Systems Center Data Protection Manager 2007 – A few things I noticed

Let’s keep the details out on “WHY” but leave it that I had a an interesting couple of days with Systems Center Data Protection Manager 2007.   I will chalk the source reason as just stupid bad luck to have a bad piece of Media.   But I thought I’d pass along some helpful advice to anybody working on recovery of the product.

First off.  If you have a backup of the SQL Database (DPMDB) for the MS$DPM2007$ instance and you data backup filestore is intact, BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF!  

The application is amazing for backup and recovery.   But the un-install I must say (Unless they have a more slipstreamed copy) leaves a bit to be desired.

DPM itself uninstalls without problem.  But the Pre-installed SQL 2005 database does not.  At least on a Server 2008 X64 setup.  It could be different on others.   I have had no issues on Server 2003 32 bit version.

When uninstalling, it seems to have a big problem properly removing the Reporting Server from SQL.   It thinks it removes it, it doesn’t.   Manually removing it (Even with a SQL expert on the phone from Microsoft) did not pull it out properly.   I had guys on the phone with me doing effectively the same thing I did.  

We all got the same results.  Report Server gone, registry keys removed.  DPM fails to re-install SQL 2005 properly, and crashes on the Report Server instance.

Now this is where things get good.

If you have a dedicated Systems Center Data Protection Manager 2007, if you have backed up that SQL 2005 (preferably through the normal SQL backup channels), if your file structure is STILL intact.  (if if if)

You can get away with blowing away the O/S and just re-installing DPM 2007.    Just touch the operating system, I prefer the (new term I learned) “NPR – Nuke Pave and Reinstall” for best results, but I think if you were stuck and nervous, a good old fashioned Parallel install would do fine.   Having a compete spare drive to put the O/S on?  Way better to leave the original intact.  DO NOT ERASE OR FORMAT YOUR DATA PARTITION, IF YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH UNPLUGGING IT FROM THE SYSTEM DO SO!

Murphy is an untrustworthy person on his best days as EVERY Developer, Manager and ITPro knows.  

But after that reinstall, bring your DPM to the EXACT SAME VERSION as you had before.  (Service Pack 1 or hot fixes) and make sure your SQL is patched to the same level.

And then your little friend.

DPMSYNC

Now you HAVE to be at the version of DPM before for this to work.  Anybody who has done recovery on an Exchange Database knows the perils if you try to repair that database with Microsoft Exchange not service packed to the same level as before.

DPMSYNC.EXE is located in the BIN folder wherever you installed DPM 2007.  It is documented for earlier versions but not current.   In all fairness to Microsoft, this is most likely because DPM 2007 is incredibly solid and RARELY if EVER requires reinstall / repair, so the utility RARELY get’s used.

But after you install Systems Center Data Protection Manager 2007 (and get it to the same Service Pack Level) run DPMSYNC to bring your OLD database back into the system.  Typing in DPMSYNC.EXE just by itself will show you the parameters it can work with.  It can restore a DPM database to an alternate as well (if your instance is not in the Default setup)

DPMSYNC.EXE –restoredb –dbloc PATHFILENAME.BAK

DPMSYNC.EXE –sync

Run both those commands of course substituting in PATHFILENAME.BAK to wherever your SQL 2005 Database Backup is for DPMDB

Please note, this only restores the Data Protection Manager database to the new default instance.  It does not touch Report Server.

If you notice an error after restore regarding the agent version being wrong or mismatched, you have to check the Agent version and possibly query online to see if you missed a Hotfix or Rollup on your DPM server.   Once you get the server to match the backup agents life gets good.  

So in a nutshell

– SQL 2005 may not uninstall properly in DPM 2007.  Don’t fight with it. 

– Reinstall of the Operating System to make DPM work *IS* a viable option (as long as you have backed up the Database and you are REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY careful!!!)

– Always run the install from a standalone DPM ISO, *DO NOT* use the MSDN media that contains multiple applications, do NOT copy DPM to a file system and run from there, if you have NO DVD drive available but have the ISO file, using Virtual Clone Drive from Slysoft is an excellent option.  You WILL get a reliable install.  If the DPM 2007 install is not 100% automated after filling the prerequisites in, (IE: It asks you to install SQL server 2005, Manually) DO NOT TRUST THAT INSTALL.

– in the famous words of Douglas Adams “Don’t Panic”

I apologize if this is not as elegant a post as it could be.   But I did want (if anybody else runs into reinstalling DPM 2007) to let people know that you are NOT SCREWED if the Application won’t uninstall properly and the O/S requires to be blanked.

life is good.  It will get better.  Your boss will stop “Calling you out” 😉

Sean
The Energized Tech

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