System Center 2016: What's new in Data Protection Manager

With the release of System Center 2016 one of the components which saw the largest number of news is definitely Dpm. DPM 2016 introduces major improvements in terms of performance and changes regarding storage management and security. The whole is then further enhanced thanks to the support of the new Hyper-V feature in Windows Server 2016.

Modern Backup Storage

DPM 2016 introduces a new mechanism for managing storage defined Modern Backup Storage which uses a block-cloning technology based on Resilient File System (Refs).

Thanks to the use of Modern Backup Storage you can get the following benefits:

  • Disk space optimization: Modern Backup Storage saves approximately the 30-40% storage and have a high degree of flexibility in the management of the same by using volumes ReFS and save backups on VHDX. In DPM 2016 There is no need to allocate a priori the space to devote to protecting resources and is able to adapt employment of storage for backups dynamically based on the size of the source to be protected.
  • Performance improvement: DPM 2016 for saving data on volumes ReFS makes use of a technology block-method-based cloning allocate-on-write instead of copy-on-write (used by VolSnap in DPM 2012 R2). This change enables a performance increase up to the 70%.
  • Decrease in costs: Thanks to the functionality workload-aware storage DPM introduces a further flexibility in the choice of different protection storage workloads that we sconsente to reduce their costs. DPM is able to use high-performance storage and more expensive for workloads with very high I, which may be such as SQL or Sharepoint, and storage less performance for workloads with reduced I.

In order to use Modern Backup Storage requires that DPM is installed on Windows Server 2016.

For more details about the Modern Backup Stoarge you can see Introducing DPM 2016 Modern Backup Storage.

Hyper-V protection

The following changes affect virtual machine protection with DPM 2016.

  • Resilient change tracking (RCT) – DPM uses the new native change tracking mechanism introduced in Hyper-V called Resilient Change Tracking (RCT). RCT significantly increases the resilience of the data compared to the previous change tracking mechanism based on VSS technology and therefore reduces the need for consistency check and thus save time. DPM during differential backups is able to locate and transfer only the blocks that have changed and that are indicated by the change tracker.

The virtual machines that are created directly on Windows Server 2016 and protected by DPM 2016 use of default RCT and therefore you can enjoy the following benefits in terms of protection:

  • Increased reliability: We do not require consistency check after migration of virtual machines;
  • High scalability: You may have a higher number of backup jobs in parallel and a lower impact on storage utilization;
  • Superior performance: faster backups and a lower impact on fabric.

If you want to use the functionality of RCT for virtual machines created on older versions of the hypervisor is wants to update the configuration file version of VMs (For more details, see the upgrading virtual machine version to Windows Server 2016) and on the DPM server 2016 You must stop the protection of virtual machines by selecting the option Retain Data and create a new Protection Group.

  • Continued protection during cluster aware updates – Windows Server 2016 introduced the ability to add a node Windows Server 2016 to an existing Hyper-V cluster consisting of Windows Server nodes 2012 R2. This feature allows you to update the cluster systems without any downtime. DPM 2016 You can protect your virtual machine also during the update process thus continuing to adhere to the established SLAS.
  • Secure VM Backups – DPM 2016 supports backup and recovery of Shielded VMs while maintaining the same level of security. In this regard it is good to specify that in this scenario the capabilities of Item Level Recovery (ILR) and Alternate Recovery Location (ALR) to a location outside the "guarded fabric" are not allowed.
  • Hyper-V with ReFS SOFS Cluster – DPM 2016 cannot protect Hyper-V virtual machines that reside on cluster SOFS that use ReFS. Backup and recovery is also supported for virtual machines that do not use RCT.
  • Hyper-V with Storage Spaces Direct – DPM has the ability to detect and protect virtual machines that use Storage Space Direct in different scenarios, for example, in Hyper-converged scenario where is Hyper-V (compute) that Storage Space Direct (storage) reside on the same cluster. For more details about Storage Spaces Direct on Windows Server 2016 I refer you to this article.

Conclusions

Having regard to the important new features and the many benefits that can be gained by switching to Data Protection Manager 2016 all current users of the solution should seriously consider upgrading. For those who want to explore and evaluate DPM 2016 can Download the trial version from Microsoft System Center Evaluation Center.

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