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Choose backup and recovery tools (Windows SharePoint Services)

Office 2007

Updated: July 16, 2009

Applies To: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

 

Topic Last Modified: 2009-07-13

In this article:

The tools that you choose to use for backing up and recovering your system are based on your needs, constraints, and the service level agreements (SLAs) that you have in place with your customer groups.

Key factors to consider in determining which tools to use include:

  • Backup type supported (full, differential, incremental).

  • Completeness of recovery and types of objects that can be recovered.

  • Complexity of managing solution.

  • Ability of solution to adapt to your maintenance window and database size.

In some business situations, you may be able to use a high-availability solution, such as database clustering, log shipping, or mirroring to meet your data protection and recovery needs. For more information about planning for high availability, see Plan for availability (Windows SharePoint Services).

The following table lists Microsoft tools that you can use for disaster recovery.

 

Tool Source of tool User Interface Backup type Level of backup and recovery Notes

Windows SharePoint Services: Central Administration

Built-in

Graphical

Full and differential

Farm

Web application

Content database

Cannot be used to schedule backups.

As part of a farm backup can back up the configuration database and Central Administration content database, but will not restore them. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

Cannot back up directly to tape.

Windows SharePoint Services: Stsadm.exe backup and recovery operations

Built-in

Command line

Full and differential

Farm

Web application

Content database

Site collection

Can be used with Windows Task Scheduler to schedule backup jobs.

Can back up the configuration database and Central Administration content database, but will not restore them. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

Cannot back up directly to tape.

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Backup and Recovery

Graphical

Full and differential

Content database

Single sign-on (SSO) database

Configuration database and Central Administration content database

Can be used to schedule backups.

Can back up the configuration database and Central Administration content database but restoring is not supported. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

Not recommended for use with search, because indexes are not stored in SQL Server. If used for search, requires a full crawl on recovery.

Can back up directly to tape.

Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007

Incremental

Farm

Database

Search database and Search index

Site

Content item

Can be used to schedule backups.

Can back up files and folders containing customizations.

Can back up directly to tape.

Can back up the configuration database and Central Administration content database but restoring is not supported. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

Windows Server 2003 Backup tool (Ntbackup.exe)

Graphical

Full

Specified folder and file

Can be used to schedule backups.

Can back up files and folders containing customizations.

Windows Server 2008 Backup

As of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with Service Pack 1 (SP1), you can now install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on Windows Server 2008.

Graphical

Full

Specified folder and file

You must configure specific registry keys for Windows Server Backup to work. For more information, see Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 does not appear in the list of the components that can be backed up when you use Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=108244&clcid=0x409) in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides two built-in backup and recovery tools: Central Administration and the Stsadm command-line tool.

The following figure illustrates how built-in Windows SharePoint Services backup works. A backup is triggered from either Central Administration or the Stsadm command-line tool. The Central Administration application pool writes files to the specified file server and triggers a SQL Server database backup to the same file server. The path provided to the backup is the location where a folder is created for backup (spbr0000, spbr0001, and so on).

Built-in back up and recovery tools

The following table compares the functionality available in the built-in backup and recovery tools.

 

Functionality Central Administration Stsadm command-line tool

Back up the server farm

Yes

Yes

Recover the server farm, except the configuration and Central Administration databases

Yes

Yes

Recover the configuration and Central Administration databases

No

No

Back up Web applications

Yes

Yes

 

Yes

Yes

Back up site collections

No

Yes

Back up content databases

Yes

Yes

Back up customizations

No

No

Schedule backups

No

Yes, if used with Windows task scheduler

Your hardware configuration and the size of the database, site collection, or Web application that you are working with can significantly affect the performance of the built-in backup and recovery tools.

NoteNote:
Search databases can become very large. One way to manage the size of your search backup is to ensure that the database index is defragmented. You may want to use the defragmentation script provided in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article How to defragment Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 databases and SharePoint Server 2007 databases (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102795&clcid=0x409).

