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Is Microsoft's DPM a Worthy Data Protection Tool for IT?

When Microsoft jumped into the data protection market back in 2005 with the release of its System Center Data Protection Manager, most providers of backup and recovery and replication software shrugged their shoulders. It was easy to point out that it only supported Windows environments and was not very robust.

Now, the latest DPM release can backup and recover Linux virtual machines, enables deployment in virtual environments by configuring storage as VHD pool disks shared in a System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) library and supports SQL Server clusters, as well as provide Windows Azure backup. DPM has come a long way since its release eight-plus years ago. Yet despite the improvements, most third-party suppliers of data protection software don't see it as a competitive threat.

I spoke with quite a few players over the past week and some argue they aren't seeing DPM used at all and others see DPM running alongside their solutions. Take Simpana from CommVault. Randy DeMeno, chief technologist for the company's Microsoft partnership, says some of his customers use DPM and Simpana runs alongside it. "When you get into long-term storage, e-discovery, heterogeneous virtual environments, heavy e-discovery, search, Exchange, SharePoint, [IBM Lotus] Domino [and] various heterogeneous files, that's where CommVault comes into play," DeMeno says.

"We really do high-speed recovery," says Mike Resseler, the Microsoft evangelist at Veeam Software. "We still don't look at DPM as competition but both can work better together. The reason is Veeam Backup and Replication is on the virtualization layer, DPM on Hyper-V. We support VMware as well. We connect the two and can give an effective and cheap solution to do disaster recovery."

Other tools offer better performance with enhanced data deduplication, adds Subo Guha, VP of product management at Unitrends, who acknowledges the improvements to DPM. "It's still kind of weak compared to what we see from a scalability perspective" Guha argues.

Yet most vendors I talked to acknowledged DPM can complement their own solutions. "They've got the backup piece covered and we've got the piece covered where if there's a disaster we can help get the applications up so it can use the data that they have backed up," says Tim Laplante, director of product strategy at Vision Solutions Inc. His company makes Double Take for high-availability environments (with a focus on business continuity and disaster recovery).

Serguei Beloussov, co-founder and CEO of Acronis, offers perhaps the harshest view of DPM arguing that letting Microsoft protect its own environment is the equivalent of letting the fox in the chicken coop. "What most people want to protect themselves against is errors and failures from Microsoft itself," Beloussov says. "Trying to protect yourself against Microsoft with the tool Microsoft supplies doesn’t sound very competitive."

Despite the richer features providers of data protection software offer, does Microsoft's DPM have a place in your shop? Share your views below or drop me a line at [email protected].


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/28/2014 at 2:34 PM


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