System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 is Microsoft's latest continuous data protection (CDP) product, and it's particularly important to SQL Server users for how it differs from DPM 2006. DPM 2006 was just a file system backup product and wasn't able to back up SQL Server databases. DPM 2007 changes all that. (Although it's currently in beta, you can find out more about it at http://microsoft.com/systemcenter/dpm/default.mspx.) Like DPM 2006, DPM 2007 provides disk-based CDP and enables quick data recovery from disk-based backups. However, DPM 2007 is also fully integrated with SQL Server for database backup and restore. Here are five reasons you might want to take a look at DPM 2007.

5. Support for Multiple Servers

Most businesses, even small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs), have multiple server systems to back up. DPM 2007 can back up not only SQL Server 2000 and later, but also Windows Server 2003 and later (including Longhorn Server), Windows Storage Server, Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 and later, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and later, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

4. Restores to Original Server or Alternate Server

Another important disaster recovery feature DPM 2007 offers is the ability for administrators to restore a database to its original server and location, to its original server as a new database, or to an alternate recovery server. DPM 2007 also supports Automated System Recovery tools for bare-metal restores.

3. 64-Bit Support

Following the trend set by other Microsoft server products, DPM 2007 fully supports 64-bit architecture, which gives DPM the ability to address more memory and offer greater scalability. However, one point to note is that the 64-bit support is x64 only: There is no Itanium (IA-64) support.

2. Cluster-Aware

Although the DPM 2007 server itself can't be clustered, DPM 2007 is cluster-aware. When a DPM 2007 agent is installed on a cluster, DPM detects the cluster nodes and identity as well as the virtual server running on the cluster. In the event of a failover, DPM 2007 automatically protects the virtual SQL Server.

1. SQL Server Integration

DPM 2007 uses block-level synchronization and the SQL Server Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) writer along with transaction log synchronization to protect SQL Server databases. DPM 2007 makes an initial copy of the protected databases, then transaction logs are synchronized with the DPM server on a regular basis. The SQL Server VSS writer sends only the updated file blocks from the protected databases. DPM 2007 can store up to 512 shadow copies of a SQL Server database.