If your system exceeds the following limits, or if backing up your system exceeds the maintenance window that you have available, we recommend that you consider using external backup and recovery tools, such as Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Back and Recovery or Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager.

  • Content databases larger than 100 gigabytes (GB).

  • Site collections that are larger than 15 GB that you want to back up by using the Stsadm command-line tool.

Configurations are set in Central Administration and stored in the configuration database.

ImportantImportant:
Although the configuration database and Central Administration content database can be backed up, restoring backups of the configuration database and Central Administration content database taken from a running farm by using the tools built in to SharePoint Products and Technologies or SQL Server is not supported.
This is because data in these databases may not be synchronized with data in other Office SharePoint Server 2007 or Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 databases. Therefore, the tools built in to SharePoint Products and Technologies do not recover these databases during a farm-level restore operation.
If this data is not synchronized, users might experience various random errors. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 948725: Restoration of the configuration database is not supported in SharePoint Server 2007 and in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=117755&clcid=0x409).

You can recover a farm, including the configuration database and Central Administration content database, in the following ways:

  • You can use farm-level backups of a running farm taken with System Center Data Protection Manager to recover an entire farm, including the configuration database and Central Administration content database. For more information, see How to Recover a Windows SharePoint Services Farm (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102831&clcid=0x409).

  • You can restore a backup of the configuration database and Central Administration content database taken from a fully stopped farm. For more information, see Move all databases (Windows SharePoint Services 3.0).

If the configuration and Central Administration content databases of a farm become unsynchronized, you must re-create both databases by using the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard or Psconfig command-line tool.

To protect the configuration database and Central Administration content database:

We strongly recommend that you document all configuration settings and all your customizations, so that you can correctly re-create the configuration and Central Administration content databases.

Central Administration provides an easy way to back up your Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 system.

The processes that are running and the accounts that they are running as — that is, the Central Administration application pool and the account that the SQL Server services are running as — must be granted permissions to write to the directory that you are backing up to. To perform a backup, you must be a member of the Farm Administrators group. To run a recovery operation, you must be a farm administrator and a member of the Administrators group on each front-end Web server. For a detailed overview of preparing to back up, see Demo: Prepare to back up Office SharePoint Server 2007 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=114573&clcid=0x409).

You can back up and recover at various levels, the highest being the entire farm and the lowest being a content database. Full and differential backups are also available. The backup and recovery jobs for Central Administration are run by the SPTimer service.

Using Central Administration to back up and recover your system provides the following benefits:

  • Ability to back up and recover at the farm, Web application, and content database level.

  • Restorable backups for Search.

  • For backups that initially run 17 hours, the system automatically restarts the backup and allots an appropriate amount of time for the process to perform (longer than 17 hours).

Using Central Administration to back up and recover your system has the following limitations:

  • As part of a farm backup, backs up, but cannot be used to restore the configuration database or Central Administration content database. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

  • Does not provide scheduling functionality.

  • Cannot back up directly to tape. The backup location must be a UNC path or local drive.

  • Does not provide automatic deletion of old backup files. You may want to use the backup file deletion script provided in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: How to automate the deletion of backups in SharePoint Server 2007 and in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 by using a Visual Basic script (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102617&clcid=0x409).

  • Does not back up any configuration changes, including:

    • Internet Information Services (IIS) settings including host headers, dedicated IP addresses, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates.

    • Alternate access mappings.

    • The Inetpub directory.

    • Application pool settings, including service accounts (all accounts that run as Web applications, including the crawler account and the search account).

    • External service connection settings.

    • E-mail settings.

    • A/V settings.

    • Usage analysis processing settings.

    • Diagnostic logging settings.

    • Content deployment settings.

    • Timer job settings.

    • HTML viewer settings.

    • Recycle Bin settings and other Web application general settings.

  • Does not back up any customizations, including:

    • The %COMMONPROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Shared\Web server extensions\12 directory.

    • Any customizations made to the Web.config file.

