One of the great features of the SharePoint Backup tool is the ability to better control what you are backing up. Figure 7.2 shows the interface for selecting which SharePoint components you wish to back up. Each component is associated with a SharePoint database (and ultimately specific SharePoint content) or data collection. It is possible to select an entire farm or individual components for backup.
NOTE: To perform a backup, you need to be an administrator on the farm. To run restore, you need to be a Farm Admin and a box admin on the front-end machines.
Figure 7.2 The backup utility enables you to be selective about which farm components to back up. (Click on image for enlarged view.)
Another interesting feature of SharePoint backups is the collection of backup history. SharePoint actually differentiates between full and incremental backups. This is done by examining the backup files on the file system (discussed later in this chapter) and identifying new content.
A full backup backs up the selected content with all the history. Specifically, a full backup backs up the entire database, including all file groups and data files, providing a high degree of data integrity. The downside is that full backups can take a long time for large data stores. We recommend keeping your content databases to a reasonable size (under 100GB) so that backups take a reasonable time.
A differential backup backs up all changes to the selected content since the last backup (either full or differential). This option allows IT administrators to better manage disk space associated with SharePoint backup files. In addition, the backups are faster. The key issue with differential backups is that a restore requires the administrator to restore the last full backup in addition to the differential backups that have taken place.
Given the choice, which should you use? The idea is to use a combination of the two as follows: Start with a full backup of your data. Then perform a daily differential backup of all databases during offline hours. Next, perform a full backup of all databases on a weekly basis. Finally, perform a full restore (to an offline data source such as a mirror server or disk) of your backup set roughly once per month. This lets you validate that your backup procedures are working correctly.
Figure 7.3 shows the Start Backup page. You must specify a location for the SharePoint backup files. The Backup utility accepts only UNC file paths, and permissions on the folder must be sufficient to allow SharePoint Backup (running under the credentials of the logged-in user) to write files to that folder.
Once completed, the Backup tool provides diagnostic details on the backup files created and any errors that may have occurred. As expected, the elapsed time associated with the backup process is proportional to the amount of data being backed up. A standard portal should probably take a few minutes to create all associated files. Figure 7.4 shows a completed backup process. Diagnostic data includes status, elapsed time, file directory path, and associated error messages.
NOTE: It's recommended that you use a remote file share to store your SharePoint backups. Do the following:
- Make sure the SQL "Setup server account" is using a domain account.
- On the remote file server, create a folder with a corresponding share.
- On the file share, grant the following accounts all permission rights (except for "full control"):
- WSS central admin application pool account
- Login account (command line)
- SQL server service account
- Timer Service account. If sptimerv3 is running as a "network service account," add the WSS front-end machine, such as DomainWSSserver$ (UI).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Part 1: Creating a Microsoft SharePoint disaster recovery operations document
- Part 2: Understanding Microsoft SharePoint Server backup and restore options
- Part 3: Using the SharePoint Server 2007 backup tool
- Part 4: Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 backup files
- Part 5: Using the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 restore utility
- Part 6: Scheduling a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 backup
- Part 7: What's not covered by a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 backup
This chapter excerpt from Essential SharePoint 2007, by Scott Jamison, Mauro Cardarelli, and Susan Hanley, is printed with permission from Addison-Wesley Professional, Copyright 2007.
This was first published in October 2007