Using Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1 with Hyper-V

by [Published on 8 Oct. 2009 / Last Updated on 8 Oct. 2009]

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 SP1, and how it can backup Hyper-V configuration information and virtual machines.

Introduction

In this article, you will learn about Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 SP1, and how it can backup Hyper-V configuration information and virtual machines. In addition to reviewing DPM 2007 SP1’s functionality, you will understand how to update Hyper-V and virtual machines for backup using DPM 2007 SP1.

Microsoft DPM 2007 SP1 Overview

If you are looking for a backup solution that supports Hyper-V, take a look at Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 SP1. DPM 2007 SP1 leverages the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to allow you to perform backups of Hyper-V configuration information and virtual machines.

More specifically, DPM 2007 SP1 provides backup and recovery for the following Microsoft virtualization products:

  • Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V (full and Server Core installations)
  • Hyper-V Server 2008
  • Virtual Server 2005 R2

DPM 2007 SP1 also supports backup and recovery of Hyper-V clustered servers. In addition, DPM 2007 SP1 is a backup and recovery solution for Windows Server 2008 and other Microsoft applications such as Exchange Server 2007, SQL Server 2008, and Office SharePoint Server 2007. If you want more details on the full range of supported products, take a look at the product website.

Microsoft DPM 2007 SP1 and Hyper-V Backups

Depending on the requirements of your environment, you may choose to perform Hyper-V host-level backups, virtual machine based backups, or backups of applications running in virtual machines. With a Hyper-V host-level backup, you install a DPM agent only on the Hyper-V server, not on each individual virtual machine. This type of backup enables the equivalent of a bare-metal recovery for a virtual machine. However, with this method you cannot recover individual guest operating system or data files. If you require the ability to recover individual virtual machine files and implement host-level backups, you could restore the entire virtual machine to an alternate directory and then restore only the set of files needed to the appropriate virtual machine VHD(s). If you need to provide backup and recovery for only a specific application running in a virtual machine, DPM 2007 SP1 also supports the deployment of an agent to the virtual machine guest operating system.

In order to recover an entire virtual machine, individual files, or an application, you can perform a Hyper-V host-level backup of a virtual machine in conjunction with backups of specific data files or applications using a DPM agent deployed inside the virtual machine guest operating system. However, you should ensure that you work diligently and create a backup schedule for each server that does not include simultaneous backups, or you must ensure that you configure the physical server with the right processor, memory, disk, and network resources to support concurrent backups.

Virtual Machine Online Host-Level Backups

DPM 2007 SP1 can perform online backups of Hyper-V virtual machines for guest operating systems that are supported by Integration Services, as well as virtual machines running on Virtual Server 2005 R2 with guest operating systems supported by Virtual Machine Additions. More specifically, the guest operating system must support the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Integration Services component, as shown in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Integration Services Component

When DPM 2007 SP1 performs an online backup of a virtual machine, it directs Hyper-V to pause the virtual machine, creates a shadow copy, and then Hyper-V resumes execution of the virtual machine. DPM 2007 SP1 continues to process the shadow copy and copies the backup data set to tape or to another DPM server without significant service interruption.

Virtual Machine Offline Host-Level osBackups

DPM 2007 SP1 also supports offline backups of virtual machines with non-VSS-ware guest operating systems. In order to perform an offline backup, DPM 2007 SP1 directs Hyper-V to transition the virtual machine into a saved state, creates the shadow copy, and then Hyper-V brings the virtual machine back online. With this offline backup process, DPM 2007 SP1 minimizes virtual machine service interruption.

Requirements to Backup Hyper-V and Virtual Machines using DPM 2007 SP1

If you have DPM 2007 servers deployed in your environment, you must perform the following actions before you can successfully back up and recover Hyper-V configuration information and virtual machines using Hyper-V host-level backups:

  • Update Hyper-V servers using KB956697 and KB959962
  • Update virtual machine Integration Services
  • Install DPM 2007 SP1
  • Deploy DPM 2007 SP1 protection agents to Hyper-V servers

KB956697 contains an update for the VMMS service that ensures that the Hyper-V VSS writer is recognized and properly used during VSS-based backups. KB959962 contains updated files for core Hyper-V components, including Integration Services. The updated Integration Services must be installed on supported virtual machines for successful DPM 2007 SP1 backups.

Updating Hyper-V Servers with KB959962

Among other files, installing KB959962 copies a new Vmguest.iso file to the Hyper-V server. This file contains an updated version of the Integration Services that you must install on each supported virtual machine if you want to perform a back up using DPM 2007 SP1.

