintain copies of the Exchange databases, with little dependency on high bandwidth.  That said, when deciding on how to protect the data, you need to determine if you desire to keep multiple copies of the Exchange data in DPM, or if you desire only to maintain one.  You can choose to either protect one of the DAG group members, or both.  How do I use a secondary offsite DPM server when protecting Exchange 2010 DAGs? You cannot replicate a protected Exchange 2010 DAG database from one DPM server to another DPM server.  Instead, Microsoft intends for an offsite Exchange server to be deployed to the secondary location.  You can then protect that third DAG group member with the offsite secondary DPM server.  In this scenario, DPM is preventing me from potentially replicating the data twice offsite, or trying to restore an Exchange database over a WAN. I've found that Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010 is an excellent complement to largely Microsoft centric IT infrastructures, especially in protecting Exchange, SharePoint, Hyper-V, SQL, and other Microsoft workloads.  I've addressed items, such as protecting Microsoft Hyper-V with DPM in this post: How does it work anyway? DPM backs up Exchange 2010 by doing the following:
  • Transaction logs are synchronized on reoccurring intervals, generally every 15 minutes
  • An "express full" is utilizes the Exchange Server VSS writer to synchronized changed blocks from the entire production database. 
  How much storage do I need? Utilize this tool to plan your Exchange backup storage ahead of time: Check out this great video on Exchange 2010 protection with DPM 2010: Welcome to a new world of data protection! Nathan Lasnoski

Nathan Lasnoski

Chief Technology Officer