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SharePoint 2007 comes in with a built-in backup facility, but I've heard bad things about it. Namely, you can backup but not restore the configuration database, and generally that restoring is always a test of faith.

I wonder if there are some "Best Practices" or robust Backup (and Restore) solutions?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I've had a quick look at Microsoft's Data Protection Manager. It requires you to have a second SharePoint server as an intermediate restore point, but it does look like the goods when it comes to easy restore (and includes backup/restore functionality for other products).

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+1 for DPM. It is brilliant for SharePoint. It does down to document level restores which no other tool can do. In addition to list, web and site restores. –  Robert MacLean Apr 30 '09 at 8:52
We also use DPM, and it's goodness. –  Abs Apr 30 '09 at 12:37

Other good products are DocAve and Quest Recovery Manager. DocAve can do a lot more but carries a higher price tag. Quest is similar to DPM in that it uses an intermediate database.

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I personally don't use an external backup. My backup consist of two levels:

  1. Full SQL server backup - complete, the entire instance, at a specific moment (I don't want any inconsistency between the content and the configuration). This is for DRP reasons. I hope never to use it. If you keep your front-end servers exactly as they were (at the backup point) - there is no problem with restoring the configuration db. The sharepoint system can't tell the difference... (been there).

  2. Site collection backups - using stsadm -o backup (not export!). This is for the day-to-day use, for cases when users deleted sites, edited documents (and want the older version...) etc. When that happens I restore the site collection to a testing server, and send the file to the user.

For documents and sites deletion - the recycle bin (and the administrator's second stage) is perfectly fine. In fact, since MOSS 2007 and the recycle bin, restoring sites became very very rare.

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I like would add that the OOTB solution doesn't backup the IIS virtual directories and 12 hive that SharePoint uses, I use a script to copy these locations to a networked location so that I know that if I need to perform a complete recovery of SharePoint I will be able to restore all of our sites including any customisations.

I am not sure about other 3rd Party solutions, but I know Quest Recovery Manager for SharePoint doesn't back these file locations up either, however we do use this software for our item level recovery and its pretty good.

Hope this helps,


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