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I've often been told that the best and safest backup I could get, thinking in terms of our disaster recovery plan is a complete farm backup.

However, in Beginning Sharepoint Administration by Gran Husman, he says

it's not enough: You should also take a backup of IIS configuration including the metabase.

For a beginner sharepoint admin like me, it sounds daunting to devise a correct and effective sharepoint environment backup procedure, taking into account the number of possibilities.

Our particular farm consists of a single database server with +15 content databases and a single Front End with search, web and excel services roles.

Our intention is to have a real backup that would allow us to recover our complete configuration, users and customization even on new hardware.

Thank you.

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Are both of your servers are virtualized ? –  Muhammad Raja Jan 20 '13 at 10:41
    
Virtualization would give you the complete worry free sort of DR scenario. But it also opens a new can of worms such as .. cost.. RTO and all sorts. Usually I drive it based on clients business needs. –  Aben Samuel Jan 20 '13 at 10:55
    
@AbenSamuel thats true but question askers intention is to have a real backup by which I can assume he want as less as possible work to do a full farm restore :) –  Muhammad Raja Jan 20 '13 at 10:59
    
SAN replication to achieve farm recovery with least amount of work as per @TimeToShine –  Aben Samuel Jan 20 '13 at 11:03
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1 Answer 1

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However, in Beginning Sharepoint Administration by Gran Husman, he says

it's not enough: You should also take a backup of IIS configuration including the metabase.

Its not just the author of book clamming the you need to backup IIS configuration but MSDN also recommends it as explained below,

Be sure to document any customizations that have been made to the front-end Web servers so that you can configure the new servers the same way. Such customizations may include the following:

The %COMMONPROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Shared\Web server extensions\12 directory.

Any customizations that are made to the Web.config file.

Default quota templates.

Blocked file types.

Administrator-deployed form templates.

Database names and locations.

Web application names and databases. Be sure to document the content database names that are associated with each Web application.

Activated features.

Source : MSDN Moving to another farm and There shouldn't be any harm in backing up IIS Config settings anyway.

Our intention is to have a real backup that would allow us to recover our complete configuration, users and customization even on new hardware.

If you have customized your SharePoint farm with custom solutions deployed to it then you will not only have to backup your full farm but also have to keep a copy of 12 hive folder.

As a farm backup will not backup followings: (Source)

  • SharePoint Root - Should be c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\12\
  • InetPub Folder - Should be c:\inetpub\

In our SharePoint farm, our sharepoint is Synchronized to Active Directory, so you might have to backup your Active Directory too.

When it comes to migration of farm, hardware shouldn't matter to restore your SharePoint farm as long as its configured correctly and hardware is full filling SharePoint requirements criteria.

I "personally" recommend having SharePoint server virtualized so that you can easily clone your farm and restore it in few steps.

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+1 and even if all SP Administrators will agree that snapshot are not the ideal solution for backup purpose, it's damn easier and ensure you don't miss any critical component. Non virtualized servers can also benefit from cold or real-time snapshots but let's have some sysadmin pro feedback (san replication sounds interesting and definitively out of my current knowledge area) –  Francois Verbeeck Jan 20 '13 at 13:09
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