Top 5 Tips for Good SharePoint Backup
Microsoft SharePoint is a popular online collaboration tool used by many companies around the world. Since its introduction in 2001, the product has captured a large share of the market. Eighty percent of Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft SharePoint, According to AIIM International. This includes famous names like Ministry of Sound, Ferrari, Vodafone, and Heineken.
It is no surprise that SharePoint annually collects more than US$2 billion from tens of thousands of businesses and tens of millions of users.
Just like your email, databases, ERP and CRM systems, SharePoint is now a business application that you must include in your data protection strategy in order to ensure maximum business continuity. However, SharePoint’s scalability and multiple deployment options can make backup challenging.
Here are top five tips for protecting your SharePoint infrastructure:
1. Back up everything
In the simplest scenario, SharePoint can be installed on a single server. However, its ability to scale to large clusters, called farms, is what makes data loss risks increase tremendously. There is a simple rule simple – the more you back up, the less you lose. Back up every node in the cluster, every connected system, and every storage device – be it on the cluster nodes, or shared SAN LUNs. Don’t forget to back up Active Directory too – it’s often intertwined with your SharePoint.
2. Back up databases with an SQL-aware backup solution
Not every backup solution is created equal. Your SharePoint uses Microsoft SQL database, and you have to choose an SQL-aware backup solution. At minimum, the solution should be able to back up individual databases, truncate logs, and restore the database in RECOVERY, NORECOVERY, and STANDBY modes.
3. Back up operating systems
It’s not enough to just back up the SQL databases of your SharePoint installation for a reliable recovery. SharePoint includes configuration files, application, and even Windows operating system registry settings, related to SharePoint. Use a disk-imaging backup solution to create complete backups of your entire nodes, not just databases.
4. Perform offline backup before major infrastructure changes
If you planning to implement major changes to your SharePoint infrastructure, create a complete snapshot of your entire SharePoint farm first:
- Shut down every system in the farm, including SharePoint servers and Domain Controllers. Make sure to shut them down in the order suggested by Microsoft. Keep all the shared storage devices, like SAN or NAS, operational;
- Boot each system with bootable media of a disk-imaging backup solution, like Acronis Backup 12, and create an offline image of your entire system;
- Make sure none of the systems in the farm runs, while you create these images.
This operation will give you a snapshot of the entire farm, and if the infrastructure change fails for some reason, you can always roll back your entire setup to an operational state.
5. Prepare for granular recovery
Not every recovery follows a disaster. Often you will face a need to restore one document or a folder, deleted or overwritten by mistake. Choose a backup solution that can restore single documents or items from your SharePoint, without the need to restore the entire infrastructure.