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Best Practices: Protecting SharePoint data

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Alternative approaches
To meet recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives for both operational recovery and DR, most organizations will turn to third-party products. The obvious first place to look is at your backup app. Major vendors have vowed support for SharePoint 2007, but to date only Comm-Vault has announced a comprehensive strategy for both content and disaster recovery. Symantec has supported content-level recovery via a Backup Exec 11d agent since SharePoint 2003 and is expected to provide similar capabilities for SharePoint 2007. Enterprise backup products such as Symantec Veritas NetBackup and EMC NetWorker offer limited SharePoint-specific functionality at this time.

Startup vendor AvePoint has carved out an interesting niche as a SharePoint data protection specialist. Its DocAve 4.1 suite offers a comprehensive set of solutions, including the ability to perform live backups without suspending indexing. By the time you read this, AvePoint is expected to announce a relationship with IBM to incorporate its product as Tivoli Storage Manager's SharePoint protection offering.

Beyond backup apps, other technologies that lend themselves particularly well to SharePoint data protection are snapshotting, replication and virtualization. Regarding the last, a number of companies are running SharePoint 2003 servers within virtualized environments with considerable success. A word of warning, however: Microsoft says it doesn't officially

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support virtual configurations at this time. That's unfortunate because management of all SharePoint elements--WFEs, app and index servers, and databases--could be dramatically simplified using virtualized servers.

It's imperative to define and deploy standard configurations and consistent processes for SharePoint components and to be sure that these are fully documented. As SharePoint 2007 environments become commonplace, more technology options are sure to appear along with a well-defined body of best practices.

This was first published in May 2007

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