Monday, July 11, 2005

Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) Backup and Restore procedure

Documented here is part of the WSS disaster recovery plan that I follow for customers running Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). There are certainly other methods and options that might better fit the needs of your organization, so don’t see this as the be-all-end-all of WSS backup and restore procedures.

Stsadm.exe is a command-line administration tool for managing SharePoint services servers and sites. It can be used manually, as a scheduled command, or as part of a script. One of the most notable limitations of “stsadm.exe” is that it can not be used to backup an individual sub-site, so you can only use it to backup a collection of sites. For more granularity in terms of backup control, you should check out “Smigrate.exe” or “spsbackup.exe”.

Default location:
Location: "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\60\BIN
Command: “STSADM.EXE" -o backup -url http://Companyweb -filename C:\spbu\backup –overwrite”

Similarly, you can restore the site using the following command:
Command: stsadm.exe -o restore -url http://servername -filename c:\backup -overwrite

The next thing I do (after testing this procedure), is create a scheduled task to run the backup nightly. Backup times obviously depend on a number of factors. However many complete in just a few minutes. After the backup has been created, I then schedule my tape backup job to hit this file during my regular nightly backup window.

Keep in mind, that as part of any disaster recovery plan, you should develop a plan that provides timely, accurate, consistent, and reusable solutions for emergency situations. I can’t stress enough just how important it is to be able to execute on such a plan, and just how incredibly valuable it can be in emergency situations.

Another thing worth noting is that the restore process requires much more time to complete than the backup. While testing this recently in a virtual environment, restoring this to a virtualized machine required over an hour.


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