One way to easily check the Integrations Services version currently installed in a virtual machine is to check the version number displayed in the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy driver properties. Here are the steps:

  • Open the Hyper-V Manager Console, right-click the virtual machine, and select Connect to start a Virtual Machine Connection session
  • Log into the virtual machine guest operating system, and open the Device Manager in the Control Panel
  • In the Device Manager, expand System Devices, right-click Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy, and select Properties
  • In the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Properties dialog box, click the Driver tab
  • As shown in example in Figure 2, the Driver Version property lists the Integration Services version number. In this case, 6.0.6001.18016 is the Integration Services version that was originally released with Hyper-V


Figure 2
: Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Driver Version

Updating Virtual Machine Integration Services

If you need to update the Integration Services version of one or more virtual machines, follow these steps:

  • Open the Hyper-V Manager Console, right-click the virtual machine, and select Connect to start a Virtual Machine Connection session
  • Log into the guest operating system with an account that has local administrator credentials
  • As shown in Figure 3, click on the Virtual Machine Connection application Action menu, and select Insert Integration Services Setup Disk


Figure 3: Virtual Machine Connection Application Action menu

  • Start Windows Explorer in the virtual machine and double-click the DVD drive
  • As shown in Figure 4, when the Upgrade Hyper-V Integration Services dialog box appears, click OK to start the installation


Figure 4: Upgrade Hyper-V Integration Services dialog box

  • When the installation completes, click Yes to restart the virtual machine
  • After the virtual machine restarts, reconnect using the Virtual Machine Connection Application, and verify that the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Driver Version property is 6.0.6001.22334 or later

Upgrading to System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1

If you already have DPM 2007 installed on some servers, you can download the DPM 2007 SP1 update from the Microsoft Web site and install the update on each DPM 2007 server.

Here are the major steps that you want to use to perform Hyper-V server-level backups:

  1. Before you begin, ensure that you do not have any backup jobs in progress or about to start.
  2. Open Windows Explorer, navigate to the directory where you stored the DPM 2007 SP1 update, and double-click the DPM 2007 SP1 update file to begin the installation.
  3. On the Welcome page shown in Figure 5, check for warnings or errors, take appropriate actions, and then click Next.


Figure 5: The DPM 2007 SP1 Installer Welcome page

  1. On the Microsoft Software License Terms page, review the information and then select I Accept, if you agree with the license terms.
  2. Click Next to begin the DPM 2007 SP1 installation
  3.  On the Installation Success page, click Close.
  4.   Restart the Hyper-V server.

Enabling Local Data Protection in DPM 2007 SP1

If you have a small test environment or lab, you can install DPM 2007 SP1 on a Hyper-V server and create local backups of the Hyper-V configuration and virtual machines. However, this configuration is not recommended for production environments. In fact, DPM 2007 SP1 will not allow you to perform local backups until you enable the Local Data Protection setting. Fortunately, it is a really simple process that can be performed using the DPM management shell and entering the following command:

Set-DMGGlobalProperty –AllowLocalDataProtection $true

If you want to disable Local Data Protection, use the following command:

Set-DMGGlobalProperty –AllowLocalDataProtection $false

Deploying a DPM 2007 SP1 Protection Agent

Before you can perform host-level backups of virtual machines on remote Hyper-V servers, you must install a DPM protection agent on that server. After installing the DPM 2007 SP1 update, you can utilize the DPM 2007 Administrator Console to enumerate servers joined to the Active Directory that it is able to protect, and present them as targets for a DPM protection agent deployment. You can control the installation of DPM protection agents using the DPM 2007 Administrator Console, Active Directory Group Policy, and other management tools such as System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Systems Management Server 2003.

Configuring DPM 2007 SP1

After new DPM protection agents are deployed to your Hyper-V servers, you need to configure DPM 2007 SP1 beginning with the allocation of disks to create a storage pool. A storage pool includes one or more dynamic volumes that are used exclusively to store DPM backup data sets. They cannot be shared with other applications, or used to store any other data. Be aware that DPM 2007 SP1 formats new dynamic volumes, so any data previously stored is lost. DPM 2007 SP1 supports Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Storage Area Networks (SAN), and iSCSI disk storage. However, it does not support removable USB/1394 disks.

After you configure a DPM 2007 SP1 storage pool, you must configure a protection group to perform host-level backups of virtual machines. A protection group defines all of the details of the backup, including the Hyper-V configuration information, virtual machines, and other resources that you want to include in the backup data set. A protection group also defines the backup schedule, the backup retention range, the tape backup schedule (this is optional, but highly recommended), and recovery points.

Conclusion

Hyper-V, with its built-in support for the Volume Shadow Copy Service, allows you to use System Center DPM 2007 SP1 to implement a backup and recovery plan for your virtualization environment. If Integrations Services are available for the virtual machine guest operating system and the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy driver is installed, DPM 2007 SP1 can perform a backup without significant service interruption (online backup). DPM 2007 SP1 also allows you to perform backups of virtual machines that do not support Integration Services by placing the virtual machine in saved state for the short period of time needed to create a shadow copy (offline backup). If you are interested in more details, including how to deploy System Center DPM 2007 SP1 protection agents, as well as how to configure storage pools and protection groups, take a look at my video posted on the VirtualizationAdmin.com site.

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