    • Default quota templates.

    • Blocked file types.

    • Administrator-deployed form templates.

    • Database names and locations.

    • Web application names and databases. Be sure to document the content database names associated with each Web application.

    • Activated features.

  • If a backup or recovery job is not successful, the unsuccessful job must be manually deleted from the Timer job list on the Backup and Restore Status page. If the failed job is not deleted manually, subsequent backup or recovery jobs fail.

For more information about using Central Administration, see Back up a farm by using Central Administration (Windows SharePoint Services 3.0).

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 includes the Stsadm command-line tool for administration of servers and sites. You can use the Stsadm backup and restore operations to protect and recover your data.

The account that you use to run the Stsadm command-line tool must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, as well as a member of the dbowner fixed database role in SQL Server.

The Stsadm command-line tool has the following benefits:

  • Provides the ability to back up and restore at the farm level, Web application level, or site collection level.

  • Provides restorable backups for Search.

  • Can be used with Windows Task Scheduler to schedule backups.

  • For backups that initially run 17 hours, the system automatically restarts the backup and allots an appropriate amount of time for the process to perform (longer than 17 hours).

The Stsadm command-line tool has the following limitations:

  • As part of a farm backup, backs up, but cannot be used to restore the configuration database or Central Administration content database. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

  • Site collection backups affect performance, and they can cause access errors. They should be used only when the site collection is locked. Site collection backups can be slow when working with collections larger than 15 GB. We recommend that you use database backups if you are working with site collections larger than 15 GB.

    NoteNote:
    If you want to individually back up a site collection that is larger than 15 GB, we recommend that you move it to its own database, and then use a database backup.
  • Cannot back up directly to tape. The backup location must be a UNC path or local drive.

  • Does not provide automatic deletion of old backup files. You may want to use the backup file deletion script provided in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article, How to automate the deletion of backups in SharePoint Server 2007 and in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 by using a Visual Basic script (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=102617&clcid=0x409).

  • Does not back up any configuration changes, including:

    • IIS settings including host headers, dedicated IP addresses, and SSL certificates.

    • Alternate access mappings.

    • The Inetpub directory.

    • E-mail settings.

    • Recycle Bin settings and other Web application general settings.

    • A/V settings.

    • Usage analysis processing settings.

    • Diagnostic logging settings.

    • Content deployment settings.

    • Timer job settings.

    • HTML viewer settings.

  • Does not back up any customizations, including:

    • The %COMMONPROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Shared\Web server extensions\12 directory.

    • Any customizations made to the Web.config file.

    • Default quota templates.

    • Blocked file types.

For more information, see the following resources:

You can protect Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 by using other Microsoft backup and recovery tools.

These include:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005

  • Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager

  • Windows Server Backup tool

The SQL Server databases that Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 uses contain site content — they are key components to protect. If your company has database administrators that back up other SQL Server databases, you may want to include the databases used by Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 in your standard processes. The following list describes the benefits and limitations of using SQL Server backups.

Benefits:

  • Existing SQL Server data protection strategies can be re-used.

  • Full and differential backups can be configured with added verification.

  • Can be faster than Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 backups.

  • Can back up directly to tape.

Limitations:

  • Can back up running instances of the configuration database and Central Administration content database but restoring is not supported. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

  • Should not be used to back up the search database, because the search indexes are not stored in SQL Server and cannot be synchronized with the search database after a database-only backup.

  • Requires that you manually reattach your databases to Web applications after a recovery.

  • Cannot be used to recover at any level smaller than a database. Recovering a single item using a restored database can be complex.

  • Does not back up any configuration changes, including:

    • IIS settings including host headers, dedicated IP addresses, and SSL certificates.

    • Alternate access mappings.

    • The Inetpub directory.

    • E-mail settings.

    • Recycle Bin settings and other Web application general settings.

    • A/V settings.

    • Usage analysis processing settings.

    • Diagnostic logging settings.

    • Content deployment settings.

