The latest release of Microsoft’s enterprise backup product, System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager (DPM), took a logical approach to scaling the management of many DPM servers. IT pros know that to manage the backup status of more than a few computers or applications at once, you can save a lot of time with a central backup management solution.

Rather than create a new kind of console or dashboard to roll-up the status of many backup servers, DPM uses the System Center 2012 Operations Manager (SCOM) console to present a high-ground view of all backup operations in your organization. With the DPM management packs loaded, SCOM 2012 becomes the “Central Console” for DPM.

The Central Console is a new feature in System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager (DPM). This article covers installing the Central Console and specific features uniquely enabled by this integration. Figure A shows a DPM alert view in the SCOM console, a feature of the Central Console solution.

Figure A

A consolidated alert view of all DPM servers in management in the SCOM console. (Click images for full-size)

Installing the DPM Central Console

You can’t install the Central Console on a computer running DPM server, and the SCOM console needs to be installed on the computer where you are installing the Central Console. A SCOM management server meets the requirements and is an easy location in which to run this feature. (In a high capacity environment, you would architect a dedicated computer for the Central Console.) Here are the steps to deploy the DPM Central Console feature:

  • From the desktop of a SCOM management server, run Setup.exe in the SCDPM folder of the DPM 2012 installation media.
  • Select to install DPM Central Console and a wizard will launch.
  • After the welcome screen, select the Central Console Opt-In Option to install both server and client components.
  • During installation, DPM setup will set some registry keys, create some firewall exceptions, import some management packs, and create a default role-based access configuration.
  • After installation, run the VMM console, pointing it the first time to the DPM server.

After installing the DPM Central Console, you might be searching ‘for the console’. As mentioned, there is no new dashboard style view, rather a deep integration between the existing SCOM console framework and the DPM servers it is managing. In addition to familiar alert views, state views, and agent tasks–like many applications and their respective management packs–the DPM management pack adds some unique features. Microsoft extended the SCOM console with both scoped links to DPM console elements and some hybrid dialogs that only appear in Central Console mode.

Using the DPM Central Console

After installing the Central Console, a view folder in the SCOM console, System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager is created, as seen in the left side of Figure A above. There are many well-organized alert and state view folders focusing on specific aspects of DPM health. Figure A shows the All Alerts view; the alert details concern a failed DPM replica creation. A goal of the Central Console is to monitor actionable DPM alerts relating to replica creation, synchronization, and recovery point creation. The management pack for DPM filters out alerts that do not require an action, such as a synchronization job in progress.

The way you are supposed to use the component integration is that you administer DPM from SCOM, using the features of the Central Console. You should only need to run the full DPM console for specific administration tasks, such as adding storage.

Here’s an example of how the Central Console removes the need for you to open a DPM console to fix a replica creation error. When you select a DPM alert in an alerts view in SCOM, context-sensitive alert actions appear in the tasks pane. Figure B shows, on the left, the tasks pane for DPM alerts for protected computers or resource groups. The task pane gives you one-click access to launch a consistency check job against the protected computer or resource group.

Figure B

Running a consistency check on a data source from the tasks menu of the SCOM console.

Figure B shows, on the right, a confirmation dialog box from the DPM Central Console integration that the job has been launched. By selecting On Exit, Launch The Jobs View To Monitor The Progress Of Jobs and closing the box, the View Jobs tool will appear as seen in Figure C-another piece of custom integration between SCOM and DPM.

Figure C

The View Jobs tool that is optionally invoked after launching a DPM job from the SCOM console.

The Scoped DPM Console

A unique example of the cross-component integration between SCOM and DPM is the Scoped DPM console. This refers to a context-relevant mini-version of the DPM console that is invoked by the “Troubleshoot protected server” alert task. It’s a time saving and information-focusing feature that invokes the DPM console scoped to the selected server, in effect, showing all the alerts in DPM, but just for the selected server. Figure D shows a scoped DPM console launched from the OpsMgr console task-the DPM console is scoped to the alerts from one protected computer.

Figure D

A scoped DPM Console launched from the Troubleshoot protected server alert task.

Another scenario enabled using custom integration is the “Take recommended action” alert task. With this feature, a DPM alert may contain a link to a task — this task will invoke a situation-specific recovery action when one exists. For example, the recommended action alert task for a DPM recovery volume threshold exceeded alert is to invoke a custom dialog box that lets you modify the disk allocation for the DPM protection group from the SCOM console.