We have sharepoint on-premises servers 2013/2016 , which have the following architecture:-

  1. windows server 2012/2008 R2 which act as the application servers.

  2. windows server 2012/2008 R2 which act as the database servers.

Now our IT admins, take snapshots of the servers (application + database) on daily basis + to have additional restore point (in case we faced a sever damage to our servers) i run this command on daily basis to have a backup for the whole farm :-

Backup-SPFarm -Directory \*****\backups\ -BackupMethod full -BackupThreads 10 -Force

but my questions are, if our approach is sufficient to covers these scenarios:-

  1. let say the database server had a major hardware/OS problem, and we are not able to have it working again. then will the snapshot we have for the database be able to recover us from the database server failure?

  2. similar to point one, but let say the application server had a major hardware/OS problem? will the snapshot be sufficient to recover us from the application server failure?

  3. since our IT admin are taking snap shots of the servers, then is there any need to do a Backup-SPFarm? as this command will created a huge backup files.

Thanks in advance for any help.

  • 1
    how many servers in the farm ( sharePoint)?
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 16:28
  • @WaqasSarwarMVP we always have one sharepoint application server and one database server. so the answer is one sharepoint server.
    – John John
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 16:50

2 Answers 2


I am not big fan of SnapShot as it always cause the problem with us. If i am in your situation, i would do it this way.

  • Write it down any web.config changes or special customization to the farm.
  • run backup-Spfarm configuration only, to backup the configuration. Daily
  • Also backup the service applications and write down the special settings if any.
  • backup the SQL databases ( content, config and Services databases). this what you have to plan...i would one full back weekly along with hourly backup.
  • also document sql server settings.

Now lets see how it safe us.

  1. Let's say, if SQL server goes down...we have SQL backup...build a new sql server and restored the databases...boom its worked....data loss is less than a hour.
  2. Lets say SharePoint server went down. Rebuild the server, restore the farm configuration, service application....re attach the databases...boom we are back.
  3. If both server go down...apply 1 & 2.
  • thanks for the reply. point1) so you do not find any reason to do a full Backup-PSfarm? or this will include all the settings we need? 2) point2, as i know to be able to restore from Backup-SPfarm then we need to build a farm which is identical to the original farm, in other words the new farm need to have the exact cumulative updates, so will restoring the farm configuration be able to build an exact farm as the source? 3) point3, when you say to backup the sql DBs, then you are talking about backuping the sql DBs from the sql management studio, no need to do so from SP?
    – John John
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 22:05
  • 1
    1) restore from the backup-spfarm always pain for us as we have large farms ( 24 servers), even in small farm...you need the same level of CU etc. 2) You have to build the farm with same cu levels, no matter what 3) yes i am atalking about the DB backups from SQL server. it is most reliable thing in industry.
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 22:17
  • ok so now you touch my real problem and what our IT admin is saying.. that with server snapshots we do not have to worry about building servers with the same CU level.. and some of our IT admins is saying that snapshots for the vms should be fine!! although MS documentation is saying that it is not supported.. second point, now if i want to take the appraoch of doing a Backup-SPfarm, then after recovering i will need to build a server with the same patches, but not sure if there is any power-shell script which will list what are the patches we have?
    – John John
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 23:11
  • now i know that i can get these patches from "CA >> Upgrade and Migration >> Manage Patch Status" ,,so i can write them done and update the list after any patching we do to the server.. but how this list will be beneficial for us ? i mean do we have to install all the patches one by one if we need to build a brand new sharepoint server? and what will be the required order? third point, as i know when we do a Backup-spfarm it will contain DB backup files, so we do not have to do the backup from the sql server management studio?
    – John John
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 23:16
  • 2
    Thing, we are telling you best practices/ experience we have...best thing, i would do...test out the scenario and see which one works best for you...if MSFT says its not supported then dont risk your production farm...again decision is yours...
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 23:17

There is only one method to ensure that your backup is sufficient: test a restore. I've encountered a surprising number of companies who claim not to have enough resources to be able to test their restores. This is crazy. Test your restores.

Regarding snapshots: "The only supported way of snapshotting a SharePoint farm is to have all SharePoint services stopped first. " source

Also, proper backups could allow point-in-time restores, which nightly snapshots wouldn't.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Benny Skogberg
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 14:09

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