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What is the best backup solution available in the market for SharePoint?

I am thinking of AvePoint's backup solution vs Idera's backup solution. Do you recommend anything? Are there any pro's and con's?

What should be considered in choosing a good backup solution?

This is just for disaster recovery. There is no pre production environment. I need to fully/quickly restore the farm if anything goes wrong.

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I find it hard to recommend a backup solution until you actually define what you plan on getting out of a backup solution. Is it just for disaster recovery, or does your sla require a quick turnaround for user error? Also, do you have a staging or pre-prod environment. Do you care about whether you'll need to reindex or not? Do you just care about data or are you also concerned with whether or not you'll have to rebuild the farm? –  Steve Lineberry Feb 2 '10 at 5:18
This is just for disaster recovery. There is no pre production environment. I can reindex everything. I do care about the data and also concered with whether I have to rebuild the farm. Thanks Steve –  Anonymous Feb 2 '10 at 23:07
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you look at the various packages you should see some similar capabilities, but they perform the work in different ways.

As an example, Quest's tools basically mounts the SQL Server backups. If you are already doing SQL backups then that might be an advantage, but if you are using a different backup solution it would be redundant with some other negatives. AvePoint recently offered a similar solution, but their main suite works completely differently. I'm also familiar with ComVault, but like a few vendors they essentially have a backup platform with a connector for SharePoint. In that case you wouldn't implement it just for SharePoint. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with Idera.

One place to look for reviews is: http://www.sharepointreviews.com

My personal preference, and this doesn't reflect on any of the other vendors, is AvePoint. I used it for a few years in multiple environments including a complicated implementation where other tools failed.

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Someone much smarter than me told me something interesting at last year's SharePoint Conference...it was his opinion that the AvePoint tool interacts w/ SharePoint's databases in a completely unsupported manner. I haven't had a chance to verify this myself, but I would recommend talking to AvePoint and getting an idea of exactly how it functions.

I'm not trying to rumor-monger here or anything, just saying that you may want to do some due-diligence and check it out (something you should do w/ whatever platform you chose). I haven't talked to anyone who was unhappy with the AvePoint product, and if it had major problems they wouldn't have been selling it so well in the market for as long as they have.

The big thing is to take Mike's advice to heart and take a close look at the various feature sets of each product. Most of them offer free trial versions of them, the best thing you can do is test them each out and find the best fit for your environment, requirements, and administrators. Take a look at how effective they are, how well they manage your storage, what kind of resources they require (DPM requires a recovery farm, which is more overhead), how usable they are, and make sure they function well enough to meet your recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPO).

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Interesting input. My understanding was that they interact with the API, or at least that is what I was told when I did my first RFI with them back in 2006. –  Mike Oryszak Feb 2 '10 at 16:15
Just to clarify, there's a good chance I'm completely wrong about how the AvePoint product works, and I sincerely hope I am. I haven't gotten a chance to look into this myself, so it is completely heresay. The point I want to make is that this is an area where you really need to do a full investigation of whatever solution you decide to go with and understand all of the impact it will have on your environment. –  John Ferringer Feb 2 '10 at 16:40
Thanks John for the input, what product do you use? –  Anonymous Feb 2 '10 at 23:09
Most of the projects I've worked on, we've gone with the tools available through STSADM and SQL Server, due to cost constraints and the size of the environment. For larger farms, I used to recommend Microsoft's DPM 2007 if the customer didn't already have a relationship with another vendor, to keep the solution stack simplified, but I've backed off that now based on some of the problems I've heard with it. I haven't had much hands-on with other tools yet, most of my focus has been on SharePoint's built-in tools and SQL Server. –  John Ferringer Feb 3 '10 at 16:24
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I think it also depends on the budget you have for the solution.

A simple approach can be to have a scheduled task to run every specific period and perform an STSADM -O Backup on the site collection(s) and have this backup file stores somewhere.

Another approach would be to schedule SQL server dastabase backups for the content databases.

Also of importance to note that you need to periodically test your backups to make sure they are indeed working (check : http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/12/14.html )

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This was my default approach for a few years. I had some nice scripts that could enumerate the site collections and back each up. The problem is that stsadm gets sketchy as sites get larger. MS now says that it can only support site collections up to 15GB. In the past I used them for site collections over 45 GB, but it started failing about one third of the time at that size. –  Mike Oryszak Feb 2 '10 at 16:31
Mike, do you have a link to Microsoft's statement about to the lack of STSADM backup support for site collections over 15 GB? That's news to me, but definitely something that needs to be publicized! –  John Ferringer Feb 2 '10 at 16:42
@john I posted some of my findings on the STSADM limitations: blogs.microlinkllc.com/tresing/archive/2010/01/04/… –  Tom Resing Feb 2 '10 at 21:41
@John, in the technet article referenced in Tom's blog, it states explicitly that "If the size of the site collection that you want to back up is 15 gigabytes (GB) or smaller, use the Stsadm command-line tool as shown in the procedures that follow." Tom, Thanks for the info, I didnt know that too. –  Emad Feb 3 '10 at 10:00
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My experience of AvePoint has been pretty decent too. (Despite the sligltly odd UI and the use of Java and Tomcat.)

For a Microsoft shop, I'd've thought DPM would be a front runner.

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I'll admit, I know nothing about DPM. I have trouble keeping up with some of the management products they offer since names change with every release. –  Mike Oryszak Feb 2 '10 at 13:28
I have a friend who runs DPM in his (considerable) home network. My understanding is that it usually runs effectively for him, but that there's a lot that is left to be desired with it in terms of reliability (which is a big deal w/ something like this). –  John Ferringer Feb 2 '10 at 13:53
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