Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 (DPM) is a Microsoft backup and recovery tool that can be used to protect and recover SharePoint data.

Why is DPM exciting?  It requires very little processing on the server because writes are done frequently at the data block level. Data block-level updates are much less resource intensive than either SharePoint or SQL Server full or partial backups.As a result, you can run DPM on a production server during standard business hours!

DPM provides a SharePoint backup that you can use to recover the configuration database, content databases, and Shared Services Provider databases. With a bit of additional scripting, you can use DPM to protect Search as well.

With other DPM tools (file system backup and the System Recovery Tool), you can also use DPM to provide protection for front-end Web servers, including IIS configurations, and customizations.

Although we've had some DPM content out for a while, we’ve just published a white paper that pulls everything together (especially backing up front-end Web servers and customizations) for Office SharePoint Server administrators. Check the white paper out here, and let us know what you think!

- Margo

P.S. Here are some of my favorite DPM resources--let me know if you've got others!

DPM/SharePoint landing page

Data Protection Manager Blog

White paper for helping sell the idea of DPM to your manager: DPM Whitepaper: Protecting SharePoint Products and Technologies

White paper for how to back up Search:

Update: August 2009: If you install the DPM Service Pack, you no longer need to do search backup through scripting!

Backing up Office SharePoint Server Search by using System Center Data Protection Manager