Plan for data protection and recovery (Search Server 2008)

Search Server 2008

Updated: April 28, 2009

Applies To: Microsoft Search Server 2008


Topic Last Modified: 2009-04-21

Unless otherwise noted, the information in this article applies to both Microsoft Search Server 2008 and Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express.

In this article:

Data protection and data recovery processes support the following business needs:

  • Keeping and being able to review more than one version of an item or site.

  • Capturing and recovering deleted items or sites.

  • Archiving data for legal, regulatory, or business reasons.

  • Restoring systems if there are unexpected hardware or software failure (disaster recovery).

Microsoft Search Server 2008 includes the following features for data protection and recovery:

  • Versioning: Users can lose data by overwriting a document. Versioning enables users to keep multiple copies of the same document in a document library. In the event of an unwanted change, an overwritten document, or document corruption, the user can easily restore the earlier version. The versioning offered in SharePoint Products and Technologies is often known as content versioning. For more information, see Protect and restore content by using Recycle Bins and versioning (Search Server 2008).

    Versioning does not support site versioning, although you can use other tools to capture and refer to previous versions of a site. See Site Versioning later in this article.

  • Recycle Bin: Search Server 2008 includes a two-stage Recycle Bin. The first-stage Recycle Bin gives site end-users the appropriate permissions to recover accidentally deleted files, documents, list items, lists, and document libraries. The second-stage Recycle Bin enables site collection administrators to recover items that have been deleted from Recycle Bins. For more information, see Protect and restore content by using Recycle Bins and versioning (Search Server 2008).

    The Recycle Bin does not support recovering deleted sites, although you can use other tools to capture and recover deleted sites. See Protecting Sites From Deletion later in this article.

  • Backup and recovery: You can use the Stsadm command-line tool or the Central Administration Web site to back up and recover farms, databases, Web applications, and site collections. There are also many Microsoft and third-party tools that you can use to back up and recover data. For more information, see Plan for backup and recovery (Search Server 2008).

In addition to using built-in features, enterprises often use the following tools to protect and recover data:

  • Site versioning: In site versioning, you use a Microsoft SQL Server database snapshot to capture the current look, feel, and content of a site. A database snapshot is not a backup. Moreover, a site that you have returned to a previous version by using a database snapshot is read-only and will not function without the current live database. For more information, see Use alternative methods to back up and restore content (Search Server 2008).

  • Protecting sites from deletion: You can write code or use a tool to detect the Web Delete event that is generated when a site is deleted, and then, at that point, back up the site by using the Stsadm export option. Detecting Web Delete events essentially creates a site-level recycle bin. For more information, see Use alternative methods to back up and restore content (Search Server 2008).

  • Other Microsoft backup and recovery tools: You can use SQL Server backup and recovery tools to protect and recover your databases. You can use Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 to protect farms, databases, Web applications, site collections, sites, and documents.

  • Third-party backup and recovery tools: Search Server 2008 can be protected by many third-party backup and recovery tools built on technologies supported by Microsoft, such as the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). To find third-party solutions built by Microsoft partners, visit Solution Finder.

Information technology groups offer service level agreements (SLAs) to set customer expectations for data protection and recovery. Many IT organizations offer various SLAs that are associated with different chargeback levels. SLAs often vary by kind of site, size of site, dedicated or shared hardware, availability of server-side customizations, whether a site is centrally managed or self-managed, recovery time objective, and recovery point objective.

The following list describes common features of data protection and recovery SLAs.

  • Versioning:

    • Whether offered.

    • Amount of space allocated.

    • Level offered (content or site).

  • Recycle Bins:

    • Whether offered.

    • Space allocated for the first-stage Recycle Bin and the second-stage Recycle Bin.

    • Length of time that items are held before permanent deletion in each Recycle Bin stage.

    • Additional charges for recovering items that have been permanently deleted from the second-stage Recycle Bin.

  • Protecting sites from deletion:

    • Whether offered.

    • Length of time that backups of deleted sites are held before they are deleted.

  • Recovery time objective. Recovery time objective is the goal for how long a data recovery process will take. This includes the interval for search to become current again. Different recovery time objectives are often set for standard circumstances, local emergency, and regional emergency.

  • Recovery point objective. Recovery point objective is the maximum time period between the last available backup and any potential failure point.

You should develop a data protection and recovery strategy for each site or kind of site that you support. For each kind of site, evaluate the following:

  • Do you have to support content versioning?

  • Do you have to support site versioning?

  • Do you have to support Recycle Bins?

  • Do you have to protect sites from deletion?

  • What level of specificity do you have to provide for recovery (farm, database, site collection, site, item)?

  • How large is your maintenance window?

  • How large are your databases now—including your content databases and search databases—and how much and how fast do you think they will grow?

  • What is your fastest recovery time objective?

  • What is your shortest recovery point objective?

  • What is your average recovery point objective?

For information about recommended strategies for specific site types, see Recommendations for data protection and recovery scenarios (Search Server 2008).