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I know that my question might be basic for some people, but I need help in creating a backup policy for my SharePoint environment. I have SharePoint server 2013 live, which have the following main components:-

  1. Two web applications

  2. 3 site collections

  3. Around 300 MB total data size.

  4. Many managed services such as; metadata service, search service. And the default managed services.

  5. List workflows

Currently I do the following on daily basis:-

  1. Backup the three site collection using a schedule job

But let say that the SharePoint live server face a hardware failure or other critical damage, then I can restore the three site collections and I will get everything running. But when I test this I find that the following will not be included in the site collection backup files:-

  1. Web application settings and web application branding.

  2. If the site collection is using managed services such as search and manage metadata, there will not be backed up.

First question

So can anyone advice of what type of backups, I should be performing to have almost all the current settings and data?

Second question

As I was informed by our system administrator team, that they always take a snap shot of all the live servers.And our SharePoint server and its database server are included in this process.so Is taking snapshots of the SharePoint server enough of backing all the data? Thanks

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    Why not just take a daily backup of the whole farm? technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff607881(v=office.15).aspx – Christoffer Oct 21 '14 at 10:36
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    I would not rely on snapshots in a virtual farm. Snapshots would only work for a single server. Using Snapshots, you would have to take the snapshots of every server at the exactly same time or else it would be desynced if you restored the snapshots. Microsoft does not support snapshots of virtual environments either. blogs.msdn.com/b/mossbiz/archive/2013/01/14/… – Christoffer Oct 21 '14 at 12:47
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    While using the backup-spfarm command, you got several paramets. One of them is to take a full backup or a differental backup which means only backup the changes since the last full backup.. so you could do a full backup at sundays, and run differental backups for the rest of the week. But right now i would say that your environment are really small so i think it would not matter if you do a full backup. Yes, databases, configuration, services.. But you still have to do a separate backup of the IIS settings ( bindings and stuff ). – Christoffer Oct 21 '14 at 13:15
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    I would also recommend to do SQL snapshots of the databases. ( It's not the same thing as doing snapshots of virtual environemnts ). But in the end it's you that have to decide whats best for you farm, and what methods you decide to use. There are several third party products for doing backups to. Microsoft's got it own product as well, but it is pretty expensive. technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh758173.aspx – Christoffer Oct 21 '14 at 13:16
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Couple of things to consider for backup.

  • What is tolerance level for recovery?
  • How much the customization you have, using the Solution Package or direct editing using designer
  • Web.config changes Direct(not recommended) or using the Central Admin or SharePoint API.
  • How Big the farm.

Now as per your information, I would recommend, two methods.

Before start anything, please write down following things(you can do this via configuration backup only).

  • AAM Settings
  • Customization & Branding
  • Custom Settings to the farm, Web App.
  • Services account, Services application structure.

Method 1: - Perform the Full Backup(every 2 weeks) and then differential every day.http://blogs.technet.com/b/meamcs/archive/2013/02/23/sharepoint-2013-backup-with-powershell-and-task-scheduler-for-beginners.aspx

Method 2:

  • Take the content database backups using SQL server tool.

this method required extra efforts i.e you have to setup farm, configure the services application, Web Applications, deploy customization etc.

Another way is use the 3rd party tools like DPM.

  • Now i have did some customization using wsp files while other customization was based on create new page layout and master pages, but what will this differ. about the size of our SharePoint environment we have 2 web applications with 3 site collections, For example when i backup the 3 site collections their total size is around 350 MB only.so if i do a full farm backup on daily basis ,,, will it be enough to restore my farm in-case the SP server and/or its database server suffer from hardware failure or permanent damage ? – john Gu Oct 21 '14 at 14:31

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