Continuous Backup for Exchange Server 2013 with DPM 2012 (Part 2)

by [Published on 21 May 2013 / Last Updated on 9 Sept. 2013]

Installing DPM agents and creating a Protection Group for Exchange Server 2013.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Configuring Disks for the DPM Server

After a fresh install of DPM 2012, it’s time to configure the storage pool. DPM 2012 requires a disk that is dedicated to the storage pool. Although a pre-existing volume on a storage pool disk may have free space, DPM can use only space in volumes that it creates. To make the entire disk space available to the storage pool, delete any existing volumes on the disk, and then add the disk to the storage pool. Figure 1 depicts Disk 0 as a good candidate to configure as DPM storage.

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Figure 1: Disk Management

The following procedures detail how to accomplish the previous mentioned tasks.

  1. Log on to the DPM server with a domain user account that has local administrator rights. On the Start menu, point to All Programs, point to Microsoft System Center 2012, Data Protection Manager and then click Microsoft System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager.
  2. In DPM Administrator Console, in the Management task area, on the Disks tab, in the Actions pane, click Add (Figure 2). In case a warning pops-up stating that the disk will be converted to dynamic, click Yes. The disk will show up as belonging to the DPM storage pool (Figure 3).

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Figure 2:
Add Disks to Storage Pool

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Figure 3:
DPM Storage Pool Disks

Installing Agents

  1. To install a Protection Agent, in DPM Administrator Console, in the Management task area, on the Agents tab, in the Actions pane, click Install (Figure 4). The Protection Agent Installation wizard appears and guides you through the process of creating the protection agent. On the Select Computers page (Figure 5), select one or more computers from the Computer name list, click Add, and then click Next.
    Note:
    To protect an Exchange Server 2010 DAG node, you must install a protection agent on the node.

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Figure 4:
Install Agents

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Figure 5:
Select Computers

  1. On the Enter Credentials page (Figure 6), type the user name and password for a domain account that is a member of the local administrators group on all selected servers and click Next. DPM will then try to detect clusters (Figure 7).

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Figure 6:
Enter Credentials

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Figure 7:
Checking if any cluster node is present

  1. On the Choose Restart Method page (Figure 8), select the method you will use to restart the computers after the protection agent is installed. The computer must be restarted before you can start protecting data. Click Next.

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Figure 8:
Choose Restart

  1. On the Summary page (Figure 9), click Install to begin the installation. On the Installation page, the results appear on the Task tab to indicate whether the installation is successful or not (Figure 10). Click Close.

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Figure 9:
Summary

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Figure 10:
Agent Installation

  1. The machines with the freshly installed agents will appear under Unprotected computers with protection agent (Figure 11). If the agent is installed, it will now appear on the Programs and Features (Figure 12) and there will be a new service running on that machine (Figure 13).

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Figure 11:
DPM Agents

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Figure 12:
Programs and Features

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Figure 13:
DPM Agent Service

Manual Install and Attach DPM Agents

In some circumstances, you must install the protection agent manually, for example, when the computer that you want to protect is behind a firewall, in a workgroup, or in a domain that does not have a two-way trust relationship with the domain that the DPM server is located in. After manually installing an agent, you have to attach the computer in DPM Administrator Console.

  1. To manually install the protection agent on the targeted computer, open an elevated Command Prompt window, and then run the following command, as depicted in Figure 14:

    \\<DPMServerName>\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012\DPM\DPM\ProtectionAgents\RA\4.1.<build number>.0\amd64\<language code>\DpmAgentInstaller_x64.exe <DPMServerName>

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Figure 14:
DpmAgentInstaller_x64.exe

  1. In DPM Administrator Console, on the navigation bar, click Management, and then click the Agents tab. In the Actions pane, click Install. The Protection Agent Installation Wizard opens. On the Select Agent Deployment Method page, select Attach agents, select Computer on trusted domain, and then click Next (Figure 15).
  2. On the Select Computers page (Figure 16), select one or more computers from the Computer name list, click Add, and then click Next.

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Figure 15:
Attach agents

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Figure 16:
Select Computers

  1. On the Enter Credentials page (Figure 17), type the user name and password for a domain account that is a member of the local administrators group on all selected servers and click Next.
  2. On the Summary page (Figure 18), click Install to begin the installation. On the Installation page, the results appear on the Task tab to indicate whether the installation is successful or not. Click Close.

