Add Modern Backup Storage to DPM

Modern Backup Storage (MBS) is provided by System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) to deliver 50% storage savings, 3X faster backups, and more efficient, workload-aware storage.

  • MBS is enabled automatically when you're running at least DPM 2016 on Windows Server 2016. If DPM is running on a version of Windows Server older than Windows Server 2016, it doesn't use MBS.
  • MBS provides intelligent storage for short-term backup to disk. MBS provides faster disk backup, consuming less disk space. Without MBS, each datasource needs two volumes, one for the initial backup and the other for delta changes.
  • MBS backups are stored on an ReFS disk. It uses ReFS block cloning, and VHDX technology, Learn more.

DPM 2016 accepts volumes for storage. Once you add a volume, DPM formats the volume to ReFS to use the new features of Modern Backup Storage. Volumes cannot reside on a dynamic disk. Use only a basic disk.

While you can directly give a volume to DPM, you may face issues in extending the volume if a need arises later. To prepare DPM for future expansion, use the available disks to create a storage pool, then create volumes on the storage pool, and expose the volumes to DPM. These virtual volumes can then be extended when needed.

The remainder of this article provides the detail on how to add a volume and to expand it later.

Setting up MBS

Setting up MBS consists of the following steps. Please note you cannot attach locally created VHD (VHDX) files, and use them as storage on a physical DPM server.

  1. Make sure you're running DPM 2016 or later on a VM running Windows Server 2016 or later.
  2. To create a volume on a virtual disk in a storage pool:
    • Add a disk to the storage pool
    • Create a virtual disk from the storage pool, with layout set to Simple. You can then add additional disks, or extend the virtual disk.
    • Create volumes on the virtual disk.
  3. Add the volumes to DPM.
  4. Configure workload-aware storage.

Create a volume

  1. Create a storage pool in the File and Storage Services of Server Manager.
  2. Add the available physical disks to the storage pool.

    • Adding only one disk to the pool keeps the column count to 1. You can then add disks as needed afterwards.
    • If multiple disks are added to the storage pool, the number of disks is stored as the number of columns. When more disks are added, they can only be a multiple of the number of columns.

      Add disks to storage pool

  3. Create a virtual disk from the storage pool, with the layout set to Simple.

    Create virtual disk

  4. Now add as many physical disks as needed.

    Add additional disks

  5. Extend the virtual disk with the Simple layout, to reflect any physical disks you added.

    Extend virtual disks

  6. Now, create volumes on the virtual disk.

    Create volume Select volume server and disk

Add volumes to DPM storage

  1. In the DPM Management console > Disk Storage, click Rescan.
  2. In Add Disk Storage, click Add.
  3. After the volumes are added, you can give them a friendly name.
  4. Click OK to format the volumes to ReFS, so that DPM can use them as MBS.

Review Disk Storage Allocation

Configure workload-aware storage

Using workload-aware storage, the volumes can be selected to preferentially store specific workloads. For example, expensive volumes that support high IOPS can be configured to store workloads that need frequent, high-volume backups such as SQL Server with transaction logs. Workloads that are backed up less frequently, such as VMs, can be backed up to low-cost volumes.

You configure workload-aware storage using Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

Update the volume properties

  1. Run the Update-DPMDiskStorage to update the properties of a volume in the storage pool on a DPM server. The syntax is Parameter Set: Volume.
  2. Run the cmdlet with these parameters.

    Update-DPMDiskStorage [-Volume] <Volume> [[-FriendlyName] <String> ] [[-DatasourceType] <VolumeTag[]> ] [-Confirm] [-WhatIf] [ <CommonParameters>]

    Review Disk Storage Allocation

  3. The changes made using the PowerShell cmdlet are reflected in the DPM Management console.

Review Disk Storage Allocation

Volume Exclusion

DPM servers may be managed by a team of Administrators. While there are guidelines on storage that should be used for backups, a wrong volume given to DPM as backup storage may lead to loss of critical data. Hence, with UR4, you can prevent such scenarios by configuring those volumes to not be shown as available for storage using PowerShell.

For Example, to exclude F:\ and C:\MountPoint1, here are the steps:

  1. Run the Set0DPMGlobalPropery commandlet:
Set-DPMGlobalProperty -DPMStorageVolumeExclusion "F:,C:\MountPoint1"   
  1. Rescan the storage through UI, or use Start-DPMDiskRescan cmdlet.

The configured volumes and mountpoints are excluded. To remove volume exclusion, run the following cmdlet:

Set-DPMGlobalProperty -DPMStorageVolumeExclusion ""   

After removing volume exclusion, rescan the storage. All volumes and mount points, except System Volumes, are available for DPM storage.

Backup Storage Migration

Once all your backups are on MBS, there may be a need to migrate certain datasources from one volume to another. For example, scenarios where you need to upgrade storage, or when a volume is getting full. You can use PowerShell or the user interface to migrate datasources. The details can be found in this blog entry.

The migrating datasource should have all recovery points on Modern Storage. Migrating datasources with backups on disks and volumes (for example, DPM server upgrades when the disk backups haven't expired) is not supported. Migration is similar to modification of a protection group. While migration is in progress, you cannot trigger an ad hoc job. The scheduled jobs continue as configured. When the migration completes, any running jobs in the protection group are pre-empted.

Custom Size Allocation

DPM 2016 consumes storage thinly, as needed. Once DPM is configured for protection, it calculates the size of the data being backed up. If many files and folders are being backed up together, as in the case of a file server, size calculation can take long time. With DPM 2016, you can configure DPM to accept the volume size as default instead of calculating the size of each file. The corresponding registry key is "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\Configuration\DiskStorage" with the Key, "EnableCustomAllocationOnReFSStorage" as a String set to 1 to enable custom size allocation, set to 0 for default size allocation with DPM.