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.

 

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