    • Timer job settings.

    • HTML viewer settings.

  • Does not back up any customizations, including:

    • The %COMMONPROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Shared\Web server extensions\12 directory.

    • Any customizations made to the Web.config file

    • Default quota templates.

    • Blocked file types.

For more information about using SQL Server backup and recovery, see the following resources:

System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 (DPM) enables disk-based and tape-based data protection and recovery for servers in and across Active Directory directory service domains. DPM performs replication, synchronization, and recovery point creation to provide reliable protection and rapid recovery of data both by system administrators and by end users.

DPM can be used to protect Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 in addition to Microsoft SQL Server 2000 SP4, SQL Server 2005 with Service Pack 1 (SP 1), or SQL Server 2005 with Service Pack 2 (SP2); Exchange Server 2003 with SP2 and Exchange Server 2007; Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 with SP1 and its virtual machines; Windows Server 2008 operating system; files on workstations and laptops running Windows XP Professional with SP2 and all Windows Vista Editions except the Home Edition; files and application data on clustered servers; and the server system state.

The following list describes the benefits of this tool.

Benefits:

  • Provides the ability to back up and restore at the farm, database, Web application, site, index, or content item level.

  • Provides the ability to back up and restore directories that contain customizations.

  • Can be used to back up and recover the server system state, including IIS configuration settings.

  • Farm-level backups taken while the system is running can be used to recover a farm, including the configuration database and the Central Administration database. For more information, see Recovering the configuration database and Central Administration content database.

  • Can back up to tape.

  • Requires less processing on the server.

  • If DPM has not already been purchased for your environment, you may require additional funding and equipment.

For more information about installing, deploying, and configuring DPM, see System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102807&clcid=0x409).

DPM can be used to recover content items, sites, Web applications, farms, and indexes. For more information, see the following resources:

How to Recover a Windows SharePoint Services Item (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102815&clcid=0x409)

How to Recover a Windows SharePoint Services Site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102826&clcid=0x409)

How to Recover a Windows SharePoint Services Farm (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102831&clcid=0x409)

Protecting WSS Indexes (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=155922)

Recovering WSS Indexes (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=155909)

You can use the Windows Server Backup tool to back up your home directories, Web.config file, custom assemblies, customizations, site definitions, and list definitions.

NoteNote:
As of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with SP1, you can now install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on Windows Server 2008. To use Windows Server 2008 Backup, you must configure specific registry keys for Windows Server Backup. For more information, see Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 does not appear in the list of the components that can be backed up when you use Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2008 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=108244&clcid=0x409).

The Windows Server Backup tool has the following benefits:

  • Can back up to tape.

The Windows Server Backup tool has the following limitation:

  • Cannot be used to back up databases, farms, Web applications, or Search.

Based on the needs of your business, you may want to choose a third-party solution or build a custom tool to meet your needs.

To find third-party solutions built by Microsoft partners, built on technologies supported by Microsoft, visit Solution Finder (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102834&clcid=0x409) and search on the following parameters:

  • Solution type = Software Offering

  • Product category = Windows Server 2003

  • Product = Windows SharePoint Services 3

  • Keywords: SharePoint Backup Restore Disaster Recovery

The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) was introduced in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. VSS is a framework that facilitates communication between applications, storage subsystems, and storage management applications (including backup applications). This framework enables you to define, persist, and use point-in-time copies of storage data. The Windows SharePoint Services VSS Writer is a new service in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and in the server products in the 2007 Office release. This writer service enables a requestor (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=90911&clcid=0x409) to ask a front-end Web server to provide a VSS backup (full or differential), and Windows SharePoint Services then points the requestor to the SQL databases and the search index to be backed up by using VSS. For more information about VSS, see the MSDN article Volume Shadow Copy Service (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=90912&clcid=0x409). You download the Volume Shadow Copy Service SDK 7.2 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=90914&clcid=0x409) from the Microsoft Download Center.

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable books for Windows SharePoint Services.

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