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Figure 17:
Enter Credentials

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Figure 18:
Summary

Configure Exchange 2013 Protection Groups

  1. Before creating the Protection Group, since we’re protecting an Exchange Server, we must copy the ese and eseutil files (usually located at C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Bin) to the DPM Server. The versions of eseutil.exe and ese.dll that are installed on the computer running the most recent edition of Exchange Server must be the same versions that are installed on the DPM server.

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Figure 19:
ese and eseutil files on the DPM server

  1. To create a Protection Group, in DPM Administrator Console, in the Protection task area, in the Actions pane, click Create protection group (Figure 20). The New Protection Group Wizard appears and guides you through the process of creating the protection group (Figure 21). Click Next

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Figure 20:
Create Protection Group

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Figure 21:
New Protection Group Wizard

  1. On the Select Protection Group Type, select Servers and click Next (Figure 22).
  2. On the Select Group Members page, verify that all computers and DAGs that store data you want to protect are displayed in the Available members box. In the Available members box, expand the server nodes to display the available data sources on each server and to see available Exchange mailbox databases. Place a check mark in the box next to each mailbox database you want to include. As you select data sources, your selections appear in the Selected members box (Figure 23). Click Next.

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Figure 22:
Select Protection Group Type

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Figure 23:
Select Group Members

  1. On the Select Data Protection Method page, select I want short-term protection using check box for short-term protection and then select the media you want to use from the drop-down list. Since we do not have a tape library attached to the DPM server, only Disk is available for short-term protection (Figure 24). Click Next.

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Figure 24:
Select Data Protection Method

  1. On the Specify Exchange Protection Options page, select the Run Eseutil to check data integrity check box to check the integrity of the Exchange Server databases (Figure 25). This will offload the backup consistency checking from the Exchange Server to the DPM server which means the I/O impact of running eseutil on the Exchange Server during the backup itself is eliminated. If protecting a DAG, make sure Run for log files only is selected. If you didn’t previously copy the eseutil file, as mentioned on step 1, you’ll see an error (Figure 26). Click Next.

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Figure 25:
Exchange Protection Options

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Figure 26:
Error eseutil

  1. On the Specify Exchange DAG Protection page (Figure 27), select the databases for copy backup and express full backup. For protecting multiple copies of the same database, select only one database for express full and incremental backup and then select the remaining copies for copy backup. 

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Figure 27:
Exchange DAG Protection

  1. On the Specify Short-Term Goals page (Figure 28), select the retention duration for data recovery in the Retention range box. In the Synchronization frequency section, select the frequency of the incremental backups or Just before a recovery point to configure DPM to perform an express full backup just before each scheduled recovery point. To modify the recovery point schedule for a data source, click Modify next to the desired data source. Click Next.

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Figure 28:
Short-Term Goals

  1. DPM will display its recommended disk allocations (Figure 29). This step enables you to allocate how much of the disk storage pool will be used to protect these particular data sources. You should allocate the DPM replica volume to slightly larger than the amount you expect each data source to grow in the short term. Sizing the recovery point volume will determine how many previous recovery points are available for rapid, disk-based restore. To accept the recommended allocations, click Next. To change a recommended allocation, click Modify, adjust the allocations, click OK, and then click Next.

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Figure 29:
Disk Allocation

  1. On the Choose Replica Creation Method page (Figure 30), select when you want DPM to execute the initial replication of your data and click Next.
    • Select the Automatically option to have DPM replicate the data across the network. Select Now to have DPM immediately begin copying the data from the computers you are protecting to the DPM server; Select Later to start the initial copy at a later time if you want to schedule the job to run only during periods of light network traffic.
    • Select Manually to use tape, USB storage, or other portable media to transfer the baseline data to the DPM server.

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Figure 30:
Replica Creation Method

  1. On the Choose Consistency check options page (Figure 31), chose either the Run a consistency check if a replica becomes inconsistent or the Run a daily consistency check according to the following schedule. Click Next.

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Figure 31:
Replica Creation Method

  1. On the Summary page (Figure 32), review the tasks that DPM is set to perform to create the protection group and then click Create Group. Review the confirmation page (Figure 33) and click Close.

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Figure 32:
Summary

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Figure 33:
Protection Group Creation Status

DPM will immediately create the first replica of the storage groups and will show an OK protection status if it succeeds (Figure 34).

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Figure 34:
Exchange Protection Group

Summary

The configuration process covered in these 2 parts is enough to protect mailbox databases of Exchange Server 2013. In the next part we’ll take a look into the necessary steps to protect other Exchange Server roles and services, as well as some optional configuration in DPM 2012 SP1.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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