System Center 2012 R2 - DPM - Short-Term Incremental Tape

Posted on 2014-09-14
Last Modified: 2014-09-21
Hi Experts,

My goal is to have short term tape backups, full on Friday, incremental's there after.

My issue is that I've a large amount of data, over 6 TB - and backing up that live to tape in a full backup takes 80 hours or more. Making a weekly incremental backup unfeasible.

I've successfully got the tape backup taking only 20 hours for full backup when configured with the short-term to disk and the long-term to tape.

My question is; if I make two short-term jobs, one short-term to disk and the other short-term to tape; is DPM aware enough that it will do the second short-term to tape from the existing short-term disk backup, or will it grab it from the live system?

Alternatively; do the experts at large have a creative suggestion on how I can get DPM to accomplish my goal?
Question by:ITtelligent
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    A couple of ideas you might consider.

    1) Perhaps you can partition your backup, so that you backup certain databases in full on day 1, and then do your incrementals on that afterwards.  On Day 8, you backup your user and application file data as a full, and then do incremental backups of it thereafter.  And on day 15, you back up OS and programs as a full, with incrementals thereafter.  Or use whatever partitioning scheme makes sense.  This may also allow you to restore data in some kind of priority order, instead of restoring everything (even less-needed applications) at the same time, and not being able to access anything until it's all done.  The problem is that this does make your backup and restore processes a bit more complex.

    2) Do your first full backup (and possibly some days worth of incrementals) to disk, then copy that backup job to tape.  When you've got the copies on tape, change the backup target to tape.    HOWEVER -- and this is important -- you don't want to do an incremental-forever strategy to tape.  Honest.  Six months down the road (say), you'll need to do a restore, and you'll have to restore from your now-ancient original full backup, and you'll have to *successfully* restore every single incremental you've done over the last six months (or 8 or 23) in order to get your server back up and running.  But if *any* of the tapes can't be read for whatever reason, that's as far as you can restore -- well, to the day before the bad tape, technically.  Time and tears have proven this to be a less-than-dependable scheme.

    3) So, instead, the modern trend is to use a backup application that can do what we call Incremental Forever with Synthetic Full Backups.  We run our first full to disk, and after that, we perform only incremental backups.  KEY POINT: periodically (once a week or whatever business requires; could be monthly or every two weeks in some cases) we create a Synthetic Full Backup to tape.  What the Synthetic Full does is gathers the information from its catalog about all the files and their versions that were on disk at the time of your last incremental backup, and puts those on tape just as if you'd done a full backup at that point in time.  You can then expire older, no-longer-used data on the backup disk if you'd like, and you can ship the synthetic full tape offsite for safe storage.
    I don't know if current DPM supports Synthetic Full backups; it may be that you have to buy a backup application such as HP Data Protector or one of the other full-featured backup applications to do this.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment


    Thanks for the comments.

    From reading the above it seems that I have left out some important details.

    I am aiming for a 1 week rotation, full on Friday, incremental after that, within the DPM software.

    On your points 1 looks closest to the best idea The data we have just merely file data. Perhaps we could segregate it into smaller chunks, and simply have separate jobs.
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    OK, given that, it is a fairly easy thing to do if DPM allows.   Decide how many 'chunks' you need to split your data into to meet your backup window, then do a full backup of each on a different night.  Each night, all the jobs that do NOT run a full backup should run an incremental.

    Most backup applications do allow you to copy a job from one location / medium to another, such as from disk to tape.  I do recommend you do use a disk->disk->tape plan if possible; given your painfully slow backup rates, it will extend the life of your tape drives and media, and help maintain reliability of your backups.

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