Set up protection for virtual machines with CSV storage


Updated: May 13, 2016

Applies To: System Center 2012 SP1 - Data Protection Manager, System Center 2012 - Data Protection Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager

Data Protection Manager (DPM) in System Center 2012 can back up virtual machines that are using Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) storage.

CSV is a feature of failover clustering that was introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2. It has the following features:

  • A CSV is a shared single disk that contains an NTFS volume.

  • Multiple virtual machines can be stored on a CSV, and the CSV can be accessed by multiple Hyper-V host servers installed on failover cluster nodes.

  • You can have multiple CSVs in a Hyper-V cluster. Typically, all of the virtual hard disks (VHDs) of virtual machines in the cluster are stored on a common CSV, so that any node in the cluster can access the VHDs.

Before you start

Before you deploy protection note the following:

  • If you’re running Windows Server 2008 R2 I/O redirection is used for DPM backup, and CSV backup is serialized, impacting performance. This limitation is removed from Windows Server 2012 onwards.

  • If you are running Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 and you’re backing up multiple virtual machines with DPM, ensure that only one backup uses the same CSV at any one time. To do this, follow the instructions in Serialize virtual machine backups. If you’re currently using the integrated software VSS and you want to move to a hardware VSS, follow the instructions in Migrate to a hardware VSS provider.

    Note: The setup and functionality of Hardware VSS from different storage hardware manufacturers are different. Refer to the hardware manufacturer’s instructions for details on storage hardware VSS

  • If a single node shuts down unexpectedly in a CSV cluster, DPM will perform a consistency check against the virtual machines that were running on that node.

  • If you need to restart a Hyper-V server that has BitLocker Drive Encryption enabled on the CSV cluster, you must run a consistency check for Hyper-V virtual machines.

  • If you use a hardware VSS provider, you can back up multiple virtual machines using the same CSV and cluster node. To specify the number of concurrent backups that can run from a node, do the following:

    1. Install the hardware VSS provider on the host computer and ensure that your Storage Area Network (SAN) is configured for hardware snapshots.

    2. Delete the %Programfiles%\Microsoft DPM\DPM\Config\DataSourceGroups.xml file from the DPM server.

    3. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\2.0\Configuration\MaxAllowedParallelBackups.

    4. Set the following values — Value: Microsoft Hyper-V; Data: 3; Value: DWORD. For optimal performance we recommend a maximum of three. To complete this process run Modify Protection Group Wizard for each protection group that protects the virtual machines on the cluster.

Set up protection

  1. Deploy DPM—Verify that DPM is installed and deployed correctly. If you haven’t see:

  2. Set up storage—Check that you have storage set up. Read more about your options in:

    Use the following table for capacity sizing of virtual machine protection.

    Average virtual machine size 100 gigabytes (GB)
    Number of virtual machines per DPM server 800
    Total size of 800 virtual machines 80 terabytes (TB)
    Required space for backup storage 80 terabytes (TB)

    As an example, if your fully scaled Hyper-V cluster contains 1600 virtual machines, you’ll need two DPM servers, and double the provisioning that is summarized in the table. The total storage requirement for 1600 virtual machines is greater than 160 TB. Read about optimizing space in Optimize virtual machine protection.

  3. Set up the DPM protection agent—The agent needs to be installed on the Hyper-V server, or on each server in the Hyper-V cluster. Read Plan for protection agent deployment, and then Set up the protection agent.

  4. Set up a protection group—In the Select Group Members page of the Create New Protection Group wizard, you can select the Hyper-V host servers on which the virtual machines you want to back up are located. If you are protecting a Hyper-V cluster, expand the Cluster and select the virtual machine you want to protect. Make sure that the virtual machines that will have the same protection policy are in the same protection group. Use collocation while you create the protection groups to optimize the replica volume and to avoid reaching the maximum number of volumes that are supported in a Windows Server. Read about protection groups in:

  5. After you create the protection group initial replication of the data occurs. Backup then takes place in line with the protection group settings. If you need to recover backed up data see Recover backed up data [DPM2012_Web]. Note the following behavior for restoring virtual machines.

    Virtual machine recovery Details
    Recover to original location The original VHD is deleted. DPM will recover the VHD and other configuration files on the original location using Hyper-V VSS writer. At the end of the recovery process, virtual machines will still be highly available.

    The resource group must be present for recover. If it isn’t available recover to an alternate location and then make the virtual machine highly available.
    Recover to alternate location DPM supports alternate location recovery (ALR), which provides a seamless recovery of a protected Hyper-V virtual machine to a different Hyper-V host, independent of processor architecture. Hyper-V virtual machines that are recovered to a cluster node will not be highly available.
    Item-level recovery (ILR) DPM supports item-level recovery (ILR), which allows you to do item-level recovery of files, folders, volumes, and virtual hard disks (VHDs) from a host-level backup of Hyper-V virtual machines to a network share or a volume on a DPM protected server. The DPM protection agent doesn’t have to be installed inside the guest to perform item-level recovery.


To read an example about using System Center DPM 2012 to protect Hyper-V Virtual Machines with CSV storage, see Protecting Hyper-V Virtual Machines with System Center DPM 2012.