Sunday, April 10, 2011

SharePoint 2007: Using stsadm to perform a catastrophic farm-level backup


In this article, I would like to address a small item that may not be immediately obvious with regard to the syntax of the stsadm command when using it to perform a catastrophic backup of the entire farm.  All references cited and used in this discussion are listed below in the References section.  This discussion involves SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise SP2 running on Windows Server 2003.


The stsadmn command can be used to perform command-line interaction with SharePoint 2007 [1-3].  It can also be used to perform backup and recovery tasks [4-11], in particular, catastrophic backup and restore [12-13]. 

The syntax of the command when performing a catastrophic backup of the entire farm is:

stsadm -o backup -directory [UNC_PATH] -backupmethod full
This command is performed on the machine being backed up.  "[UNC_PATH]" is the path to where you want the backup files stored.  Note that no reference is made to the actual collection, web application, or farm being backed up.  This is inferred.
Though this can be specified, when it is not, it is inferred that the entire farm on that machine is to be backed up
When performing a full farm backup in this way, the backup that is created is in the same format as that created by SharePoint Central Administration Backup tool when also performing a full farm backup.
Full farm backup created using stsadm

Full farm backup creating using SharePoint Central Administration tools
Comparing the two, it's clear they are exactly the same.


In this article, I discussed a small aspect of the stsadmn syntax that may not be immediately apparent when attempting to use this command to perform catastrophic backups of the entire farm.  I also showed how backups of the entire farm performed using stsadmn and Central Administration tools are exactly the same.  Happy computing!

  1. Stsadm command-line tool (Office SharePoint Server), Microsoft TechNet
  2. Stsadm Technical Reference for SharePoint Server 2007 (interactive SilverLight application), Microsoft TechNet
  3. Index for Stsadm operations and properties (Office SharePoint Server), Microsoft TechNet
  4. Choose backup and recovery tools (Office SharePoint Server), Microsoft TechNet
  5. Back up and restore site collections by using built-in tools (Office SharePoint Server 2007), Microsoft TechNet
  6. Backup: Stsadm operation (Office SharePoint Server), Microsoft TechNet
  7. Back up a farm by using built-in tools (Office SharePoint Server 2007), Microsoft TechNet
  8. Back up and restore a farm (Office SharePoint Server 2007), Microsoft TechNet
  9. Back up and restore an entire farm (Office SharePoint Server 2007), Microsoft TechNet
  10. Disaster Recovery SharePoint Server 2007 and Catastrophic Backup + Restore Options with stsadm.exe, Ben Curry - CISSP, SharePoint Server MVP, Mindsharp Blogs, 9/19/2006
  11. Back Up and Restore by Using Stsadm, Gayan Peiris, MSDN Blogs, 3/15/2008

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