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Deep dive into SharePoint data recovery: HOT SPOTS

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Collaboration app presents unique backup/recovery challenges, especially when it comes to granular recovery.

microsoft office sharepoint server is becoming a popular enterprise application as companies seek to enhance collaboration across enterprises. But an increased dependence on the platform means it's crucial to establish and maintain business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) strategies.

ESG research finds that 36% of SharePoint users believe their backup processes don't provide an adequate level of protection. And 36% say a SharePoint downtime of 60 minutes or less would have an adverse affect on their business. SharePoint (a collective reference to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services) is a Web-enabled collaboration platform and central repository for unstructured and semi-structured content. It enables file sharing, document workflow and publishing automation, document management with version control, and search and access control for distributed users. The amount of data stored in SharePoint can be staggering. Native backup and recovery tools are inadequate, and item-level recovery can be a challenge.



SharePoint capacity and complexity

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SharePoint usage can lead to an increase in primary and secondary storage capacity. Documents stored in shared folders on file servers will be replaced with managed document repositories. And data previously stored only on desktops and laptops may now be centralized in SharePoint. This is especially true if companies adopt SharePoint as an aggregation point for email attachments. Finally, the versioning feature in SharePoint causes multiple copies of data to be stored. ESG research found that, in terms of annual storage capacity growth, 37% of those surveyed experience a 10% to 30% increase, and one-third have an increase of 30% or more. This also impacts the size of future backups, as 68% of SharePoint research respondents note increases in this area.

In its simplest form, SharePoint can be configured for all services to run on a single server. A popular SharePoint deployment might consist of a small three-tier server farm with a data tier consisting of back-end SQL Server databases where all of the content is stored, a Web tier to deliver content to users, and an app tier hosting background services and apps. Additionally, data related to the farm and its components resides in the configuration database (one per farm). Depending on factors such as implementation size and availability requirements, the deployment scenario selected could translate to a distributed farm configuration.

There are multiple components to each tier that need to be protected. Although the bulk of SharePoint information resides in a SQL database, there are additional files that should be backed up to fully protect a SharePoint environment, including Internet Information Services (IIS) meta data, front-end data, search indexes and customizations. It's best to protect all of these components in a federated way.

This was first published in December 2008

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