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Backing Up SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint stores its information in several types of Microsoft SQL Server databases: configuration databases, content databases, databases for Shared Services Providers (SSPs), search databases, and search databases for SSPs.

Backing up SharePoint is as simple as backing up the SQL databases that contain the SharePoint data.  Performing a backup using our File and Folder plugin allows you to capture a consistent snapshot of all SharePoint data, including the configuration database and Central Administration content databases.  Additionally, you can choose to backup only certain content databases or backup at the collection level by using the "stsadm" tool on collections smaller than 15 GB.

Note:  If you back up using the "stsadm" technique, you will need to manually recreate the configuration database if the entire server crashes, unless you also backup the SQL files using our File and Folder plugin.

These steps are also useful if you need to perform a file-level restore to a SharePoint server that has a different configuration than the original server.

 

Selecting SharePoint Files for Backup


This strategy backs up the SQL server database files that are part of SharePoint.  This tends to be the most efficient method to backup SharePoint databases, especially larger SharePoint databases. The disadvantage to this method is, when you restore the information, you can only restore at the database level.  More granular restores are not possible without first recovering to a SharePoint recovery farm.

  1. Create a new File and Folder backup set.

  2. When choosing which files to back up, navigate to the folder where the SharePoint database files are located.  Usually these files have the (.mdf), (.ldf), and (.ndf) file extensions.  Refer to the database information in the SQL Server Management Studio if there is any doubt.

  3. You can choose to also backup the search indexes.  If you don't backup the search indexes, you will have to perform a full recrawl to rebuild the search index after performing a restore.  The search index is stored both in the search index SQL databases (which you can select in step 2 above) and then also the search index file(s).  Both must be backed up if you want to be able to restore search indexes.  

    • To determine the location of the search index files, open a Windows command prompt and run:

              stsadm -o spsearch -action list

    • This command will print out information about each farm.  Look for a line that starts with "-Index location:" - this line indicates the directory where the search indexes are stored.

  4. Once you know which directories contain these search indexes, add the appropriate directories containing the indexes to the backup set.

  5. Finish making the backup set.

 

Backing Up Sharepoint Using Native SQL Backup Capabilities


This method uses the backup tools built into SQL Server to generate (.bak) files of the appropriate SharePoint SQL databases.  It also backs up the databases using Microsoft's best practices since SQL itself creates the backup.  IMPORTANT - This method is no longer supported by Microsoft.  Use at your own risk. 

You can then add the locations containing these SQL .bak files to the selection in the file and folder backup.

  1. Pick a local folder to be the target destination for the SQL backup files.

  2. Follow these instructions here to use the SQL Server Management Studio to schedule backups of the configuration database, content databases, SSP databases, search databases, and search databases for SSPs.

    • You should choose to perform backups every day and to store them with the same file names each day.  This will guarantee our Intelliblox technology will just upload the changes to the (.bak) files each day as a revision instead of re-uploading the entire file each time.  You should run at least one full backup each week.

    • If you cannot or choose not to keep the name of the (.bak) files consistent, you should enable Automatic Stray File Removal to keep your data usage in check.  Directions for doing that are here.

  3. Add the folder where the (.bak) files will stored to your selection in a File and Folder backup set.

 

Granular Backups with the STSADM Tool


You can use the stsadm tool that comes with SharePoint to perform backups of individual content databases or collections.  Backups with stsadm tend to be less efficient but provide greater granularity during the restore.

  1. Pick a local folder to store the backups generated by stsadm.  This folder should have enough space to contain several copies of the SharePoint databases you choose to back up.

  2. Create a (.bat) file which executes stsadm (one or more times) and generates a set of backup files in the folder from step 1.  Directions for doing this are found in this article.

  3. Create a File and Folder backup set and select the folder from step 1 in the backup selection step.

  4. Add the (.bat) file from step 2 as a "Before" action in the backup set.

  5. Finish making the backup set. 

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