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Important note on DPM 2012 and the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V replica role

Important note on DPM 2012 and the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V replica role

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InformationHello, Shane Brasher here, and I wanted to take a minute today to talk to you about a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V / System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager (DPM) SP1 supportability issue. First let’s briefly discuss an exciting new feature of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. There is a new functionality added to the Hyper-V role that enables you to implement Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. This functionality is called Hyper-V replication or Hyper-V Replica. This new feature allows you to have a Hyper-V Primary server that replicates it’s virtual machines to another server hosting the Hyper-V replica role. Any changes made on the Primary Hyper-V are replicated over to the Hyper-V Replica server every 5 minutes, thus if the Primary Hyper-V server should fail then the Hyper-V Replica can take over the workload. More information can be found at the link below:

Hyper-V Replica Overview :

The important thing to note about this is that while the DPM agent can be installed on both servers with no issues and you can backup the Primary DPM server as usual with no problems, on the Hyper-V Replica server you can enumerate the virtual machines and “may” even be able to back them up successfully, however backing up or restoring the Hyper-V replica is not supported.

Due to the inner workings of the Hyper-V replication architecture which may be in progress during the time of a DPM backup, there can be no guarantees of a successful backup or restore of virtual machines that reside on the Hyper-V Replica server. You will still be able to backup other types of data on the Hyper-V Replica such as flat files and system state for example.

A common question that is often asked is “if the Replica is a complete backup of the Primary Hyper-V server virtual machines, then why would I want to back that up again with DPM if redundancy is already built-in.” Well, then answer is you wouldn’t need to backup the Hyper-V Replica but you still may want to backup the Primary Hyper-V server for many reasons.

First, you may have a mandatory retention range set via service level agreement that you may want to adhere to. Second, you may choose to perform a restore from a previous point in time for example 2 weeks ago. Third, you may choose to perform a restore from a previous point in time to another Hyper-V server for testing without interrupting productivity. Forth, it’s possible there may be some catastrophic corruption on one of the virtual machines. For example, perhaps you have a virtual machine that has a virus and the virtual machine along with the virus is replicated over to the Hyper-V Replica.

In conclusion the key points are this:

Backing up or restoring virtual machines from a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica is not supported. If you need an extra layer of redundancy for your Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V virtual machines, you can achieve this by backing up the Hyper-V Primary server.

Shane Brasher | Senior Support Escalation Engineer | Management and Security Division

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  • Good to know it, i will be ready for it...

  • interesting read

  • If there are two Hyper-V servers (server 2012), with each hosting a replica of the other's guests, can DPM2012 still backup the primary instance of each guest?  Does having a Replica present preclude DPM2012 from backing up any of the Primary guests?

  • I tried implementing a DPM backup of our replica server after having no end of trouble getting DPM to successfully backup VMs on the primary server that were stored on a CSV.

    I noted that the replication doesn't work while the VM on the replica server is being backed up by DPM (but resumes as soon as the backup is complete), so I'm not sure how there could be a consistency problem. The replicated VMs are all in a saved state and in-between replications when they are backed up.

  • Good to know, but how do you keep DPM from TRYING to back up the Replica server? As soon as we add the Replica Server to VMM we get backup failures in DPM from it trying to protect the replica instead of the primary. Happened with DPM 2012 SP1 and VMM 2012 SP1 and Now with R2. So I cannot add my replica servers to VMM and keep backups working. If Interested, see this post.

  • Hmmm, it would be immensely helpful to backup the Replica server (can't have too much money or too many backups) as a secondary backup, and "extending" the idea further with WS2012 R2, backing up the Extended Replica (third copy of data) would be ever better, especially to have multiple iterations of the data. Is this now possible with WS2012 R2? Is the inability to backup and restore a Replica a deficiency of DPM or is it impossible for any Windows backup program to pull it off?