DP database locked

Recently a customer called in and told me that he is unable to use it's DataProtector installation. All DP services were running and he could open the DP GUI but as soon as he tried to access the session database or open the Device&Media section, he got the error

"Cannot open database.
Somebody is running omnidbcheck or omnidbutil command!"

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DataProtector licensing

One of the really nice feature of DataProtector is it's licensing model. Most of the enterprise class backup systems really cost a *lot* of money if you want to use it for multiple systems. Nearly all vendors ask you to pay on a client base, most integrations have to be licensed separately and if you want to use SAN-shared drives you can easily spent tenth of thousands of dollars.

DataProtector has a different understanding for this. Here are the most important facts you should know about the license model:

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DataProtector's VMware vCloud Director integration

With new version 7.0.1 DataProtector now supports VMware's vCloud Director with it's Virtual Environment Protection Agent (VEPA).

This is pretty cool because now you can connect to vCloud Director's database and get all needed information to backup and restore VMs on a vDC base.

The installation is quite straight forward and if you already have a server with VEPA component installed, all you have to do is importing your vCloud Director cells (the servers on which vCloud Director is running) as a vCloud Director client in DataProtector and provide login credentials for a user that has access to all vDCs you want to backup. There is no need to install any DP component on these servers. Only TCP port 443 is needed to be open between the DP cell manager and the vCloud cells.

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DP client installation interrupted

I've made several DataProtecotor installations during the last years and sometimes I see a nice error message from the setup program

DP setup interrupted

Error message is:

"The setup process was interrupted before Data Protector could be completely installed" etc.

This, along with the windows event log - which doesn't normally contain any related error entry - will not really tell you anything about the cause of this error. It's quite as meaningful as a "unknown error" message.

I saw this a few times during the cell manager installation but most of the time you will probably see this error while you try to install the client components.

If you search for this error you will find some forum entries but none of them really gives you a guide what you have to do. Most of the forum entries are outdated too and in conjunction with Windows 2000 or even older. But you can see this error in newer Windows versions too.

To cut a long story short, this is simply a permission problem. It has probably something to do with DCOM permission so even if your user that tries to install the software, is a member of the local admin group, this problem can occur. Simply try to install the software with the local administrator account or use the "run as administrator" privilege elevation for the setup program.

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How traditional backup software affects VM snapshot grow

Using tools like Veeam or vRanger or even VMware's VDR is quite common and I absolutely recommend them. But you probably don't want to use them without a second, traditional backup tool that gives you the ability to write to tape, use online agents for databases etc. etc.. So using a combination of two tools is quite common.

Both tools work on their own techniques for achieving optimal results. Tools for the VI work on snapshot base, traditional tools use agents inside the VM or physical server.

Do they affect each other if you want to use them in combination?

First, why do you ever want to use them both....hm, quite easy to answer, both tools have their strength. For example, you will probably want the DR functionality of VI-tools and the easy of single file restore that come with traditional backup tools.

This can lead to the situation when you make a snapshot backup as well as using the agent inside for file backup at the same time. And you should know what this situation can cause.

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HP DataProtecor 6.21

Quietly and secretly HP released the next update to their backup solution HP DataProtector 6.x. The update with new release number 6.21 is more or less a minor update bringing support for some new hardware and software releases but it also comes with a cool new feature already integrated in their D2D (Disk-to-Disk) backup hardware solutions: deduplication.

The new deduplication is based on the HP StoreOnce technology and is software based so it can be easily integrated in existing DataProtecor installations.

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Data Protector and virtual environments

HP's Data Protector is a strong and powerful tool to backup physical systems, databases and applications like Exchange or Sharepoint. When it comes to virtual environments, Data Protector wasn't a good choice for a long time. With versions <6.1 backing up virtual machines was either just like physical systems with agents insides the VMs and traffic going over the LAN or using VMware's VCB. Both methods worked but restore was a mess and not easy to handle at all.

With version 6.1 HP introduced VEPA. VEPA stands for Virtual Environment Protection Agent and is a client that supports the vStorage API from VMware to make backup and restore a lot easier than with VCB. VEPA support was enhanced in version 6.2 but still some major problems exist: no support for CBT resulting in huge backup images and differentials or incrementals were only possible with snapshots remaining on the backed up VMs. Restore was still problematic too.

With version 6.21 HP introduced another enhancement for VEPA allowing it to use CBT. Additionally, they developed the Granular Recovery Extension (GRE) that allows users to restore single files from a backup via a self-service-portal within vCenter server or rather vSphere client.

This is a huge enhancement and helps IT departments to move some of the work to the users by still keeping the control over what users do.

So it's worth trying the new VEPA and GRE functionality and see if the marketing slides keep their promise.

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