Backup and Restore Options for Windows SharePoint Services

There are several methods you can use to back up and restore data for Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services. Each of these methods allows you to back up and restore data, but each method acts at a different level of granularity and may require different permissions. You can back up and restore data for Windows SharePoint Services by using the following methods:

  • Use the Microsoft SQL Server tools to back up the databases.

You can use the backup tools included with SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005 to get a full-fidelity, complete backup of the databases used by Windows SharePoint Services on your server or server farm. When you use this method, you back up and restore the entire configuration database and each content database on your server or in your server farm. You can then restore any or all of these databases. You must be running SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005, not Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows) (WMSDE), to be able to use this backup method, and you must be an administrator on the local server computer that is running SQL Server. This option is the most secure of the backup and restore options described in this topic.

For more information about backing up databases in SQL Server, see Backing Up and Restoring Databases by Using the SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 Tools and the Help system for SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005.

  • Use the Stsadm.exe command-line tool to back up individual site collections.

You can get a full-fidelity, complete backup or restore of an entire site collection by using the Stsadm.exe command-line tool with the backup and restore operations. This method of backing up and restoring data does not require SQL Server 2000 or SQL Server 2005. However, you must still be an administrator on the local server computer that is running Windows SharePoint Services in order to perform this method of backing up and restoring.

For more information about backing up site collections by using the Stsadm.exe command-line tool, see Backing Up and Restoring Web Sites.

  • Use the Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool (smigrate.exe) to back up individual sites and subsites.

You can back up and restore individual sites or subsites by using the SharePoint Migration Tool. This method is not full-fidelity; you may lose some customizations or settings in the process. For example, security settings for the site, such as user membership in site groups, cannot be restored when you use the SharePoint Migration Tool. However, with this backup method, you do not need to be an administrator on the local server computer. Any member of the Administrator site group for a site or subsite can use this method.

For more information about backing up sites and subsites by using the SharePoint Migration Tool, see Migrating and Upgrading Web Sites.

The following table describes the scope and limitations of each backup and restore method, and the permissions required to perform each.

Method Scope Limitations Required permissions
SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 Backup and Restore Database None Administrator on local server computer
Stsadm.exe Backup and Restore Site collection None Administrator on local server computer
SharePoint Migration Tool Site Migration Site or subsite

Some customizations or settings may not migrate.

Does not migrate security settings.

Member of Administrator site group for the site or subsite

Running Microsoft SQL Server tools frequently (such as once a week) can be costly to an organization. Also, these tools support backup and restoration at the database level only, making it impractical to restore single sites or site collections. The Stsadm.exe command-line tool supports complete backup and restoration at the site-collection level, including security settings. It is ideal for targeted backups and is less costly to run.

A practical and effective backup strategy for your Windows SharePoint Services installation is to use both of these tools. At longer intervals, such as monthly, back up your entire set of databases using the Microsoft SQL Server tools. At shorter intervals, such as weekly, run Stsadm.exe to back up just those site collections that have changed. This will facilitate quick recovery of lost items with a minimum of space usage, while the Microsoft SQL Server tools backups are available for large-scale disaster recovery.

 
 
Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003