Back up a farm configuration (Search Server 2010)

Search Server

Applies to: Search Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2010-04-13

The information in this section does not apply to Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express. It applies to the full version of Microsoft Search Server 2010 only.

This article describes how to back up the configuration of a server farm.

In earlier versions of Microsoft Search Server, you could not back up or restore the configuration database. In Microsoft Search Server 2010, you can perform the equivalent operation by backing up or restoring the configuration of the server farm.

We recommend that you regularly back up the complete farm by backing up both the configuration and content. However, you might want to perform configuration-only backups in test or development environments. Similarly, if you are using Microsoft SQL Server tools to back up the databases for the farm, you will want to back up the configuration. Regularly backing up the farm reduces the possibility of data losses that can occur from hardware failures, power outages, or other problems. It helps to ensure that all the farm data and configurations are available for recovery.

The configuration backup will extract and back up the configuration settings from a Search Server 2010 configuration database. You can back up configuration from any configuration database that includes the configuration database for the current farm or another farm, or a configuration database that is not associated with any farm.

Procedures in this task:

You cannot use either SQL Server tools or Data Protection Manager to back up the farm configuration.

Before you begin, you must create a folder on the local computer or the network in which to store the backups. For better performance, we recommend that you back up to the local computer and then move the backup files to a network folder.

Backing up the farm configuration will not back up the information you need to restore service applications. If you want to restore a service application configuration, you must perform a configuration and content backup of the service application. For more information about backing up service applications, see Back up a service application (Search Server 2010).

You can use Windows PowerShell to back up the configuration from any configuration database on the current farm, on another farm, or from a configuration database that is not associated with any farm. You can back up a farm configuration manually or as part of a script that can be run at scheduled intervals.

To back up the configuration from any configuration database by using Windows PowerShell
  1. Verify the following: See Add-SPShellAdmin.

  2. In the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, at the Windows PowerShell command prompt, type the following command:

    Backup-SPConfigurationDatabase -Directory <BackupFolder> -DatabaseServer <DatabaseServerName> -DatabaseName <DatabaseName> -DatabaseCredentials <PSCredential> [-Verbose]


    • <BackupFolder> is the path of the backup folder.

    • <DatabaseServerName> is the database server where the configuration database is located.

    • <DatabaseName> is the name of the configuration database.

    • <PSCredential is the identity and password that corresponds to the administrator user name for the SQL Server database. If you are not logged on with an account that is a member of the db_backupoperator fixed database role on the database server where the configuration database is stored, you must use the DatabaseCredentials parameter.

    To view the progress of the backup operation, use the Verbose parameter.

    For more information, see Backup-SPConfigurationDatabase.

    If you do not use the Verbose parameter, the Command Prompt window displays no message if the operation succeeds. If the operation does not finish successfully, the Command Prompt window displays an error message such as the following:

    Backup-SPFarm: The operation failed. For more information, see the error log that is located in the backup directory. At line: <line> char:<column>. + <cmdlet> <<<< <location of error>
  3. If there are errors or warnings, or if the backup does not finish successfully, review the Spbackup.log file in the backup folder.

You can use Central Administration to back up the configuration of the farm that Central Administration is running on. To back up the configuration of a remote farm, you must use the Central Administration Web application on that farm. You cannot use Central Administration to backup an unattached configuration database.

To back up a farm configuration by using Central Administration
  1. Verify that the user account that is performing this procedure is a member of the Farm Administrators SharePoint group.

  2. On the Central Administration Home page, in the Backup and Restore section, click Perform a backup.

  3. On the Perform a Backup — Step 1 of 2: Select Component to Back Up page, select the farm from the list of components, and then click Next.

    You can back up the configuration for any service or application. However, common practice is to back up configuration at the farm level.
  4. On the Start Backup — Step 2 of 2: Select Backup Options page, in the Backup Type section, select Full.

  5. In the Backup Only Configuration Settings section, select the Backup only configuration settings option.

  6. In the Backup File Location section, type the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path of the backup folder, and then click Start Backup.

  7. You can view the general status of all backup jobs at the top of the Backup and Restore Job Status page in the Readiness section. You can view the status for the current backup job in the lower part of the page in the Backup section. The status page updates every 30 seconds automatically. You can manually refresh the status details by clicking Refresh. Backup and recovery are Timer service jobs. Therefore, it may take several seconds for the backup to start.

    If you receive any errors, you can review them in the Failure Message column of the Backup and Restore Job Status page. You can also find more details in the Spbackup.log file at the UNC path that you specified in step 5.