Watch for unsupported data types in Data Protection Manager

Microsoft's new tool for disk-based data recovery and protection -- the Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) -- provides several capabilities to enhance backup and restore, including support for disk-to-disk backup.

However, if you're using DPM, you should be aware that it does not support certain common data types, notably some types of meta data and files with malformed names. If DPM detects any of these data types in a data source it is supposed to protect, it will skip over them and log an exception in the DPM Administration Console. The unprotected data types include:

  • Encrypted folders or unencrypted files within encrypted folders;

  • Files within the same folder whose names differ only in capitalization (this violates the NTFS naming conventions);

  • Hard links; and

  • Reparse points.

Despite the limits on reparse points, Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager will protect mount points and associated data -- well, sort of. When Data Protection Manager encounters a mount point, it protects the largest volume mounted from that mount point. But it doesn't protect the meta data about the mount point. The mount point hierarchy has to be recreated manually. Furthermore, DPM will not protect mounted volumes within mounted volumes.

Several other types of files are not protected, including the recycle bin, paging files, volumes not formatted with NTFS and the system volume information folder, but DPM simply skips

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them without issuing a warning message.

When it comes to this issue of unsupported data types, Microsoft has a suggested workaround, which is to advise your users not to create files of the unsupported data types. Note: Microsoft provides a good look at Data Protection Manager in its Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Planning and Deployment Guide.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Fast Guide

  Verifying Data Protection Manager status
 Server plays key role in Data Protection Manager deployment
 Why Data Protection Manager is replacing disk-to-tape backups
 Troubleshooting Data Protection Manager warning message
 Measuring the impact of Data Protection Manager 2006
 Storage pool savvy helps admins optimize Data Protection Manager
 Watch for unsupported data types in Data Protection Manager
  Protecting servers with Data Protection Manager

About the Author:
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in issues related to storage and storage management.

This was first published in February 2006

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