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In Central Administration for SharePoint 2010 when one runs a full farm back up there is an option that allows the user to back up content and configuration settings or just the configuration settings.

If the entire SQL instance that SharePoint uses is backed up (say, via replication to another set of servers and via nightly tape back up) is it necessary to choose content and configuration settings or is backing up the content redundant?

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Personally, If you are not strapped for space, I would both back up content and configuration as well as using your regular backups.

Technically, you do not need to back up the content as well as have a backup of the sql instance, however they are really two different types of backups. One allows you to restore the site as a whole with everything on it to any valid SharePoint instance. The other allows you to overwrite the existing instance (hard restore) OR search through manually to find specific information.

Since SharePoint is such a big program with so many different aspects, i feel that if you are not 100% confident in both the program you are backing up with and the process in which to restore it, having a second option is a very reassuring idea.

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The reason I ask is that I am constantly bumping up against my hard drive space and keep having to give the VM's VHD more space. So basically what you're saying is that I can't just restore the SQL data to a new instance and then point a new SharePoint server at that instance (after restoring the full farm configuration-only back up) and have it know where the data should go? –  newuser Jun 6 '12 at 17:42
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To the best of my knowledge there are quite a few GUIDs that are linked to the configuration of the site, and using the pure sql instance to restore will net you with a ton of errors to work out via powershell or command prompt. If someone else could step in with confirmation of what i just said i would appreciate it. –  Zork Jun 6 '12 at 17:45

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