Please Use the SharePoint Backup Options!

I guess many of you read all of the different blogs coming out of Microsoft from Treb, Christophe and others so I try not to repeat stuff - but there are some new postings concerning backup and restore and migration of data between servers.  The links are referenced on Christophe's blog.

So to add value I'll concentrate on some problems I have seen - and hopefully convince you that having a full SharePoint backup of your farm is a good idea! 

So two recent cases I worked on involved firstly one setting a new IP address for the SQL Server, and the second was actually changing the name of the SQL Server itself.  The first should not have been an issue; once DNS was up to date all would have continued OK.  But initially it gave errors indicating the database could not be contacted and the troubleshooting steps followed involved creating a new configuration database.  This is fairly common practice for WSS issues but in the new world of Office Server you also need to have a full SharePoint backup to make it easy to get your Shared Service Providers and Project Web Access sites (and data) back.  Unfortunately in this case there was no full SharePoint backup - but as there was really nothing wrong with the initial configuration database (it was just inaccessible for a while due to DNS issue) we could just re-run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard, disconnect from the new config db, then run again and connect to the old config db and everything was back working!  Be aware that the search and Project application services (and possibly others) will need re-starting in Central Administration, Operations, Services on Server.

The renaming of SQL Server is a bigger issue.  In hindsight a good fix would be to just set an alias to the new server with the name of the old server and SharePoint would be happy.  If you have a named instance then the port is variable so a simple hosts file entry is not enough.  The article mentioned above details moving from one server to another and this is really what you are doing - assume your change of name for SQL is really a new server and have that full SharePoint backup ready!

One thing I thought might work (and it didn't - so worth stopping anyone else wasting time) was to just re-run the configuration wizard pointing to the configuration database by referencing the new SQL Server name.  This seemed to work - but many of the internal references were still looking for the old server name and I could not find a good (supported) way to correct these.  However with the SharePoint full restore you can resolve this.

I'm sure there will be some readers who take this as a challenge and come up with steps to resolve the SQL renaming issue without having to use the restore method and I would be very interested to hear your results.


Technorati Tags: Project Server 2007

Comments (5)

  1. Ben says:

    Hi Brian,

    How do you go about setting an alias to the new server with the old server name?

  2. Hi Ben,

    There are a few ways.  Best would be to get your network guys to get an entry for the old server name in DNS to reference the new IP (may be a problem if the old server name is to be re-used.  Locally you could put the old name in the hosts file (in <windir>system32driversetc).  The final way would be to use the SQL Server tool CLICONFG.  This also allows you to specify a port which can be useful if the default is not used (such as when using named instances).

    Best regards,


  3. Chad says:

    Any ideas on how to move from one SQL 2000 server to a different server running SQL 2005?

  4. The method should be the same.  You should be able to restore the SQL 2000 backups made by the SharePoint backup feature to SQL 2005 – is it not working for you?

  5. Chad says:

    This seemed like the best way to migrate to another SQL Server. It’s kinda scary cuz it wipes out your SharePoint instance, creates a new one and then restores.

    Backup farm from Central Admin, Operations, Perform a backup, select Farm (all components)

    Select Full, and type in the location to an empty folder.

    Run SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard and disconnect the farm.

    Run SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard and create a new farm.

    From Central Admin, Operations, Restore from Backup (New Configuration, type in new SQL Server (change data path if necessary).

    From Central Admin, Operations, Services on server, Custom (start Project Application Service, Start WSS Search, supply a new name to create a new db (or go into SQL and delete the other one).

    From Central Admin, App Mgmt, Content Databases, click on database name, associate with the new Search server)

    From Central Admin, App Mgmt, Define Managed Paths, Delete (root), then Add Path=/ (Wildcard inclusion). Hit Cancel once it is added to list.

    Optional: Delete the old Search Database from SQL if you created a new Search database.

    Back in business!

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