Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SharePoint command line backups

For many IT Professionals who deal with SharePoint as part of other systems (especially Small Business Server) I would have to recommend strongly that you always configure a command line stsadm backup. You’ll find the details here:

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288541.aspx

 

The stsadm –o backup command creates a single data file of your site that can easily be restored. Without this you are going to have to try and recover databases and web applications and it all gets very messy, especially with versions prior to version 3. An stsadm –o backup allows you to blow away a defective SharePoint site, install a new clean site and then use stsadm –o restore to get the data back.

 

This can be really handy if you also have to do a restore to different hardware or different network topology. To get the backup functioning in a different location typically takes some additional steps around security but that process is much easier than trying to recover SQL databases (especially MSDE) on a different server.

 

I’d also recommend that you also do an stsadm –o export (Windows SharePoint v3 or better only) since it allows you to more easily extract pieces of your backup as well as merge the data with existing sites. The stsadm –o backup command is a complete backup, all or nothing, and will overwrite any existing site if it is restored. The export command is how Microsoft recommends you part of the migration of companyweb in SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. More information about the export command can be found at:

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288940.aspx

 

The easiest way to automate these command line backup sis to create a batch file with the command and use the Windows Scheduler to trigger it at the appropriate time. Personally, I do it in the middle of the night and send the data files up to storage on the Internet.

 

Without an stsadm command line backup you may struggle to restore a SharePoint site in teh case of a disaster. Be proactive and implement an stsadm backup and then use the data file to test a full disaster recovery, just to be sure you know how to do it. Better now than in a crisis!