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I'm using Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (2010, currently evaluating 2012) to backup my environment, and I have two questions about the disaster recovery process in the event of a total data center loss (no server or storage available, only off-site tapes).

I'm currently backing up to tape:

  • The System State on the domain controllers.
  • The DPM database on the DPM server.
  • The databases on the Exchange 2010 server.

Every article I was able to found and read says the first thing you need in order to start the recovery process is the DPM database; so far, so good. BUT. Let's say my backup window starts at 21:00; the DPM database, being quite small, gets backed up in a couple of minutes. Then, at 21:30, the DC backup completes. The Exchange backup, instead, goes on for a couple of hours and completes at 23:00.

The backed up DPM database will contain no information about the DC and Exchange backups, because they completed after it was backed up to tape. So, in this scenario, will DPM still be able to recognize the backed up data and restore them?

The second question is sort of a Catch-22 one. In order to restore Active Directory, I need a DC backup; but, in order to restore a DC backup, I need a DPM server; but, in order to restore the DPM server, I need Active Directory (and no, DPM is not going to even install on a stand-alone server).

How to handle this?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The first question was actually easy: if a DPM server doesn't know about what is stored in a backup tape (because it's a freshly re-installed server, or because it's using an old copy of the DPM database), it can always re-catalog and import the tape, and then make use of the backups stored on it.

The second question still has no good answer, so I'm posting a new one.

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